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“I do enjoy the positive articles in Pacific Ecologist. It just seems such a relentless uphill battle sometimes and I am driven to despair by the daily news, business updates, propaganda and political squabbles on the radio and the complacency and avoidance all around us in everyday life. It is really helpful to have well-written, well-referenced material to use when responding to naive or misguided criticisms on striving for a more equitable – and enjoyable – sustainable existence.” — Dr Anne MacLennan, palliative care specialist, Wellington,
About Pacific Ecologist
Pacific Ecologist began publication in March 2002 with a 76-page edition on climate change with articles from scientists in New Zealand, Australia and internationally. The journal is published by the Pacific Institute of Resource Management, (PIRM), based in Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand, with Kay Weir, its founding editor – firstname.lastname@example.org The new journal owed its existence to the generosity of Edward Goldsmith, founding editor of The Ecologist (UK), and has its origins in Pacific World, (1986–2001), PIRM’S former magazine.
The magazine came about after a discussion in February 2001 in Wellington, between revered ecologist, Edward Goldsmith, author of The Way: An ecological World-view, and Kay Weir. Goldsmith was in Wellington then as a key speaker at PIRM’s big conference, Feeding the world in the global economy: Genetic Engineering: Remedy or Ruin. Kay was editor of PIRM’s former magazine Pacific World, from 1996, and assistant editor from 1994 with Pacific World founding editor George Porter. Edward Goldsmith had admired Pacific World for years, and so offered an amazed Kay this extraordinary alliance. Supporting like-minded publications was Goldsmith’s plan to strengthen the voice of the environmental movement, under siege from the consumer society and destructive corporate capitalism. He had galvanised the environmental movement with his searing, insightful work since the 1960s – see edwardgoldsmith.org.
Pacific Ecologist editor Kay Weir says she is an accidental editor, who was a proofreader on the former Evening Post newspaper in the 1980s, and retrained as a sub-editor but resigned, never intending to work with words again. However, after starting to read material at PIRM in 1993 she was riveted and disturbed by the big picture of a world beset by increasing environmental degradation and the disintegration of communities. At this time the controversial Uruguay Round of GATT was being negotiated, which, without proper environmental and social regulations was due to make matters far worse. On return from a year overseas from mid-1993 to 1994, Kay was asked to help with Pacific World, and felt she could not refuse, though unpaid, as the work was too vital to ignore. Sadly, George became ill in 1996 and retired that year. In 1998 he died. She continued as editor of Pacific World from 1997 thinking it important to maintain a rare publication covering in some depth crucial issues of sustainability and survival. After all, how can we arrive at sustainable societies without looking at the deadly problems of maldevelopment policies caused by unsustainable assumptions and development projects like importing biofuels from 3rd world countries, under a guise of sustainability. This is one of the problems covered in issue 21 of Pacific Ecologist on the Food Crisis.
Kay’s efforts to raise awareness about key issues, besides being editor, have led her into unexpected situations. In 1997, she challenged the Royal Society of NZ about their conference, Gene Technology: benefits & risks, saying the programme was biased as it didn’t properly address risks as no critics were invited. Instead of inviting one of the many critics she suggested they invited Kay herself! So, for the second public talk in her life, Kay addressed the RSNZ conference on Risks Inherent in Genetic Engineering Technology, which was later published in the proceedings of the conference, with full references provided. Genetic engineering, still a big danger in the world, was covered in the 70-page issue 6 of Pacific Ecologist and the last 2 issues of Pacific World. You can also see PIRM’s submission to the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification on the PIRM website. More recently Kay has challenged government on the unsustainability of its biofuel imports from Brazil.
The first issue of Pacific Ecologist was celebrated with a public meeting in April 2002 -CAN WE SURVIVE CLIMATE CHANGE? Edward Goldsmith was again a wonderful key speaker at this conference. The magazine was acknowledged for its science content when editor Kay was asked to contribute a profile in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery’s exhibition in Wellington from June 2003, Science for Survival – People who Care. Issues covered by Pacific Ecologist have included: religion and philosophy on the environmental crisis, free trade, nuclear threats, genetic engineering, biofuels, peak oil and food and agricultural security: How sustainable is development? Living lightly and sustainably; Why we must phase out economic growth and over-consumption; Waking up in the consumer paradise; Healthy local communities; Why we need an economics revolution; Save the oceans, cradle of life; The 21st Century Food Crisis.
Pacific Ecologist has an editorial committee and advisory board — click here to see them.
The need for Pacific Ecologist
Is there a need for publications like Pacific Ecologist, free of corporate or governmental influence in the Pacific and New Zealand? We think so. For without vehicles to present the unvarnished, uncomfortable truths, without magazines with well written, well referenced material which allow commentators on many issues to speak out, how will we know even what’s going on? With no vehicles to cover these critical matters, there will be a silencing of information, debate and discussion, when it is most needed. Pacific Ecologist fulfils this role with a voluntary unpaid committee and editor. See www.pirm.org.nz
“In Pacific Ecologist we see the honesty and rigourous inquiry we all need to heed in order to fully understand the global crisis…”
— Jan Lundberg, Culture Change, Arcata, Northern California