We’re just getting warmed up.

Sunrise

Well, that went by quickly.

Four years ago today, The Revelator launched into the electronic ether with a mission to bring new voices and ideas to environmental journalism.

Since then we’ve published more than 830 articles and commentaries, covering everything from the extinction crisis to environmental justice, the dangers of fracking and plastics, the science of dam removal and light pollution, and lesser-known topics like pop culture’s effects on conservation.

It wasn’t easy. Our publication was planned, in no small part, as a reaction to the election of the Trump administration. We knew we’d be looking at a period of intense environmental deregulation and turmoil. We just didn’t realize how intense or chaotic things would soon become.

But as we shined our lights into the darkness, we did our best to not stay focused exclusively on the pain. We spent equal time examining solutions, talking about how to achieve progress, and looking at the fun things that make conservation worth it.

That combination of revelation and celebration will continue. As we collectively emerge from the past four years, and as those of us here start year five of what we affectionately call “The Rev,” we have one big promise for you: We’re just getting warmed up.

Meanwhile, we’ve taken this anniversary as an opportunity for reflection. Here are 10 lessons we’ve learned from the past four years:

    1. Surround yourself with good people. A strong community will keep you going on even the darkest of days.
    2. But talk to anybody (and keep your cool when you do). Self-segregation by political ideology will tear the world apart if we let it. It’s among the greatest threats we face.
    3. Broaden your inputs, support quality journalism at a time when it’s still under attack, and remain vigilant for disinformation. We’ve seen what happens when people limit their information sources or allow themselves to be manipulated.
    4. Do your best, but don’t bear the entire weight on your shoulders. Individual action remains important, but we need to work toward systemic change now more than ever.
    5. Prepare for the worst. We’re expecting another dangerous fire season here in the West, and that’s just one of the likely effects we’ll all feel from climate change and biodiversity loss in the months and years ahead.
    6. Celebrate the best. There’s no better way to protect the natural world than to enjoy it, by yourself or with friends.
    7. Your positive experiences and wild encounters make a difference to others.
    8. A lot of voices have traditionally been left out of the mainstream conversation. Let’s all vow to break that cycle and keep our ears open to each other’s experience and wisdom. We’re stronger together.
    9. Trust the experts. The scientific process is our superpower.
    10. In every election, no matter how small.

Thanks to all our readers for the past four years. We look forward to year five and beyond.

Creative Commons

John R. Platt

is the editor of The Revelator. An award-winning environmental journalist, his work has appeared in Scientific American, Audubon, Motherboard, and numerous other magazines and publications. His “Extinction Countdown” column has run continuously since 2004 and has covered news and science related to more than 1,000 endangered species. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Science Writers. John lives on the outskirts of Portland, Ore., where he finds himself surrounded by animals and cartoonists.

Tara Lohan  

is deputy editor of The Revelator and has worked for more than a decade as a digital editor and environmental journalist focused on the intersections of energy, water and climate. Her work has been published by The Nation, American Prospect, High Country News, Grist, Pacific Standard and others. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis.