Our timing was good. The 10 years we've been publishing E Magazine, from 1990 to 2000, have been a time of momentous change in the global ecology, pushing the modern environmental movement into frontline positions in the resource wars.
Issues like global warming, the ozone hole, overpopulation, urban sprawl and the loss of ancient forests, simmering when the decade began, came to a full boil by 1994 and 1995, and are now messily spilling over in all directions. It's been our good fortune to chronicle these changing times.
E was founded amidst the “greenhouse summer” of 1989, as plans for the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Day were well underway. Coming to environmental journalism from a number of different disciplines, we converged on what we considered to be the most important issues facing the human race. Our thinking hasn't changed.
Writing about environmental topics can be dispiriting. We've seen the public's attention focused on ephemera like l'affaire Lewinsky while the polar icecaps melt, rainforests disappear and species vanish. The readership of all the environmental magazines in the world combined isn't a fraction of that of TV Guide or People. While a majority of Americans are self-proclaimed environmentalists, few connect caring for the planet with their consumer-driven lifestyles. (Seen any “Save Our Planet” bumper stickers on gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles lately?)
The 10th anniversary of the magazine happens to coincide with the much-hyped millennium. Lost in the Y2K hoopla is the sense of the year 2000 as a turning point for the planet. Just a few months ago, the Earth's odometer clicked past six billion, and the growth rate is accelerating. There could be 10 billion people by 2050, a dramatic increase made almost inevitable by our very young population. The legitimate aspirations of all these new citizens must inevitably collide with the environmental limits to growth.
Will we be able to feed the multitudes? Will our children's children inherit a livable planet? The choices we make in the first decade of this new millennium will answer those questions. The environmental movement isn't a “special interest”; it's about the stewardship of the only globe we've got.
E's millennial coverage in this issue is both a look backwards at our first decade and an assessment of probable futures. We offer a progress report on the critical issues of our time. Mark us down as skeptical optimists, inclined to stress the positive trends, from earth houses to natural foods, from declining fertility rates to fuel cells.
E made it through its first 10 years with a lot of help from our friends, and we'd like to extend heartfelt thanks to the readers who continue to engage us with fiercely intelligent feedback. We also want to use this forum to thank the advertisers who support us, the foundations that help underwrite our editorial product, and the newsstand buyers who pick up our magazine instead of the celebrity-laden periodical next to it.
The 1990s are behind us, and a new century beckons. With this, E's first issue of 2000, we join with you on the important journey ahead.
Publisher and Cofounder
Associate Publisher and Cofounder