By Chikaodili Okaneme
For those living in cities, where green living can seem out of reach, Mother Earth News is a good resource for people seeking a more sustainable lifestyle.
John shuttleworth and his wife, Jane, launched Mother Earth News in ohio more than forty years ago. “all we had was a dream,” John said in 1975. “within the limits of the painfully short resources we had on hand, we wanted to publish—even if we never got past the first one—a magazine that . . . would help other little people just like us live richer, fuller, freer, more self-directed lives; and ease us all into more actively putting the inter- ests of the planet over and above any personal interests.” since then, Mother Earth News has become one of the fastest-growing magazines in the United states and is the longest-running publication of its kind.
Self-proclaimed as “the original guide to liv- ing wisely,” Mother Earth News features a wide range of articles focusing on environmental issues, healthy eating and eco-friendly living. each bimonthly issue contains articles and recipes, plus home and garden tips. Its nice balance of visuals complements the subject matter.
The December/January cover shows a loaf of sliced homemade bread, typical of the magazine’s covers, which usually display either wholesome foods or lush landscapes. Its headlining article offers advice on buying quality food at affordable prices, which fits well with an article in the “News from Mother” section explaining the decrease in the nutritional value of foods found on market shelves.
The issue also contains tips for making your own cleaning products out of household ingredients, a safer alternative to buying store products with harsh chemicals. The recipes throughout the magazine are fairly simple and use a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Mother Earth News encourages readers to contribute to the magazine by submitting their own nature photographs and small messages regarding articles they have read. In a recent edition of the magazine’s “We See You” section, readers provided beautiful pictures of birds perched on branches and scenery covered with snow and ice. In the “Dear Mother” section, one person who had read a Mother Earth News article about rabbits shared some additional advice, while a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan wrote to say how much he appreciated “the most practical, utilitarian magazine available today.”
Mother Earth News is now owned by Ogden Publications in Topeka, Kan., publisher of magazines ranging from Utne Reader to Motorcycle Classics, and is available in print across North America, Europe and Australia—in major chains like Barnes and Noble and Sam’s Club, as well as in local health- food and mom-and-pop stores. It’s also available in digital format. Motherearthnews.com has a wealth of information, including blogs, archives and a section that continually updates readers throughout the day.
The website contains far more material than any single printed copy could hold—and that’s a bit of a problem. Visitors to the site are overwhelmed with content. As soon as the home page opened, my eyes were pulled in all directions. Similarly, the magazine itself could benefit from better organization, because most pages contain advertisements for natural or agricultural products, which may have value to readers but result in too much clutter. The designers need to give their material—in the print magazine and on the web—more room to breathe.
Although the majority of people who read the magazine are middle-aged homeowners, it is filled with information relevant to a variety of readers. Overall, Mother Earth News accomplishes its goal of giving any person the tools to live a greener life.