“It’s a space to dream and a space to breathe” says Brendan Montague, the new editor of the Ecologist. Off Grid is very happy to welcome the Ecologist as a partner and we’re looking forward to hearing Brendan give a groundbreaking workshop about the new style of journalism he wants to pioneer. “Introducing Systems Journalism: Creating an Ecosystem for Independent Reporting” will take place in our Another World is Possible Forum.
The Ecologist was founded in 1970 by Edward Goldsmith (Brendan calls him Ted, but that feels a bit familiar). Goldsmith’s contribution earned him a place as one of Routledge’s Fifty Key Thinkers on the Environment (2001), alongside such luminaries as the Buddha, Ghandi, Henry David Thoreau and Goldsmith’s near contemporary E.F. Schumacher. This last is relevant because Schumacher College was founded by Satish Kumar, who himself founded Resurgence Magazine, which now shares a space with The Ecologist just twelve miles from Off Grid’s new home at Tapeley Park.. So many influencers, with so many influences!
Despite being amongst such high-flying company, Brendan is quite down-to-earth. He appears abreast of his new role, aware of the challenges ahead, not only for his new charge, but for society and environment as a whole. “Change is now necessary.” he says. “If we carry on the way we are, we’re going to find ourselves in extreme difficulty. But change is not easy. Change on a social scale, change on a workplace scale and change on a personal level is challenging and difficult. At The Ecologist I’m very keen at looking at how change comes about, how we manage change, and how we support friends, colleagues, family in dealing with the changes that will be coming.”
“What we understand by ‘the environment’ is constantly changing, just as the environment is” he explains. “One of the ideas we’ll be discussing at the Ecologist is social ecology, which suggests that the trauma that we’re causing in the natural environment is a direct result of the trauma within our society. As one of the necessary aspects of learning to care for, develop and reinvigorate nature, we really do have to look at solving some of the problems in society, so as well as discussing and debating these ideas in an academic way, I’m hoping to develop relationships and networks with people who are practically involved with this on a day-to-day basis.”
Brendan is clear that The Ecologist is shifting from the awareness-raising that has been so vital during the past thirty years towards a more practical approach. He is keen for activists on the ground to come together with academics, which might be one reason he has offered to give a talk at Off Grid Festival. “It’s about spending time together in a safe space, where we can get a sense of what the future might hold when we live in a society which is basically designed to meet our needs and which creativity is allowed to blossom.”
Brendan’s talk, “Introducing Systems Journalism: Creating an Ecosystem for Independent Reporting ” is part of our Another World is Possible Forum. “It’s incumbent on us as a community to develop our own media and to be very clear about whose interests it serves and how it serves those interests.”
Photo Credit: Hazel Hill Trust