In the morning, through the mist, a path emerges

May You Live In Interesting Times

You may have heard of the quote, supposedly an old Chinese curse that wishes upon the recipient to have to live through times of upset and turmoil. Leaving aside the fact (okay, we can’t….we fact-checked it) that the quote seems to have been made by a British politician in the 1930s, there is some validity to the sentiment.

Today, due to combination of changing technology, changing community morals,and  changing demographics, we’re in the midst of massive and multi-faceted change as a global society, and change is scary. It challenges our status-quo of experiences and expectations. It challenges our pre-conceived notions of what works and what doesn’t. And, it challenges us to look to the future without an idea of how to get there as the pathways that we’ve always counted on are eroded or falling away.

Alternatives Journal is Canada’s oldest environmental media charity. We’re proud of our history and heritage of providing intelligent and informed environmental journalism which works to foster greater public awareness of critical issues such as climate change. That said, in the worlds of journalism and charities (and non-profits), the challenges mentioned in the above paragraph are having devastating impacts for many of our peers in both the media and environmental spheres – and challenging the heck out of team A\J in our efforts to step up our work to develop and deliver Canada’s most respected brand of environmental journalism.

Certain political agendas are calling into question the veracity of traditional journalistic outlets. Don’t agree with what’s being reported? Throw up your hands and shout FAKE NEWS! at the television or smartphone. And follow-on atomization of messaging in the age of Facebook is leading to less national consensus on pressing issues, and more entrenched (and divisive) opinions that ‘I’m right and everyone else can go to hell!’.

If that wasn’t enough, while traditional media is still considered the most trust-worthy by most Canadians, fewer and fewer of us are willing to pay for it, which can only lead to lesser quality journalism and more propaganda dressed up as journalism.

And charitable giving in Canada is seeing a seismic shift as fewer Canadians are donating money or volunteering their time – and these new realities are seriously imperilling the work of many worthwhile charities across the country. A recent report shows that in 2014, 21 per cent of tax filers claimed a donation, down from 25 per cent ten years earlier.

So how can you, dear reader, help to alleviate this problem? Pretty simple: subscribe or donate.

Subscription dollars allow A\J  to hire great young editors and writers and to commission important pieces that explore the at-home and global impacts of climate change that are radically re-shaping our planet. Subscriptions also supports our other revenue-generating efforts like advertising, as companies will pay more to advertise to more readers.

A donation to A\J is similar - and helps immensely. You get a charitable tax receipt. You also get a warm-and-fuzzy feeling that you’ve pushed back against the malaise of manipulation and have taken a tangible step to keep the flames of journalistic integrity lit to allow the must-read stories to be written and shared.

Certain political agendas are calling into question the veracity of traditional journalistic outlets. Don’t agree with what’s being reported? Throw up your hands and shout FAKE NEWS! at the television or smartphone."

Given the negative implications mentioned above – fake news, declining revenues for traditional media, and declining philanthropic support for charities – you, by your positive efforts in subscribing and donating, are pushing back against the vested interests of those who refuse to accept  or acknowledge that our planet is warming and that our species is increasingly threatened. That kind of makes you a global hero… and a real hero to everyone who counts on A\J to do our job in shining a spotlight on the ideas and innovations that will propel us proactively into this new climate age.

So if you’ve subscribed or donated in the past, you have our heartfelt thanks, and a hope that you’ll continue to do so into the future. If you’ve never subscribed to A\J, please consider doing so TODAY, in print or in digital formats (or both, if you really like our work). If you’ve never donated to A\J, please know that we’ve consistently done more with less since our founding in 1971. A small donation empowers our work and warms our souls, reminding everyone who works with us that our efforts ARE important and that people do care about the things that we do every day (and the worries that keep us up every night).

For everyone here at A\J – and for everyone who cares about clean water, fresh air and a low-carbon future. You have our promise that we’ll continue to ‘kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight’. And, with your support, we CAN and WILL do more to affect positive change via the medium of intelligent and informed environmental journalism.

Thanks for reading.

David McConnachie is A\J's publisher.

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