To all our readers

YOU WILL NOTICE in this issue some big and small changes. This is our 530th issue, which means we have been researching, writing, designing and publishing Down To Earth for 22 years. Every fortnight our aim is to bring you news, perspectives and knowledge that can help you make a difference. Our objective is to prepare you to change the world. We believe information is a powerful driver for the new tomorrow.

So after producing 529 issues and just at the time when India is taking a new breath, we revised the magazine for your reading. In this age of fast news and Internet-driven information, we believe there is a hunger for in-depth analysis and perspectives. We know you want to know much more about the little things you skim over in newspapers. There is a story behind and a way ahead. So, we have reworked Down To Earth to do this.

Then we also know you crave for new ideas; you want to know what is changing in our world that is for the good. We all have a duty to hope. We have, therefore, introduced sections that look into the ways people are working in forests, farms and factories to make a difference. We will also try and tease out how these small experiments in our world’s development laboratory can be scaled up. In our experience scaling up invariably requires a change in some policy, rule or regulation. Our objective is to provide this understanding for impact.

Most importantly, we believe there is a lot more that’s missing in the news. When we started Down To Earth in 1992, we had no competitors. There was nobody who provided information about environmental change. We filled the huge information gap. Today in 2014, environment has become a mainstream topic. All newspapers write about it; this is good news. We want competitors. We want the information about the issues that matter to be on the front pages of newspapers and television screens, day after day. But in 2014, we know we still fill a gap. There is news about environment, but it does not build our perspective; it does not go beyond the ordinary and the known; it does not venture into remote villages and does not look into the lives and knowledge of the people who are missing from our view. Even as there is more news, there is less news about what is happening outside cities; more and more people are today out of sight and out of our mind. We aim at fixing this.

Moreover, our daily news barely covers the world of science as it interfaces with modern society. Down To Earth will feature history and archaeology to bring you perspectives of how the past still influences our present; meteorology and climate change sciences will inform you about our changing weather. And our sections on green architecture, changing lifestyles and culture of food will give you information that you can use.

We also have to ask for your help. In every issue we produce, we aspire to bring you accurate, rigorous and useful information that will drive change in our world. We know we make a difference. We know this because our articles are used to push policy; used to challenge status quo; used to spread the word about what is possible. We know you believe in our independence. We have your trust. Our information has purpose. It is credible.

We promise to keep this trust. But we need something from you as well. We need your involvement in taking our ideas further. We do not have the marketing muscle to get into each house; we are also limited by language. But we know if you can be our messenger, multiplier and our friend, you can spread the word, use our information, take the word to action, bring us back the news about this impact. Help us to do what seems so impossible: turn the tide so that our present and future are secure.

Let me know what you think of the new look of Down To Earth. I look forward to our continued journey together.