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News, articles, stories about ecology, nature, ethical consumerism, eco-friendly restaurants, the effects of climate change in the UK and...

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      08.06.2007 01:01
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      A fantastic way to learn more about green issues and find new ways to make the world a better place.

      The Ecologist Magazine

      How I found Ecologist.

      When I switched my electricity to Ecotricity, who supply me with green, wind powered electricity, I was given an offer by them as thanks for becoming a customer. This was a free 1 year subscription to Ecologist. They send it to me in a recycled brown envelope, every month, and today my latest issue popped through the letterbox, so I thought it was a about time I wrote a review on it!

      Ecologist is basically a magazine, published once a month, which provides accessible information on a range of environmental issues, as well as articles and contacts for a range of greener products. Everything from organic veg box schemes, to cloth nappies, to green mortgages.

      Before I was given the chance to have this magazine free, I had no idea that it even existed, but often felt there wasn’t a single, accessible place for me to get information and ideas on how to make my life greener and have less negative impact on the environment. This magazine was, to me, a bit of a godsend. It helped me to become more knowledgeable about all sorts of issues, it gave me confidence to start writing letters to Mr Blair again, and it gave me freedom to choose better options when it came to running my household. Advise on greener kitchen cleaners, reducing carbon emissions, cloth nappies and buying and eating organic produce, not to mention ideas on growing my own. Knowledge, as they say, quite rightly, is power, and this magazine has certainly given me a lot of that recently!

      The Magazine

      There are, as in any magazine, lots of different sections and features to this magazine. Regular features include a letters page, where people can write in to give their views on a number of different current issues. There is always a Behind the Label section – this month it looks into Pantene Styling Mousse, and it’s very interesting reading for anyone who happens to use this product. My guess is, once you’ve read the article, you won’t want to… One of the recent issues covered a similar idea but looking at Johnson’s baby products, and it really made for quite horrifying reading, making me feel certain that less is more in the way of baby products, and organic is certainly the way to go if I do happen to want to smother my baby soft baby in cream! My partner was equally horrified at a piece on Red Bull, the popular energy drink, when it was featured in this section, and I’m happy to report that he hasn’t touched a drop since. It’s good to know what’s in the products we buy without thinking, and as they say, knowledge is power. Worth thinking about.

      There are always at least 6 main features, examples from this month’s issue being:

      **Safe as Houses? Insurers pull the plug on thousands of homes built on the UK’s floodplains.

      **A non-consuming Passion: Robert Llewellyn chronicles the ups and downs of his year of ‘making do’.

      **Give Bees a Chance: an article looking at the problems faced by our bee populations in the UK.

      My favourite part of the magazine has got to be the back section, known as The Green Pages. This section looks at all sorts of issues where you feel you can really make a difference. As consumers, we are very powerful, and using your consumer rights to free choice means that you can make as much of a difference in what you don’t buy, as what you do. Getting your veg from a local box scheme or farmers market, instead of a highly packaged solution from your local supermarket not only puts the supermarket out of pocket (hurrah!) sending them a message about what you don’t want, but also gives local traders an economic boost to enable them to keep on doing good stuff in the local community. Which has to be good. I first found out about veg box schemes through my Ecologist Magazine, and am now a proud member of one, so I find this section of the mag incredibly influential and informative. As well as lots of articles about things like natural healing, organic wine, eco textiles and such, there are offers for discounts with companies – like cloth nappies etc, and lots of wonderful ideas for alternatives to the local supermarket and high street multinational retail outlet.

      Ethical Policies on Advertising

      One of the things I love about this magazine is their advertising policy. They try to make sure that all the products and services they advertise don’t damage in any way the environment, their employees or the consumer, and as far as I can see, they do this pretty well. They don’t accept advertising from companies that rely on profits from things like nuclear energy or fossil fuels, they won’t consider companies that test their products on animals, use pesticides or toxic chemicals, or have any sort of exploitative (is that a word?!) trading practises, like sweatshops and such. They certainly won’t entertain the idea of letting supermarkets advertise, whatever it happens to be that they want to advertise, and it’s mainly small, independent and totally green companies that you find splashed colourfully over the back pages of this wonderful magazine. I say Hurrah! And well done for taking a stand against the world’s nasties in consumer products and services.

      Printing and Paper

      As you would expect for a publication like this, the whole magazine is printed on 100% recycled paper, and using environmentally friendly inks. And because the paper isn’t ultra shiny, you can compost it. Just make sure it’s been thoroughly read first!

      Buying this Magazine

      The Ecologist costs £3.50, so it’s in the higher end of the financial spectrum when it comes to magazine buying. I don’t pay for it at the moment, but I have to say that as soon as my free period stops, I’ll be subscribing. Buying in the shops may be a little tricky – you’d probably have to go to somewhere like WHSmiths or a large department store with a big magazine section – in Newcastle I’ve seen it in Fenwicks. Some smaller shops may be able to order it in for you, in which case, it would keep the trade local, which is good. Subscribing online is a good way to go, and you can visit the website at: www.theecologist.org.

      Alternatively, you can switch your electricity to Ecotricity (read my review for more details) and quote: Eco Offer2 to get a free annual subscription to this wonderful magazine. Don’t worry about whether you can get Ecotricity where you are – they can supply anywhere and they will match the price you pay now, so it won’t be more costly, just greener. It’s a great way to make a difference while the suits in Germany try their best to hover round the issue.

      My Overall Opinion

      I am so happy I started getting this magazine, as it has proven to boost my knowledge of a lot of issues, as well as my confidence in the things I though I knew. Being able to get regular ideas on changes I can make to the way I live my life is so helpful and makes a big difference to the way that I feel about my home and my surroundings. I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone who wants to know more and do more for the environment. It’s a brilliant read and I wouldn’t be without it!

      Thank you for reading, Kate x


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