NRDC OnEarth
NRDC   OnEarth
The Earth’s Best Defense

Current Issue
About OnEarth

Cover, Current Issue
Letter from the Editor
Contact OnEarth
Full Table of Contents
Back Issues
Media Kit

NRDC Membership

A NEW WEBSITE! blogs, more multimedia, and award-winning journalism come join the conversation at

Photo of Kathrin Day Lassila
Letter from the Editor

Most graphic designers who've seen OnEarth have advised me to make this page more personal by putting my picture on it. Until now, I've resisted -- maybe just being shy, but I had my reasons. Not relevant, I said. This magazine and this Letter from the Editor aren't about me, they're about the environment. Our readers care about the important things.

But my picture is finally here because this particular letter is a personal one. In April, I will take up the post of editor at the Yale Alumni Magazine, and this issue of OnEarth is my last. I want to thank you -- the wonderful readers of OnEarth -- and say goodbye.

It was nine years ago in February that I started as editor of this magazine, then called The Amicus Journal. Nine years works out to nearly 200 feature articles and 1,500 shorter pieces, but if there's one thing you can say about the environment, it is this: It's big. There is almost nothing we can't cover in OnEarth. We've done noise pollution and light pollution. We've done tigers, bears, fish, squid, ocelots, moths, and jellyfish. We've had a story on dust and a story on vacuum cleaners, a story on AAA and a story on parking garages. We've covered activists, scientists, politicians, and presidents; we've covered religion, globalization, stress, taxes, and butterflies.

A few of my personal favorites: An essay by George Woodwell excoriated U.S. global warming policy, or non-policy, as the worst example of governmental collusion through inaction since the nation looked the other way on slavery. In this issue, Ian Frazier visits Coal Country and tells us what life is like after a toxic avalanche. We once had a cover showing newly minted president George W. Bush as Yosemite Sam, swinging open the D.C. saloon doors. And a couple of years ago, Rick Bass wrote about what happens to your dignity when you aren't careful with the canister of grizzly-bear pepper spray hanging at your belt.

It has been a wonderful, intense, exhilarating ride. I never thought I'd leave. (When Yale first asked me to interview, I thought I shouldn't because I'd be acting under false pretenses.) I'm happy to be going back to my alma mater, but I'll miss OnEarth and NRDC enormously. Most of all, I will miss the sense of having a part in the great challenges of our time. At OnEarth , we have always known that if we did our job well enough and communicated environmental issues compellingly enough, then you -- the readers of OnEarth and members of NRDC -- would make history. NRDC members are part of the growing majority of people aware and active enough in this country to lead it out of environmental mistakes. And you have. NRDC members who raised their voices to stop destructive laws and save endangered places have succeeded again and again.

Thank you for that. And thank you for a splendid nine years.

Kathrin Day Lassila

OnEarth. Spring 2003
Copyright 2003 by the Natural Resources Defense Council