A couple of weeks ago, I took on a new challenge, as editor of Sustain Magazine.
Sustain is part of Ocean Media Group’s magazine stable, and I’ve taken over the 16-year-old magazine as part of a plan to move away from print to relaunch online.
The revamp is under way – my colleague is hard at work on the first step (revamped branding). I hope it’s not giving too much away, to reveal that we will ditch the slightly 1990s spelling and odd punctuation – officially the magazine is known as sustain’ at present, apostrophe included.
Investigative features, blogs, op-eds – and expert commentary on sustainability, accessible and clear – are going to be the touchstones of the magazine when we relaunch next year.
For now, I have peeled back some of the clutter from the website, and started updating with blog posts and some commentary, just to keep the site ticking over. For example, this post about a controversial plan to use biodiversity offsetting to restore the ancient woods of south London:
A railway upgrade is to become the unlikely benefactor of a plan to restore the Great North Wood, which once swathed much of south London, as part of a controversial ‘biodiversity offsetting’ programme.
As far back as 1272, south London was blanketed by sessile oak and hornbeam woodland, called the Great North Wood by the Anglo Saxons, to differentiate it from an even bigger wood further south. Or, others claim less romantically, because it was ‘north of Croydon’. Daniel Defoe wrote about it. Samuel Pepys visited a fortune teller who lived in an encampment of Gypsies there. And Oliver Cromwell seized it from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But over time the wood fell afoul of a number of trends, as it was stripped of trees to feed building projects and the Deptford Docks. In the 1850s, suburban homes began cropping up all over the area, further shrinking the woods. Today, only remnants of this woodland remain, in places like Dulwich and Sydenham. And, of course, in place-names such as Gipsy Hill, Forest Hill and Norwood that will be familiar to the London commuter.
But the London Wildlife Trust, a charity, has a plan to restore the wood, and yesterday that plan received a boost from Network Rail, the authority responsible for most of the UK’s rail infrastructure.