December 19, 2011 | General

Editorial: Learn, Share And Prosper

Nora Goldstein
BioCycle December 2011, Vol. 52, No. 12, p. 4

Since its founding in 1960, BioCycle’s specialty has been to learn, and then share what we learn, with the hopes that everyone will prosper. How? By operating better projects, advancing research, fine-tuning equipment and, yes, achieving profits and savings. The history of our name changes reflects how our learning has evolved:
Compost Science (1960); Compost Science/Land Utilization (1978); BioCycle (1981). Jerome Goldstein, our founder, wrote in his editorial introducing the name BioCycle: “Our unifying theme is biomass recycling … and biological waste management. It’s a new word, but we see no problem with that. We have entered a new era and the old ways and attitudes of dumping and incinerating are patently unfeasible and unacceptable.”
The name BioCycle continues to fit our focus. But over the course of the 30 years since that name change, we have learned (and shared) how the knowledge and experience we all have gained is relevant to more than just the “BioCycle community.” The evolution of the magazine’s subtitle reflects this progress: Journal of Solid Wastes and Soil (1960-1969); Journal of Waste Recycling (1970-1992); Journal of Composting & Recycling (1993-1999); Journal of Composting & Organics Recycling (2000-2005); Advancing Composting, Organics Recycling & Renewable Energy (2006-September 2011); Composting•Renewable Energy•Sustainability (October 2011-Present).
Adding Sustainability to BioCycle’s subtitle was not done because we want to be trendy. Just the opposite. We have learned enough over the past decade (actually the past 52 years) to recognize that composting, soil, recycling, organics recycling and renewable energy are tools to help achieve sustainability. We’ve published thousands of articles and hosted well over 100 conferences with presentations on these themes since 1960. And significant inroads toward sustainability have been achieved.
Now, it is time to aggressively share with others. Jim Hunt, Chief of Environmental & Energy Services for the City of Boston, tells BioCycle readers (page 38) that the biggest challenge today in sustainability is “effectively communicating its benefits and motivating people to become engaged in this movement. … But to bring the sustainability movement to scale we need participation.” Hunt describes programs developed by the City of Boston that foster participation, especially in energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building.
In her column in this issue (page 52), Sally Brown describes an experience she had recently at a National Academy of Sciences meeting on ecosystem services. Participants were split into groups to come up with “fantastic, creative, out-of-the-box solutions” (Brown’s words) to providing food, clothing, shelter and water to the world’s 7 billion (and counting) people. Most in attendance were ecologists. “I heard some new out-of-the-box ideas that sounded eerily familiar,” writes Brown. “One group suggested anaerobic digestion of animal manures as a way to both produce energy and conserve plant nutrients.”
The time is now to step up our game in the sharing department. BioCycle is unveiling its new website in winter 2012 that will make sharing what we know with many more people much easier. It will also facilitate our ability to learn. And hopefully, everyone will prosper.

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