Along with the stirrings of spring (at least for our readers in the northern hemisphere), there is, we feel, a strong sense of hope and possibility in this issue of Resurgence & Ecologist. Hope that is derived from many of the stories we publish, and possibility in the inspiration that they bring.

Thus, we don’t shirk from reporting bad news – and there is enough of that in our newspapers and on our television screens each day. But we also look for alternatives, often in the positive developments that pass below the radar of the mainstream media. In this issue, our Frontline section reports on the well-deserved recent Right Livelihood Award to leading campaigners on the environment, human rights and freedom of information; as well as the application of green technology in situations as diverse as Dutch cycle paths, off-grid energy in Ethiopia, and biogas-fuelled buses in Bristol. And it is doubly encouraging to report a victory – at least for now – for the campaigners in Canada’s far north-west who are striving to save the Peel Watershed wilderness, a struggle we highlighted last year.

Our feature articles have a similar note of optimism. Tony Juniper makes the economic as well as environmental case for Nature’s pollinators, Isabella Tree reports on her own campaign to rewild part of the countryside, and Andrew Wasley salutes a small-scale scheme providing food locally. Reporting globally, Peter Popham suggests reasons why Japan may resist remilitarisation; looking back, Matthew Fox reveals the relevance of the medieval mystic Meister Eckhart to our times.

Historical parallels can also be found in Jeremy Seabrook’s thoughtful essay on the threat to Britain’s welfare state, while in our reviews pages Jonathon Porritt examines a new study of how the last few decades have seen politicians and corporations attempting to deny the limits of economic growth on a finite planet.

If we are to turn away from such a ruinous course, we need to assert a new set of beliefs about our relationship with Nature and with each other. In our Keynotes feature this issue, Jonathan Dawson charts what these ‘new stories’ might be.

Such thoughts are timely: spring also brings new life, of course. This issue sees several new regular features: a diary by Leo Johnson, a new column from our own, indefatigable Satish Kumar, and a feature produced with the assistance of Amnesty International giving Resurgence & Ecologist readers the opportunity of showing solidarity with those around the world who suffer persecution for their nonviolent work on behalf of the environment, social justice and other causes of conscience.

Finally, like spring blossom, our arts pages and illustrations remind us all of the beauty that surrounds us, suggestions of a world of possibility. We hope you enjoy this issue.

Greg Neale is editor at Resurgence & Ecologist.