The world’s leading environmental affairs magazine, now www.theecologist.org, was founded in 1970 by Edward Goldsmith. The magazine quickly became a platform for those who would go on to be the leading lights of the environmental movement
The Ecologist 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 led to the creation of the People Party, later renamed the Ecology Party and finally 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.
In the years that followed, the magazine continued to break new ground in the environmental debate, 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 relaunched online 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.
Key dates in the history of the Ecologist
1970 - Launched by Edward ‘Teddy’ Goldsmith, editor from 1970-1990.
1972 - Volume 1 of that year includes, in its entirety, ‘A Blueprint for Survival’ later published as a ground breaking book that went on to sell 750,000 copies.
1972 - Friends of the Earth’s first newsletter distributed with the Ecologist.
1973 - Green party (initially know as The Ecology party) formed in UK by Ecologist writers inspired by the ‘Blueprint for Survival’.
1986 - The Ecologist leads the way in collecting three million signatures asking for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on global deforestation. Together with twenty other people, mainly campaigners for the developing world, Teddy Goldsmith takes the signatures in wheelbarrows to the UN in New York, followed two days later by a meeting with a group of senators headed by Al Gore in the US Senate.
1998 - 2007 - Zac Goldsmith takes over as editor and broadens the Ecologist’s appeal by moving away from its roots as an academic journal and towards a newsstand magazine.
1998 - An entire edition is dedicated 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 declaring that: ‘Biotechnology is a matter of opinions; Monsanto believes you should hear all of them.’ When The Ecologist’s contracted printer refused to print the edition for fear of legal reprisals, Goldsmith found another printer, and the issue went on to become the biggest seller in the magazine’s history, translated into six different languages. You can read the original edition online by looking in 1998 in the archive.
2005 - Website launched www.theecologist.org.
2006 - First digital edition of the magazine is produced.
2009 - The Ecologist widens its reach to a truly global audience by re-launching entirely online. The final print edition, July 2009, hit the shelves on 19th June 2009.
2012 - On 1st June 2012 The Ecologist merged with Resurgence magazine. The magazine was then retitled Resurgence & Ecologist and every issue includes a dedicated Ecologist section, while the website continues under separate editorial direction. Both magazine and website are published by the Resurgence Trust.