To anyone who breathes air, drinks water, eats food, and enjoys nature, the Ecologist is a reliable and long-standing British friend, covering environmental issues with dogged assurance. The 37-year-old magazine publishes gutsy activist journalism that takes on agrigiants like Monsanto; sharp and soundly argued commentaries; unvarnished green consumer advice; and revealing, deeply researched features such as the recent explication of all the environmental costs of a BLT sandwich.
The Ecologist's British provenance occasionally shines through in words like barmy and yobbishness, but even when it celebrates the local, it draws links to the global. And the casual stateside reader would never know that the magazine's editor, Zac Goldsmith, is the young scion of a blueblood family, a conservative who's advising the Tory party on environmental matters, and a headline-generating rake who loves poker and, according to recent news stories, extramarital relations.
And perhaps all that doesn't really matter any more than the fact that Al Gore flies on jumbo jets. After all, the Ecologist stands on its own merits, and Goldsmith has only made it better since he bought it from his Uncle Teddy in 1997. As for his Tory ties, maybe he and his magazine can help the environmental movement broach the partisan divide. 'A conservative who is not also in his heart an environmentalist cannot really legitimately be described as a conservative,' he has said, and we wholeheartedly agree.
Subscriptions: $44/yr. (12 issues); 718/354-1326; www.theecologist.org.