January 10, 2009

Ecorazzi scoop: Plenty, leading Eco magazine, is RIP. [elephant journal’s three silo manifesto]

Image courtesy our new friends at CTV.


E-xtra! E-xtra! Read all about it (online)!

Ecorazzi says it looks like Plenty magazine is RIP, including its web site—the latest victim of the great, sad, green print burn-off I recently discussed. I say, thank god I never took on investors. See, Plenty had a ton of enthusiastic advertisers—there’s no reason they couldn’t’ve transitioned to web, which is tough, humbling, but far greener and less hypocritical anyways.

So why didn’t they go paperless? When you’re largely owned by backseat drivers, and you fail to get additional funding, you find yourself no longer steering your own destiny. It is sad, as Ecorazzi and others say…but I say that green media needs to also be independent, so we can make the tough editorial and business choices without carping from the rich seats. We need to be able to criticize the hands that feed us (big advertisers), and do so fairly and constructively, when called for. Thirdly, we need to be able to resist the temptation to franchise, a popular business model that puts national media in direct competition with local media—the equivalent of Whole Foods putting a farmers’ market out of business. We need to be either local or national, competing with folks our own size.

We need to change the world, and have a good time doing so. If Lester Brown and his peers are to be believed, we need widespread, coordinating, top-down change—within now only one year. And if we’re gonna get some real leadership, then the bottom-up grassroots—We, the People—must be motivated and coordinated in giving our leadership the cojones to lead.

And that’s where media comes in, as Lester Brown said—we’re the key. If good info isn’t getting out there in a genuine, tough, fun way…no one will care. And our grandchildren will live in a world radically, and in some case irrevocably altered, more homogenized, more sterlized, and with far less life in it that the one I woke up to. 

We here at elephant see our job as uniting three disparate communities: environmentalism, spirituality and religion, and politics. Without a modern, non-theistic yet profound spiritual practice, how do we learn to be good, sane, caring people and communities—and how do we realize that mindfulness in every moment and everyday life immediately translates into a fervent wish to live in harmony with our earth? And with those two established—our personal practice and practical disciplines—we naturally enter society actively, with caring, and without righteous aggression. That’s ele’s mission—to provide communication between those three ‘silos,’ and as Robin Williams says in Dead Poets’ Society, to know when we come to the end that we have lived life. 

Okay, now that’s really the longest, corniest bit I’ve ever write pre-cappuccino on a Saturday morning. The writing might be clumsy, but the sentiment I’ll stand behind.

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