The Ecologist an environmental news and analysis website with a focus on ecological, social and economic justice. We publish daily, bringing the latest news, comment, features and reviews to your screens - for free. You will find news about successful environmental campaigns, stories about advances in academic ecology and discursive articles touching on theoretical approaches that help us understand nature and the impact of our societies on the natural environment.
The Ecologist online is read and enjoyed by people all around the world, with hundreds of thousands of readers from across the UK and the United States. The website was launched in 2005 and since then more than 13 million people have visited our site, with 27 million hits accessing more than 10,000 articles. Our most popular article - Ten Alternatives to Cow’s Milk - has received more than 357,000 hits - and counting.
The Ecologist began life as a print magazine in 1970, with the aim of raising public awareness of the impact our society was having on the natural environment - and what the outcomes might be for our society in turn. We’re really proud that we have been publishing environmental news and discussion for more than 50 years and this remains core to our work.
Since 2012, The Ecologist has been owned and published by the Resurgence Trust, an educational charity working across the fields of environment, social justice, activism, spirituality and the arts. The Trust publishes the Resurgence & Ecologist print magazine six times a year. This has been dubbed the “spiritual and ecological flagship of the environmental movement” by The Guardian.
The Ecologist has played a crucial role in diagnosing the environmental crises which have only worsened in the intervening half-century. Now we’re increasingly focusing on how we find solutions. And we are keen to work more closely with our contributors and readers to ensure that understanding and respecting our ecology becomes second nature in the half-century to come.
The Ecologist online is a news and analysis website focussed on environmental, social and economic justice. The Ecologist was founded in 1970 and has earned brand recognition and trust across the environmental movement in the UK by advocating systemic change and delivering hard-hitting investigative journalism. The Ecologist is today owned and managed by the Resurgence Trust, a registered educational charity, and has a dedicated programme staff of 1.5 full time equivalent (FTE). The editor leads the Programme Team and reports to the Management Team.
The Ecologist online publishes daily news and analysis, raising awareness of a broad range of environmental and social justice concerns, and amplifying the voices of environmental campaigners and advocates, including those representing or from marginalised communities. The Ecologist is celebrating its 50th anniversary and wants to take this opportunity to launch a new economics project – challenging the current economic growth paradigm that is driving climate breakdown, conflict and biodiversity collapse and promoting alternative sustainable and regenerative economic theories and policy initiatives. The Ecologist online programme currently has a budget of £74,000 a year - met mostly through income from syndication, royalties, advertising and support from the Resurgence Trust. We aim to raise an additional £150,000 across three years, restricted to funding our new environmental economics project.
“Without social justice there can be no ecological justice.”
Satish Kumar, Resurgence Trust founder, Resurgence & Ecologist, 2020
"To avoid a climate and earth systems breakdown, a Green New Deal chancellor must mobilise large sums from both the public and private sectors to finance the transformation of the British economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels."
Ann Pettifor, author, IPPR, 2019
“We wanted to build a diverse [climate] movement to put justice – social, ecological, racial and gender – at its heart, and be a powerful voice to hold rich countries to account for causing the crisis.”
Asad Rehman, War on Want, The Guardian, 2021
“I majored in economics, philosophy, and politics at Oxford, but I gradually became disillusioned with economic theory and the lack of discussion of topics that I really wished to pursue, such as ecological integrity and social justice.”
Kate Raworth, author, Great Transition Initiative, 2019
“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.”
António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, Twitter, 2022
The aim of The Ecologist is to educate members of the public concerned about environmental crises about the need for a radical transformation of our global economies.
The Ecologist has for 50 years warned about the impact of industrial societies on the biosphere, and presented radical solutions that meet human needs as well as protecting and restoring the natural environment. The Ecologist from the beginning adopted systems theory and extended the work of the Club of Rome to develop a vision of a sustainable world, with its Blueprint for Survival selling more than 600,000 copies worldwide. This mission continues today, learning from contemporary discussions centred on environmental, social and economic justice. The Ecologist aims to serve the entire environmentalist community, adding value by providing free educational materials about systems theory, thermodynamic economics, the fossil fuel economy and regenerative alternatives from degrowth to the Green New Deal. The environment movement has, because of climate breakdown, become increasingly aware and concerned about the impacts of the fossil fuel economy globally and its impact on society and nature. The Ecologist provides information that is vital to the campaigns attempting to end the fossil fuel economy and usher in an era of renewable energy, regenerative economies and happier lives.
Justice. Integrity. Empathy.
We look forward to a future where human societies design and develop economies that are inherently just. We demand that those in power – in corporations and in government – demonstrate integrity. We see the possibility of developing economic systems that free human beings from what William Morris described as “useless toil” while also having a positive impact on the biosphere. We see a future with no fossil fuel economy – with no exploitation and no colonialism. We in turn demonstrate our own commitment to justice, integrity and empathy in our journalism and organisational practice.
To educate the public about:
- The successes of the frontline activism, advocacy and campaigns currently taking place to stop the direct harms from the fossil fuel economy.
- The visions and proposals moving us towards a “post-fossil fuel economy”.
- The impacts of the fossil fuel economy on our societies and the global biosphere.
- The different economic theories that exist, and how the adoption or neglect of these theories determines our social impact on the natural environment.
- Systems theory as a useful analytical tool for understanding a wide variety of environmental concerns.
- The history of the evolution of the current global fossil fuel economy.
Theory of Change
We propose a simple, causal explanation of how our work can have a significant impact on the world.
- We develop and publish strategically useful educational materials about the fossil fuel economy, and its context.
- We work to ensure that activists read and engage with this material, and people become activists as a result of engaging with this material.
- Activists make even better strategic decisions about how to influence policymakers, corporate executives, energy workers and communities.
- Activists take more impactful action.
- We amplify the voices and successes of activists, campaigners and advocates.
- The environment movement together moves towards helping to create a world that is safe, and just.
The impacts of unregulated capitalist economies on the natural environment globally are devastating, representing an existential threat to the existence of human societies and life itself in the medium to long term. These economies have proved to be entirely dependent on the unlimited use of fossil fuels, driving climate breakdown with the harms and risks as set out in the latest IPCC report.
The ‘cost of living crisis’ will leave one third of the UK population in absolute poverty, with inflation running at eight percent. Hardship is set to get worse, year on year. The environment movement will be confronted with a series of new problems as a result: climate breakdown and other ecological concerns will be relegated down the news agenda; environmental policies are and will be blamed for the economic crisis; corporations will increase the volume on the ‘environment or jobs’ narrative.
The transition to post-fossil fuel – and indeed post-neoliberal or even post-capitalist – societies is a gargantuan task. All the evidence from current geopolitical events – from the lack of progress at the Conference of the Parties (COP) taking place annually to the war in Ukraine and the failure to manage the coronavirus pandemic – suggest that political leaders are not going to meet the challenge.
The alternative is international mass participatory action from millions of ordinary people. The problem remains, however, that the change we need is significant and the time we have is extremely limited. The Editorial Team of The Ecologist online has a small if potentially important role to play in this moment.
The Ecologist, as set out in our objectives, can identify, develop and publish the most strategically useful information about the fossil fuel economy, including how it can be understood with the tools of systems theory, radical economics and as a physical object that exists in our society. We also want to provide hope by shining a light on activists and their campaigns and on the many alternative economic policies and proposals that have already been developed, and by curating a vision for the future after the fossil fuel era has come to an end: a future in which people are freed from hard manual labour through technological development but also our economies regenerate rather than degrade our natural environment.
The main method used to meet our objectives is publishing high quality content on our website in the form of news and analysis, making these educational materials available free of charge and then using newsletters, social media and public events to ensure that the public are aware of them, as well as supporting them in engaging with these texts. We will signpost our community to the best analysis publicly available, such as books by authoritative writers, reports from leading think tanks, and articles published by other environmental websites. We will work to platform and amplify a diversity of authors representing and highlighting the experiences of communities that are often marginalised and ignored by the mainstream media and wider culture. This includes, but is not limited to, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and Black, Indigtenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, LGBTQIA+ communities and intellectual currents within the social and environmental justice movements.
The Ecologist aims to expand its team to three full-time equivalent (FTE) staff: an editor, an economics editor and a socials editor. The doubling in capacity will take place over three years. The larger team will create content – news and analysis articles – and publish it on our website and in The Ecologist section of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. The online articles will be augmented with video, podcasts and social media posts. We want to find where discussion about fossil fuel economy – and more precisely its impacts such as the wars in Ukraine, Syria and beyond, the cost of living crisis and climate breakdown – is taking place and make sure the best educational materials are available in those online and real world spaces.
Environmental Economics Project
The Ecologist aims to create a new economics editor role and expand its small Editorial Team, meeting the additional costs in the first three years by applying for grants from trusts and foundations. The economics editor will be responsible for producing authoritative and informative articles. These will tend to have a news hook – such as reporting on the UK Government’s energy strategy – while also introducing broader economic concepts and themes, such as ‘trickle down’ or ‘externalities’. Further, the economics editor will educate colleagues so that their content is accurate and informative from an economics perspective.
The content of The Ecologist online for the duration of this strategy will be the product of five streams of work:
- News and analysis highlighting the best positive proposals for alternatives to the fossil fuel industry.
- News items about the economy, and in particular the fossil fuel economy.
- An investigation into the UK fossil fuel economy, including discussion of the UK energy infrastructure and also the overseas countries, economies and corporations that extract and export energy to the UK.
- A series of papers authored by Professor Herbert Girardet, titled Megamorphosis: A guide to regenerative planet change, examining the crises impacting the biosphere.
- A series of articles presenting a philosophical study of energy through systems theory to help explain climate science, human societies, economics, and organisational change at an institutional level.
The Ecologist online will publish three articles each week for 51 weeks a year, excluding only the Christmas and New Year holiday week.
Special Issues: Digital
The publication schedule will include a number of monthly special issues, including from the series produced by Brendan Montague and Professor Herbert Girardet.
Special Issue: Print, Resurgence & Ecologist
The editor of The Ecologist online will work with the editor of the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, Marianne Brown, to produce a special themed issue of the print magazine focussed on energy.
The Ecologist online will host a series of events in Bristol and London, in partnership with other organisations. The series will include three events per year for the three-year duration of the strategy. The events will be structured around the thesis, antithesis and synthesis structure of logical inference. The events will be aimed at activists with a high knowledge of and engagement with environmental issues and concerns. The Editorial Team of The Ecologist will design the content of the events and will work with the Management Team and Events Team to deliver the events.
The Ecologist online programme and publications will educate environmental activists, giving them the tools they need to meet these challenges. We want to skill up and train activists with economically sound facts, theories and systems. This will in the first instance allow them to work within their communities (geographically, or for example in campaign settings) by presenting an optimistic vision for the future, based on sound economic arguments and proposals. Secondly, this work should help ‘noculate’ the public against political spin oil industry disinformation about job creation or the trickle-down benefits of deregulation.
The Ecologist online has a small Editorial Team of currently 1 FTE. The Editorial Team also benefits from the support and advice of colleagues across the Resurgence Trust, as explained below.
Brendan Montague is the full-time editor and programme manager for The Ecologist online. Brendan has 30 years experience in the newspaper industry, including a decade editing campaigning and investigative websites specialising in environmental justice.
Satish Kumar is editor emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist and The Ecologist online, and a member of the Management Team of the Resurgence Trust (owner and publisher of The Ecologist online).
Angie Burke is the trust manager at The Resurgence Trust. She has mainly worked in the charitable sector and is passionate about environmental education.
Mark Gough is the finance and operations manager at The Resurgence Trust.
Professor Herbert Girardet is a trustee of the Resurgence Trust and a broadcast journalist and author with decades of experience.
The Ecologist online has a formidable reputation for advocating for systemic change and delivering hard-hitting investigative journalism. It also has a dedicated and talented team. The need for The Ecologist as a platform for community activists, academics and third sector professionals has never been greater. This proposed strategy will reignite The Ecologist’s long history of educating the public about systems theory – a theory that advances our understanding of the ecosystem, our economic systems, and the huge potential to create new economies that regenerate our ecology. The website should also focus its systems expertise on the single most important issue of our time: the need for a just transition from a systematic dependence on the fossil fuel economy to a renewable, sustainable and fair future. The emphasis for The Ecologist in the coming years is on serving the environment movement –- having impact by publishing high- quality educational materials. The Ecologist online team is perfectly placed to deliver this new strategic focus within the framework of the Resurgence Trust.
The Ecologist was founded by Edward “Teddy” Goldsmith in 1970 who developed a keen interest in the then cutting edge systems theory. The magazine shot to fame in 1972 for devoting an entire issue to its Blueprint for Survival, a radical manifesto for change that proposed - amongst other reforms - the formation of a movement for survival.
This in turn led to the creation of the People Party, now known as the Green party. The Blueprint for Survival went on to sell more than 750,000 copies in paperback, and you can read the original edition online by looking in 1972 in the archive.
The magazine continued to break new ground in the environmental debate in the years that followed, notably by pointing to global climate change during the African droughts of the mid-1970s, and exposing the extent of the slash-and-burn operations ravaging the Amazon rainforest during the early 1980s. It went on to unveil the fallacy of plentiful nuclear energy during the era in which the technology’s future was thought to herald electricity ‘too cheap to meter’.
During the last ten years The Ecologist has continued to highlight the contradictions of economic globalisation, the health effects of everyday toxins, and the huge environmental cost of industrial agriculture. Its continued coverage has pushed many of these issues into the political mainstream.
To reach a wider, global audience, the magazine launched its website in 2005 and then went online only in 2009. It continues to provide a mix of in-depth analysis, environmental news and practical advice that appeals to a growing community of individuals committed to social and environmental change.
Remaining true to its roots in ecological ‘systems’ thinking, The Ecologist strives to point out the links between issues as diverse as war, pharmaceuticals, corporate fraud, or the power of mass media. Above all, The Ecologist hopes to encourage its readers to challenge conventional thinking, and tackle global issues at a local level.
1970: The Ecologist is launched by Teddy Goldsmith, editor from 1970-1990. Teddy has a keen interest in systems theory, which informs the content of the journal.
1972: Volume 1 of that year includes A Blueprint for Survival, later published as a ground-breaking book that went on to sell 750,000 copies. Friends of the Earth’s first newsletter is distributed with The Ecologist.
1973: The Green party - initially known as the People party, then the Ecology party - formed in UK by writers at The Ecologist inspired by the Blueprint for Survival.
1986: The Ecologist leads the way in collecting three million signatures asking for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on global deforestation. Teddy Goldsmith and twenty campaigners take the signatures in wheelbarrows to the UN in New York, followed two days later by a meeting with a group of US senators headed by Al Gore.
1998: Zac Goldsmith is appointed editor of The Ecologist and broadens its appeal by moving away from its roots as an academic journal and towards a news-stand magazine. Zac dedicates an entire edition to examining the environmental record of the highly litigious biotech giant, Monsanto. The edition was a response to adverts posted by Monsanto in magazines and papers throughout Europe. The issue went on to become the biggest seller in the magazine’s history, translated into six different languages.
2005: The Ecologist launches its website at www.theecologist.org and the following year releases its first digital edition of the magazine. The final print edition of the stand-alone magazine hits the shelves on 19 June 2009.
2012: The Ecologist is bought by The Resurgence Trust and merges with Resurgence magazine on 1 June. The print magazine is retitled Resurgence & Ecologist and every issue since has included a dedicated Ecologist section. Susan Clark, editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, is appointed as editor of The Ecologist before handing over to Oliver Tickell.
2013: Oliver Tickell is appointed as Editor of the Ecologist. Oliver Tickell is an environmental writer and journalist. His influential report, International Law and Marine Plastic Pollution - Holding Offenders Accountable, was published in 2018.
2014: Greg Neale is appointed editor of Resurgence & Ecologist. He is promoted to editor-in-chief of the Resurgence Trust, including Resurgence & Ecologist and The Ecologist online following the retirement of Satish Kumar from the role.
2016: Susan Clark returns as editor from March 2016 to August 2018.
2017: Brendan Montague is recruited as contributing editor of The Ecologist website. He is then promoted to acting editor, and then editor. Brendan is the founding editor of DeSmog.uk, founder and director of Request Initiative and co-author of Impact of Market Forces on Addictive Substances and Behaviours: The web of influence of addictive industries (Oxford University Press). During the months June, July and August 2018 The Ecologist enjoyed a 32 percent increase in users and 40 percent increase in page views compared to the same period in the previous year.
2018: The Ecologist launched its redesigned website and significantly increased the amount of content published each day. The environmental news website almost doubled its traffic year on year, and also doubled its newsletter subscribers. It also launched a daily newsletter.
2023: The Ecologist launched a new strategy, with a focus on environmental, social and economic justice. The core strategy has been delivered, including the publication of the Megamorphosis series from Professor Herbert Girardet and the delivery of a major event - Small is Beautiful - in Bristol. The rest of the year will include a focus on developing our content about the philosophy of nature, and the nature of the UK oil industry. The Ecologist online now has one member of staff.