From the Publishers

Feedback: inspire us!

by Carolyn Chase
ong time readers of SDET will discover this is our largest issue yet! (and hopefully one of the best). As we continue in our third year of publishing, we're beginning to see signs of healthy feedback. Our advertisers continue to increase and report results (thank you - and please use the many coupons, services and businesses in this special Earth Day issue).
Phone calls last month included one from G.R. Mirhadi who reported that after seeing our coverage of the mountain lion hunting initiative, as a life member of the National Rifle Association, he has now decided to resign.
Another caller reported that after reading Robert Nanninga's Observations from the Edge, she had gone out and registered to vote.
Two individual results, and it gives us hope for more.
Feedback is a critical component of any healthy, sustainable system, whether for a relationship, a business or a government. In relationships, feedback is personal and pretty immediate. For businesses, customers provide feedback. In the government - a democratic one anyway - the voters and citizens are supposed to give feedback.
Well, this feedback to the government comes in many forms and it's called, of course, politics. From my observations, American politics is not reliable for protecting the environment or reversing many of the practices that are leading to destruction of biodiversity, forests (see story), ozone layer, etc. But at the same time, what other options are there? What are the effective ways for people to engage with a massive system of conflicting money and power interests to insure their own survival? Can we organize enough people, businesses and organizations who understand and adapt their ways?
Having attended many public meetings over the years, I have to say that this is the challenge of our age - or any age: how to align the values of community, sustainable economies and healthy environment with a political system designed to absorb public monies and maintain itself in its current form, regardless of the outcome.
But what else is there to do? Some might say it's impossible. I say, the most interesting projects are always seen to be impossible, at first. I must also observe that some type of transformation is becoming more and more required by our planet's life-support systems to sustain us.
Our Politics section this month presents some provocative ideas for rethinking our relationships with democracy, government, and environmental protections with the goal of giving ordinary citizens creative and effective ways to work the process and content of politics.
If this interests you, and it "should," please participate. Return the "America's Finest County" form. Sign or circulate and return the "Natural Heritage and Quality of Life" petition. And give us feedback!
When we connect, we make a difference. It's that simple and that complicated.
If you're looking for a special way to celebrate Earth Day, consider playing the World Game. Invented by R. Buckminster Fuller the Game is a multimedia event in which participants become world leaders, regional representatives, business moguls and representatives of international organizations with the goal of addressing, negotiating and solving global problems. You will be left with a new and profound understanding of world issues. Contact GENI at (619) 595-0139 or