A Letter to Sage’s Readers: Thanks for Making 2012 So Great

Dearest Sagefriends,

Greetings. We hope you’ve all had wonderful holidays. It is the great pleasure of Sage Magazine’s editorial staff to provide you, our kind supporters and readers, with a recap of Sage’s eventful 2012, and some hints about what to expect in 2013.

This past year has been a year of expansion and gathering momentum. In just two years Sage has grown from an internal, print-only publication at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies to an online magazine with international reach. People are reading this magazine — hundreds of them, every day, in all fifty states and in over 100 countries. (Incidentally, if you find yourself in Kazakhstan, Bolivia, or basically anywhere in West Africa, please make your way to our site; our Google Analytics map still has conspicuous holes.) People talk about Sage — and its 82 (and counting) contributors — beyond Yale’s campus. We are legitimately a new kid on the block, albeit a small one. We’re the Joey McIntyre of environmental magazines.

To keep the spirit alive during this hibernatory period, we wanted to recount some of the wonderful things that have happened in the Sage-o-sphere in the last year. Here goes:

1) Sage continued to break important environmental news stories, produce beautiful multi-media pieces, and generally kick butt and take names. Choosing our favorite stories from 2012 would be like asking us to choose our favorite moments from the Republican primaries, but here are a few of the most memorable:

Sandy Aylesworth’s groundbreaking article, “An Unsettling Experiment: Dispersants in the Gulf,” called attention to long-lasting damage from the BP spill — months before freaky eyeless shrimp began showing up in fishermen’s nets.

Daniel Hoshizaki, in “Where the Land Meets the Waves,” described how Japanese fishermen are still fighting to recover from 2011’s devastating tsunami.

Drew Lerer, in “Will Carbon Nanotubes Create an Environmental Health Crisis?” addressed the growing health threat posed by nanotechnology and issued a clarion call for improved regulation.

Grace Steig’s article on the restoration of the Elwha, “Rewriting a River,” took a holistic look at how dam removals in Washington State will affect stream ecology, from algae to salmon.

2) Sage helped the writing of FES students garner deserved national acclaim, as a number of our pieces were picked up and republished by big-shot news outlets:

Mary Wykstra’s story about a cheetah mommy, “Fading Spots,” caught the eye of public radio producers at American Public Radio and turned into this piece.

Vanessa Lamers’ article about much-needed fracking regulations, “Solutions From the Gas Fields,” captured the attention of the New York Times Green Blog.

Charissa Rujanavech’s story about Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, “Thinking Like a Mountain Climber” (Aldo Leopold pun alert!), was featured by numerous blogs in the worlds of both climbing and sustainable business, not to mention Patagonia’s own blog.

Jenn Baka’s land grabs conversation with Fred Pearce, “Tragedy of the Commons in Reverse,” was featured on the homepage for the leading academic conference on land grabs. NBD, as the kids say.

Jason Schwartz’s interview with Sandra Steingraber, “Powerful Interests,” was reblogged by a number of environmental tastemakers, including Humane Connection, The Anthropo.Scene, and Orion Magazine.

Emily Schosid’s lovely reflection “Could Doing Chores Save the World?” was republished by High Country News, as was our photo-essay, “How The West Was Won.”

3) Sage sponsored several events designed to spotlight environmental issues and student research. Hope you all had the chance to attend Fred Pearce‘s talk on the social impacts of land grabs, our conversation with Felicity Barringer about Western environmental journalism, and the student fracking panel, featuring the infinite wisdom of our very own Vanessa Lamers, Erica Barth, and Samantha Ostrowski.

4) Sage writers interviewed some of the most important figures in the conservation movement, including (but by no means limited to) Ivonne Baki, Jamie Williams, Carl Zimmer, Paul Greenberg, Sheila Olmstead, and the delightfully controversial John Hofmeister. And we also produced some killer multi-media: check out, in particular, Tahria Sheather’s “Greening the Hill” and Omar Malik’s “The Frontlines of Fracking.”

5) Sage’s first-ever annual Young Environmental Writers Contest generated over 300 submissions (over half from India), and produced three deserving winners:

A. Kathleen Higgins’ “An Ice Rink at 16,000 Feet” described the creation of artificial glaciers high in the Himalayas (third place).

Mira Manickam’s “Just Enough” immersed us in a fishing community in Southern Thailand, where villagers grapple with whether to continue fishing in the face of precipitous stock declines (second place).

Megan Kimble’s “Wager for Rain” examined the state of the science when it comes to cloud-seeding, and asked whether scientists could engineer the west out of chronic water shortages (first place).


This spring is going to require some heavy lifting. We have another contest to plan, an annual print edition to produce, and some seriously ambitious ambitions, including regular staff editorials, radio pieces, a multi-part video series on the Peabody Museum, and offering an office hours service to our peers at FES. Whew.

Put bluntly: we need help. No, not donations, unlike every other organization that has ever emailed you ever. Rather, we need your time — we need writers, editors, photographers, videographers, and web developers. Sage is on the cusp of national prominence, and we need the assistance of everyone at FES to get there. Whether it’s reviewing a great new documentary, interviewing your favorite forest ecologist, or turning your photos from that trip up the Amazon into a photoessay, we want to publish your contribution. If you’d like to become part of the editorial staff, we would welcome you with open, well-muscled arms. You can always reach us at sagemagazine@gmail.com. And even if you don’t want to be involved with Sage as a writer or editor, we’re always grateful for your page clicks and eyeballs — we update the site several times a week, so there’s plenty of content to explore.

Thanks again for your wonderful patronage in 2012, and for taking Sage to new heights in 2013. See you all soon.


Ben Goldfarb, Jason Schwartz, and the Editorial Team

Sage Editors

SAGE Magazine is a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

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One Comment

  1. Steve MacAusland says:

    Very impressed by Sage. Am working on a history of the rivers of Quebec. Please put me in touch with Naomi Heindel.
    Thank you !

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