Alternatives Journal Call for Submissions – LIVING LANDSCAPES: Saving our Near-Urban Lands

Alternatives Journal Call for Submissions
LIVING LANDSCAPES: Saving our Near-Urban Lands
Due October 15, 2007

This summer, the 100-mile diet took root and grew like a beanstalk. People who naturally gravitated toward the perfect red tomato — imported from Mexico – found themselves enraptured by blemished irregular ones grown in a nearby town. They wanted to know the farmer’s story, her name, whether the fertilizer was organic, the variety and the distance between farm and grocery store. Seemingly overnight, food became real; farmers had faces and the need to save our near-urban landscapes took on some urgency.

But saving agricultural lands and practices in our near-urban landscapes is only one reason why these living lands are important. Providing space for nature where wildlife can find adequate habitat, trees and plants can thrive, streams and rivers can replenish themselves, and the land and humanity can find sanctuary are equally important.

Yet government plans to pave over wetlands and dig up farm fields march on seemingly unabated regardless of whether you live in Calgary, Halifax or Quebec City. Meanwhile there is widespread recognition that the cost
of the infrastructure and services needed for urban sprawl is unsupportable and the value of ecosystem goods and services is rarely quantified.

The spring 2008 issue of Alternatives Journal will focus on protecting the lands that surround our urban centres. It will address the issues of how to stop urban sprawl from spilling on to our agricultural land and confiscating our forests. It will consider our need for food security, farm income and the often contentious relationship between agriculture and environment. We’d like to examine the effect of land-use and other government policies on our ability to steward the living landscapes that surround our cities. We’re looking for examples of programs and ideas
that have worked in Canada or around the world. We’ll consider interviews with experts. We want to address whether we really need to have access to local food and near urban nature. What is nature’s value? Can cities and countryside co-exist?

William Rees, co-author of Our Ecological Footprint, once said, “If you want sustainable cities, folks, they depend on sustainable countryside.” Alternatives invites submissions (as per the guidelines described below)
for articles dealing with the topic of Saving Near-Urban Landscapes in Canada and around the world. We want thoughtful articles that look for the story beyond the story.

Queries should explain, in less than 300 words, the content and scope of your article, and convey your intended approach, tone and style. Please include a list of people you will interview, potential images or sources
for images and number of words. We would also like to receive a very short bio that tells us about your involvement in the issue you plan to write about. And if you have not written for Alternatives before, please include examples of your writing. Proposed articles may range in length from 350 to 2000 words and may deal with Canadian or international issues.

Queries are due by October 15, 2007.
Send to

Alternatives combines the learned rigour of an academic journal with the breezy style of a magazine. We publish some of the best environmental writing in the country – writing that is engaging, thought-provoking and
insightful. We avoid predictability. Before responding to this call for submissions, please read several back
issues of the magazine so that you understand the nature of our publication. We also suggest you go through the detailed guidelines on our website (

Alternatives has a limited budget of about $250 per essay to a maximum of four articles. This stipend is available to professional and amateur writers, and students only. Please indicate your interest in this funding in your submission.

On newsstands now: MYTH OF WATER ABUNDANCE
The creators of the Energy Soft Path apply the same ideas to present the newest Water Soft Path. Plus new local food markets; a modern look at Leopold’s classic A Sand County Almanac; and much more …

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