[The following editorial was published in the most recent issue of the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2008]
Big Shoes, Next Steps
Jon D. Erickson
It was with appreciation and humility that I recently agreed to take on the role of executive editor of the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies. So many people from so many walks of life in the Adirondack region owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Gary Chilson for founding AJES, staying true to its search for common ground, and promoting dialogue around sustainable development through the window of the
The first issue of AJES in 1994 was published on the heels of turbulent political times in the
The opportunity nearly 15 years later is to continue to promote an arena for ground-truthing and fact-checking, aided by open minds and informed dialogue. AJES seeks to explore the nexus of environmental, social, and economic issues, and as such demands a transdisciplinary and participatory approach to inquiry. The world has problems but the academy has disciplines. More often than not they don’t overlap. The study of the Adirondack region, the larger
AJES can be that vehicle. We can hold on to the values and virtues of peer-review, while providing a forum for debate, shared understanding, and resolution. We can continue to merge disciplines through the study of place. We can extend the circle of those who speak with authority beyond academics speaking with other academics. And we can aide an ongoing, bottom-up process of visioning management objectives and clarifying decision alternatives.
But AJES can’t reach its full potential in print form, mailed to a fluctuating base of subscribers and publishing commentary and peer-reviewed analysis with a 6 to 12 month lag time.
Gary Chilson (and too many colleagues to name) has built a foundation of disciplinary inclusion and broad perspective during the formative years of AJES and the Adirondack Research Consortium. The business of connecting information producers and consumers in real-time should be the next big step for AJES. In another 15 years time, let’s look back on the second generation of AJES with pride in having expanded the common ground still further. As we begin to plan for the next volume of AJES, I’d love to hear your thoughts about a move to an internet platform. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the old-fashioned way at 802-656-3328.