Magazine Review: GOOD November/December 2007 Issue

Good Mag Nov/Dec 07Billboards, commercials, shopping bags, newspapers, pop-up ads … do you ever get sick of all the media around you? Finding anyone that is talking about something that actually matters is harder than ever these days, but a group of folks (in Los Angeles of all places) is doing just that.

Started only last year, GOOD Magazine is now up to its 7th issue and gains new subscribers every day. Billed as a magazine for folks who “give a damn,” GOOD donates the entirety of its $20 subscription price to a non-profit organization of your choice. Their goal is to reach $1 million in donations and they have just recently passed the half way point.

If you are going to talk about things that matter and reach out to people who “give a damn,” you better talk about the environment. Covering the entire breadth of social, spiritual, financial and political developments, GOOD consistently includes updates and features about eco-issues that affect us all in one way or another.

Having subscribed to the magazine since its first issue, I always learn something new from their intelligent, mildly-opinionated writings. Whether you agree or disagree with what you read, GOOD avidly encourages readers to voice their opinions on their site and via conversation with both friends and enemies. The fact that Green Options hasn’t yet reviewed an issue of GOOD is nothing short of a travesty, but that is all about to change. As with all their other issues, the November/December 2007 installment of GOOD discusses a medley of green concerns and successes.

The progress in alternative energy technologies has been astounding, but we still have a long way to go. With the amount of solar energy that hits the Earth in one second, we could power 4 trillion 100-watt light bulbs. Now wait, just in case you read through that a little fast, I said FOUR TRILLION light bulbs – yeah, that’s pretty hardcore. That’s just one of the intriguing facts about solar energy presented in colorful graphics on page 33.

Having this kind of information smack dab in front of my face makes me do the “hand-to-forehead” move. With energy availability like this, there is no reason that we should be dragging our feet so much on getting solar power to the masses and integrated into our grids. Oh wait, yeah, the oil companies have a tight hold on the government and no one has yet found a way to have total control over the sun, in turn allowing them to make oodles of money … crazy capitalism.

Page 98 greets us with yet another article on The Compact – San Francisco’s group of concerned citizens that agreed to not buy anything new for a whole year. By now, you have probably heard of them a few times and know the gist of their plan. Having seen them already mentioned in just about every magazine and newspaper known to man, I was hesitant to read yet another piece about them. Knowing I had to write this review, I went on to read the article anyway and was delighted to read the intensely personal angle writer Zachary Slobig used.

“We’re not out to be environmental martyrs. We’re just a group of folks looking to consciously reduce our consumption and keep trash out of the landfills,” says Compacter Rachel Kesel in the article. I’ve heard people talk about The Compact like it is some kind of cult or band of crazy hippies that reject buying anything at all to try and get back at “the man.” Thankfully, this four-page article doesn’t promote that view at all, showing us just a group of average consumers who find the obsessive American consumer culture to be silly and pointless.

Other noteworthy pieces from the November/December issue:

+ Leftovers for All & Recycling Katrina (page 22)

+ Looking at Sustainable Design That Doesn’t Suck (page 48)

+ If It Ain’t Broke … (page 72)

+ Low-Tech Laboratory (page 82)

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