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  • A Brief Style Guide

     

    Introduction

    Thank you for considering contributing to The Ecologist. Our website offers a platform to a range of thought leaders, academics and change makers from around the world who are each working in a number of different sectors and disciplines. This brief guide is intended to support you as you draft your article, and to ensure that everything we publish is clear and consistent.

    For a comprehensive index of conventions regarding spelling and grammar, please refer to The Guardian’s style guide. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with the editor of the website, Brendan Montague, at editor@theecologist.org.

    Submission

    If you are pitching an idea for the first time, please use this link. If you are uploading your piece directly to our website, please consult our step-by-step guide to the Content Management System (CMS). If you’re emailing an article, please send it in Times New Roman, single-spaced, pt. 12, with no additional formatting. Please check through this guide before you submit your article.

    Structuring the text

    The headline should be unambiguous and fewer than 10 words. Please do not use capital letters apart from the first word and names etc.

    The total article should be 600 to 1,000 words in length. The body of the text should include short two-word subheadings: the first should appear roughly after the first three paragraphs, and thereafter every five paragraphs. These are intended to organise the text and keep the reader interested, they are not intended to encapsulate an argument.

    Please provide a subheading or teaser text of one or two sentences and in total about 30 words that will appear at the top of the text in bold. Please identify a key quotation from the body of the text that will also appear towards the top of the webpage. These should both appear above the main body text in any emailed submission.

    Voice and tone

    Remember that you are writing for an online format that will be read on a variety of digital devices, many of them handheld and less suitable for reading long, complex sentences and paragraphs. Ensure that paragraphs are concise, declarative and self-contained, and that the crux of the story appears at the very beginning.

    Use an active voice, in which the subject of a sentence clearly completes an action.

    Eg. ‘Campaigners have welcomed the promise of an Environment Bill.’

    Scanning for words like ‘was’ and ‘by’ will help you to identify the passive voice, in which it takes longer to reach the subject of the sentence.

    Eg. ‘The promise of an Environment Bill was welcomed by campaigners.’

    Many of our articles are informal and accessible: it’s perfectly fine to use contractions: you’re, it’s, they’re etc.

    Quotation

    Use double quotation marks for reported speech and quoted writing. When quoting sources, place the attribution at the beginning:

    Eg. Andy Gluckman, the chief executive, said: “Science is not like it once was.”

    You can include hyperlinks to sources but please avoid footnotes or endnotes. Do be aware that with a hyperlink you are inviting your reader to abandon your article - at least momentarily - and focus their attention elsewhere. Where possible, please use a hyperlink to another story at The Ecologist.

    Quotations of 50 words or more should be split into paragraphs with double quotation marks at the beginning of each paragraph and at the end of the final paragraph.

    That/which

    Sometimes it can be helpful to add ‘that’ after a verb:

    Eg: ‘He argued that the evidence had been convincing”

    A general rule, use ‘which’ for relative clauses that could be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentences (these clauses usually follow a comma), and ‘that’ for introducing essential information.

    Spelling

    Use ‘while’, not ‘whilst’; ‘among’, not ‘amongst’ etc.

    In the case of news stories correct Americanisms, such as labor, color favor, center, toward, artifact, endeavor, fervor, maneuver, skeptic, pretense, ‘-ize’. If it is a comment article from a US author for a US audience these may be left in place.

    Non-English words which have not passed into common English usage should be italicised.

    ‘Affect’ is a verb that signifies influence (eg. ‘The hot weather has really affected health’); ‘effect’ is a noun signifying the result of an influence (eg. ‘The pollution is having a disastrous effect on Londoners’).

    Commas

    Use commas to separate clauses and ensure your sentences are easy to follow. An ‘Oxford comma’ is used before the final ‘and’ in lists. Where the sentence is straightforward, this isn’t necessary. In some cases, it can help the reader to determine the relationship between items in a list: it can be helpful to read sentences aloud to determine whether an Oxford comma would help.

    Do include a colon after ‘said’ etc when presenting quotations. This would take the following form:

    Alice Walker, the author, said: “The colour is purple.”

    Hyphens

    Do not use hyphens for compounds (eg. ‘thinktank’), unless you are using two or more words adjectivally (eg. ‘nineteenth-century ecology’). Hyphens can be used to avoid ambiguity (eg. ‘an animal-abusing corporation’) but often reorganising the sentence is the best solution (eg. ‘a corporation that abuses animals’).

    Proofing

    Use spell check software but don’t rely on it to proofread for you. Use the Find (‘ctrl + F’) function to search for common errors such as double spaces and spaces before commas/full stops.

    This Author

    Each new article published on the website ends with This Author, followed by a short - less than 30 words - biography of the author. This is a good place to link to any book which has been published (the title should be italicised) and to also include a Twitter handle if the author so wishes.

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    Conditions for using the site
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    You are permitted to print or download extracts from this material for your personal use only. No part of the web site or any material appearing thereon may be used for any commercial or public use. No part of the web site or any material appearing thereon may be reproduced on any other web site, or distributed or disseminated in any form, either electronic or non-electronic, or included in any retrieval system without the prior written consent of The Resurgence Trust.

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    Terms and conditions updated 13 November 2014. These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without prior notice and at the discretion of The Resurgence Trust.


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  • About Us

    The Ecologist is the world's leading environmental affairs platform. We publish daily, bringing the latest news, comment, features and reviews to your screens - for free. You will find news about successful environmental campaigns, stories about advances in academic ecology and discursive articles touching on theoretical approaches that help us understand nature and the impact of our societies on the natural environment.

    The Ecologist online is read and enjoyed by people all around the world, with hundreds of thousands of readers from across the UK and the United States. The website was launched in 2005 and since then more than 13 million people have visited our site, with 27 million hits accessing more than 10,000 articles. Our most popular article - Ten Alternatives to Cow’s Milk - has received more than 357,000 hits - and counting.

    The Ecologist began life as a print magazine in 1970, with the aim of raising public awareness of the impact our society was having on the natural environment - and what the outcomes might be for our society in turn. We’re really proud that we have been publishing environmental news and discussion for more than 50 years and this remains core to our work.

    Since 2012, The Ecologist has been owned and published by the Resurgence Trust, an educational charity working across the fields of environment, social justice, activism, spirituality and the arts. The Trust publishes the Resurgence & Ecologist print magazine six times a year. This has been dubbed the “spiritual and ecological flagship of the environmental movement” by The Guardian.

    The Ecologist has played a crucial role in diagnosing the environmental crises which have only worsened in the intervening half-century. Now we’re increasingly focusing on how we find solutions. And we are keen to work more closely with our contributors and readers to ensure that understanding and respecting our ecology becomes second nature in the half-century to come.

    The Mission

    The aim of The Ecologist is to deepen the public understanding of the relationship between human society and the natural environment. This includes an examination of how industrial processes are causing serious harm to flora and fauna around the world - from the global crisis of climate change to local, more isolated cases of pollution and animal cruelty. We also want to celebrate success, and the extraordinary empathy and ingenuity of human beings - and other forms of life.

    The Team

    Editor Emeritus: Satish Kumar

    Satish Kumar - a former monk and long-term peace and environment activist - has been quietly helping set the global agenda for change for over 70 years. Satish was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains. He was 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality. Satish later embarked on an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage between India and the US, via all the nuclear weapons capitals of the time - Moscow, Paris, London and Washington. Satish then settled in the United Kingdom, and  in 1973 was appointed editor of Resurgence after the magazine’s founder, John Papworth, had become an adviser to the newly independent nation of Zambia. Satish edited Resurgence for 43 years. Today, he is a director of the Network of Wellbeing, sits on the Advisory Board of Our Future Planet and was recently elected a vice-president of  the RSPCA. Satish is company secretary of the Resurgence Trust, for which he continues to be a spokesman, fundraiser and principal advocate. He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity.

    Editor-in-Chief: Greg Neale

    Greg Neale was appointed editor of Resurgence & Ecologist in 2014, and succeeded Satish Kumar as editor-in-chief of the Resurgence Trust two years later, with overall responsibility for the magazine and our websites. Greg has been involved in environment and political activism since the 1970s. He has been a journalist and academic since the mid-70s, working for newspapers including The Times, The Guardian, The Observer and the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, including a decade as the Sunday Telegraph’s environment correspondent. As founding editor of BBC History magazine he won two editor-of-the-year awards from the British Society of Magazine Editors. He has also worked as ‘resident historian’ for BBC Television’s Newsnight programme, was elected a Centenary Fellow of the Historical Association, and is an honorary visiting fellow of York University. His books include the path-breaking Green Travel Guide, first published in 1998.

    Editor: Brendan Montague

    Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist online and is responsible for publishing all the content on the website. Brendan’s interests include systems theory, social ecology and almost any subject featured on In Our Time. He is the founder of the Request Initiative and the author of Impact of Market Forces on Addictive Substances and Behaviours: The web of influence of addictive industries (Oxford University Press). Brendan was a committed environmentalist as soon as it became cool - writing about McDonald’s in HSM - his secondary school magazine - which was banned. He has worked for more than a decade on regional newspapers, learning the craft of journalism, before spending a few years on the nationals, publishing with The Guardian, The Independent and the Sunday Times, as well as New Internationalist, the New Statesman and Vice.com.

    Chief Reporter

    Catherine Early has covered energy and environmental issues for nearly 15 years. She specialises in policy and regulation, in particular in the built environment and energy. She is also interested in permaculture and has an allotment. Now freelance, she has previously worked for the Environmentalist; the ENDS ReportPlanning magazine, and Windpower Monthly. She was a finalist in the 2009 Guardian international development journalism award for articles about maternal mortality in Tanzania and deforestation in Guatemala. She enjoys walking and cycling, and is a member of the Croydon Cycling Campaign (part of the London Cycling Campaign).

    Contributing Editor, Thought Leaders: Elizabeth Wainwright

    Elizabeth Wainwright is a contributing editor to The Ecologist and focuses on thought leadership and ideas. Elizabeth has a particular interest in nature-inspired ways of thinking and working. She was previously our nature editor, and an editor at Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. She also writes, including for The Lush Times. She has researched and written / photographed globally, including on the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami, the impact of tourism in South Africa, and the rehabilitation of child soldiers in Northern Uganda. Elizabeth has worked alongside communities and organisations around the world too, and she co-leads Arukah Network – a small, collaborative community development network that works in Africa and Asia and offers an alternative approach to ‘international development’-as-usual. She has an MSc in International Development, a BSc in Biology, and an NCTJ accreditation in Photojournalism. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

    Contributing Editor, Change Makers: Marianne Brooker

    Marianne Brooker is a contributing editor for The Ecologist and focusses on change makers and activism. She has a BA and an MPhil from Cambridge, and is currently a PhD candidate at Birkbeck’s School of Arts, where she works on romanticism and the organisation of knowledge. Her academic work explores the vast media ecology of the early nineteenth century, and takes her to almost everything from natural history and colour charts to poetry and prisons. She teaches critical theory at Birkbeck and works on two peer-reviewed academic journals: 19 and the COVE Collective. She's interested in the intersections between activism, artistic practice and social justice. She divides the remainder of her time between London parks and Devon seascapes.

    Themes

    Success

    The founders of The Ecologist were among the first to diagnose the many crises facing humanity as expanding industrial processes began to do irreversible damage to our planet. Thanks to their hard work - alongside millions of others - environmental concerns are very much on the agenda. But this has not proven to be enough. Indeed, the general prognosis - and individual stories of attacks on indigenous peoples, precious natural habitats and we ourselves in protest or at work - can be paralysing.

    For this reason, in the coming weeks and months The Ecologist will endeavor to publish more about the successes of our readers and our supporters. This could be a new academic breakthrough, or a report that furthers our understanding of nature and our place in it. It could be the publication of a new book which provides further understanding of impactful campaigning. Or it could be the direct outcomes of activists on the ground blocking fracking sites and coal mines. We want to know when you win, how you won, and how this can be aggregated into winning in the future.

    Systems

    ‘Ecoliteracy’, according to Fritjof Capra, author of A Systems View of Life, includes an understanding of systems thinking. The term “general systems theory” was coined by the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, in his book, General Systems Theory. Teddy Goldsmith - the founder of The Ecologist - was among the first and leading exponents of systems theory. Systems theory identifies general qualities associated with systems. It has been used in ecology, economics, biology and change management. Capra writes in The Ecologist: “Evolution is no longer seen as a competitive struggle for existence, but rather as a cooperative dance in which creativity and the constant emergence of novelty are the driving forces. And with the new emphasis on complexity, networks, nonlinearity, and patterns of organisation, a new science of qualities is slowly emerging.” In the coming months, The Ecologist website will be exploring the many different applications of systems theory - in particular to ecology, economics and activist organisation - to establish whether it remains relevant and useful today.

    Social Ecology

    Satish Kumar has recently published his book, Soil, Soul, Society: A New Trinity for Our Time where he identifies the importance of the interconnectivity between the well being of the self, the society in which that self lives, and the natural environment on which that society depends. The term ‘social ecology’ was coined by Murray Bookchin to capture the significance of the relations between nature and society. Bookchin posits that in order to prevent environmental catastrophe, we must begin to fully appreciate and address the social phenomena that are the root causes of this destruction - including social inequality and injustice. Writers for The Ecologist will in the coming months be discussing whether this term is useful in today’s context and whether environmental justice and social justice are indeed inseparable.

    Audience

    The Ecologist has been at the forefront of environmental reportage for five decades, and today remains among the most respected online resources. We began as a small journal circulated among the earliest advocates of ecological thought and action. We then published a news magazine which appeared in shops the length and breadth of the country. We were also among the first news organisations to embrace the internet and publish exclusively online. We now have a worldwide audience - but do not have the resources to cover every important environmental story happening anywhere on earth. We have therefore been thinking about who are audience is, and how we can get them the information they need and support them in what they do. We will in the coming months focus on delivering high quality, relevant and well written articles to three primary audiences: academics, thought leaders and change makers.

    Academics

    We are interested in publishing content from, and getting our content to, academics from a wide range of disciplines. We will be reporting more from peer reviewed scientific literature on the latest from ecological research. In particular, we will be publishing more about developments in ecology as an academic discipline, with the British Ecological Society becoming a key source for our stories. We are also keen to learn from social theorists about the impact our society is having on nature, and finally we want to continue the ancient discussion about the very nature of nature, and the nature of human nature, itself.

    Thought Leaders

    We also want to work more closely with other thought leaders, including authors, journalists and politicians. Writers and activists such as George Monbiot and Naomi Klein  have through their books and newspaper contributions led the debate on everything from climate change, through the exhaustion of our soils through agriculture to the exciting prospect of rewilding. We want to deepen the conversation and will be working with publishing houses, progressive magazines and political websites to develop new writing and share the best content. We will also publish contributions from all political organisations that share our fascination with ecology and human rights.

    Change Makers

    Most importantly of all, we want to learn from, amplify and cross fertilise ideas with the people who make change in the world. The individual activists who dedicate their lives to protecting landscapes and wildlife, preventing pollution on a global and a local scale, and build awareness and resilience in their own communities. We want to hear even more from the leading charities and NGOs that often lead the fight, with effective campaigning and policy work. We want to understand what works, and share that knowledge far and wide.

    Here Comes Everybody...

    There are of course other audiences that we want to reach. We are interested in engaging with people as consumers - and will be publishing content in partnership with Ethical Consumer magazine. We want to reach out to the public sector, the millions of people who dedicate their lives to meeting people’s needs, and are already keen to do their work while having only a positive impact on the natural environment. We want to engage with trade unions so that we can really understand how the work we do impacts nature. Later in the year we will reach out further to the leaders in progressive companies that go far beyond satisfying the requirements of corporate social responsibility reports. We have recently established a content sharing partnership with The Lush Times, which in turn is supported by the ethical cosmetics company Lush.

    The Resurgence Trust

    The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust, a registered educational charity. The trust has become the flagship voice of the environmental movement across the globe. Its mission is to inspire each other to help make a difference and find positive solutions to the global challenges we now face. You can become a member of the Trust online.

    James Sainsbury

    James Sainsbury is chairman of the Resurgence Trust. He is also chair of the trustees of Home-Start, a national family support charity, and trustee to a number of other charitable organisations, including the Voices Foundation and the National Byway Trust, which promotes cycling. He also has an interest in psychotherapy and is trained as an Option Process mentor. He is married with two sons. The other members of the board of trustees are: Satish Kumar, Josephine Amankwah-Seagrim, Dick Baker, Sandy Brown and Hylton Murray-Philipson.

    Angie Burke

    Angie joined the Resurgence team in 1998 as PA to Satish Kumar and Editorial Assistant. She took up the role of Communications Manager with responsibility for managing the charities two websites and the marketing department. In 2017, she was appointed trust manager at the Resurgence Trust. Originally trained as an archaeologist, her background has been mainly in the charitable sector, working as a fundraiser for Counsel and Care, as a trustee for Beauty Without Cruelty UK and as the True Cost of Conflict programme coordinator at Saferworld, where she co-edited The True Cost of Conflict (Earthscan 1996). She is passionate about environmental education - and a qualified Forest School leader.

    Michael York

    Michael runs the advertising side of things for The Ecologist, through his company Ethical Media Sales and Marketing (EMSM). He set up EMSM to offer campaign groups, publishers, charities and small companies a way to reach ethical consumers without having to rely on unethical advertising companies. Michael said: “Readers of The Ecologist are the most committed, passionate, ethical and environmentally aware consumers in the world. They are opinion formers whose influence reaches far into the community.” He lives in Oxford and has worked in publishing for more than 25 years. He likes to practice what he preaches and is into renewable energy, veg box schemes, car clubs, farmers markets, seasonal cooking and the East Oxford community.

    Engagement

    The Ecologist is in the fortunate position of being inundated with fascinating stories and comment articles submitted by highly committed and brilliantly intelligent contributors. However, we are always delighted to hear from new writers and thinkers.

    Pitching ideas

    If you would like to submit an article for consideration please, in the first instance, fill out this form. You can also email the editor, Brendan Montague, at brendan-at-theecologist-dot-org.

    Filing copy

    If we have expressed an interest and you want to file copy, then it would be really helpful if you could use this form. This ensures we have everything we need to present your copy well. Headlines etc. are still likely to be edited. Once you have submitted the form, please email Brendan and let him know.

    Corrections and clarifications

    If you would like to make a complaint, or request a correction or clarification to one of our stories, please email the editor, editor-at-theecologist-dot-org.

    History

    The Ecologist was founded by Edward “Teddy” Goldsmith in 1970 who developed a keen interest in the then cutting edge systems theory. The magazine shot to fame in 1972 for devoting an entire issue to its Blueprint for Survival, a radical manifesto for change that proposed - amongst other reforms - the formation of a movement for survival.

    This in turn led to the creation of the People Party, now known as the Green party. The Blueprint for Survival went on to sell more than 750,000 copies in paperback, and you can read the original edition online by looking in 1972 in the archive.

    The magazine continued to break new ground in the environmental debate in the years that followed, notably by pointing to global climate change during the African droughts of the mid-1970s, and exposing the extent of the slash-and-burn operations ravaging the Amazon rainforest during the early 1980s. It went on to unveil the fallacy of plentiful nuclear energy during the era in which the technology’s future was thought  to herald electricity ‘too cheap to meter’.

    During the last ten years The Ecologist has continued to highlight the contradictions of economic globalisation, the health effects of everyday toxins, and the huge environmental cost of industrial agriculture. Its continued coverage has pushed many of these issues into the political mainstream.

    To reach a wider, global audience, the magazine launched its website in 2005 and then went online only in 2009. It continues to provide a mix of in-depth analysis, environmental news and practical advice that appeals to a growing community of individuals committed to social and environmental change.

    Remaining true to its roots in ecological ‘systems’ thinking, The Ecologist strives to point out the links between issues as diverse as war, pharmaceuticals, corporate fraud, or the power of mass media. Above all, The Ecologist hopes to encourage its readers to challenge conventional thinking, and tackle global issues at a local level.

    Timeline

    1970: The Ecologist is launched by Teddy Goldsmith, editor from 1970-1990. Teddy has a keen interest in systems theory, which informs the content of the journal.

    1972: Volume 1 of that year includes A Blueprint for Survival, later published as a ground-breaking book that went on to sell 750,000 copies. Friends of the Earth’s first newsletter is distributed with The Ecologist.

    1973:  The Green party - initially known as the People party, then the Ecology party - formed in UK by writers at The Ecologist inspired by the Blueprint for Survival.

    1986: The Ecologist leads the way in collecting three million signatures asking for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on global deforestation. Teddy Goldsmith and twenty campaigners take the signatures in wheelbarrows to the UN in New York, followed two days later by a meeting with a group of US senators headed by Al Gore.

    1998: Zac Goldsmith is appointed editor of The Ecologist and broadens its appeal by moving away from its roots as an academic journal and towards a news-stand magazine. Zac dedicates an entire edition to examining the environmental record of the highly litigious biotech giant, Monsanto. The edition was a response to adverts posted by Monsanto in magazines and papers throughout Europe. The issue went on to become the biggest seller in the magazine’s history, translated into six different languages.

    2005: The Ecologist launches its website at www.theecologist.org and the following year releases its first digital edition of the magazine. The final print edition of the stand-alone magazine hits the shelves on 19 June 2009.

    2012: The Ecologist merges with Resurgence magazine on 1 June. The print magazine, edited by Satish Kumar, is retitled Resurgence & Ecologist and every issue includes a dedicated Ecologist section. The magazine and website are both owned and published by the Resurgence Trust.

    2014: Greg Neale is appointed editor of Resurgence & Ecologist. He is promoted to editor-in-chief of the Resurgence Trust, including Resurgence & Ecologist and The Ecologist online following the retirement of Satish Kumar from the role. Greg is the author of The Green Travel Guide, the founding editor of BBC History magazine and the former ‘resident historian’ for BBC Television’s Newsnight programme.

    2017: Brendan Montague is recruited as contributing editor of The Ecologist website. He is then promoted to acting editor, and then editor. Brendan is the founding editor of DeSmog.uk, founder and director of Request Initiative and co-author of Impact of Market Forces on Addictive Substances and Behaviours: The web of influence of addictive industries (Oxford University Press).

  • Contact Us

    For all inquiries, email Brendan Montague, the editor of The Ecologist, at brendan@theecologist.org.