MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations

Voices from the Earth Volume 1 Number 1
For 25 Years, The Workbook Linked Activists, Resources

Whether you were interested in space intelligence, women activists, the politics of sludge or the activities of Native Americans protecting their land, it was almost certain that you'd find something to chew on in The Workbook. Published by Southwest Research and Information Center for 25 years, the small alternative magazine was started by Katherine and Peter Montague, who still serve on the board of SRIC. The idea was to let folks — especially those in small towns and remote areas — know about publications that could assist them in their work for social change. From there The Workbook grew into a national resource for activists, researchers, librarians and others who enjoyed the clear and honest writing and often put the information to good use — in public testimony or college classes.

Unique among small magazines, The Workbook typically reviewed more than 25 titles of new books and reports each issue that covered a broad range of social, consumer, and environmental topics, published mainly by small presses.

Note from Kathy Cone

Some of the most popular issues have resulted from Cone's own creativity and energy. In 1996, she convinced 35 magazine and newsletter editors to review 60 other magazines, and in 1999 she corralled leading activists and writers to talk about their favorite books. One article that Cone coaxed out of a term paper written by a university intern on public lands and "takings" was widely reprinted and even called by the High Country News "as essential as a hot dog and a program at a baseball game."

The spring 2000 issue of The Workbook will be its last edition, due to funding constraints, declining subscriptions and the retirement of The Workbook's excellent, long-time editor Kathy Cone. In its place, SRIC will offer subscribers a new publication, Voices from the Earth, a journal of environmental views, news and reviews from SRIC. We know that Voices from the Earth can never be a substitute for The Workbook, but we hope to continue to be a source of information on environmental and social justice issues that you can't get elsewhere.

Reprints of Workbook articles continue to be available at SRIC. At the end of the year we will print a cumulative index for all 25 years worth of issues. The Index will also be available for purchase. Thanks to all of you from around the country who wrote, read and supported The Workbook. We hope you'll enjoy our new publication as well.

Four Workbook Articles Won Awards as "Underreported" Stories

Since 1988, four Workbook articles have been honored by Sonoma State University's Project Censored as among the top ten or twenty underreported stories of the year. "The usual recipients of these awards are Mother Jones, or The Progressive," says Kathy Cone, who served as the editor for the last ten years. "So it was quite an honor." Among the articles:

  • A 1988 article by Judith H. Johnsrud on food irradiation
  • A 1989 article, "Nukewaste in My Backyard," that used the then little known phrase "NIMBY," written by Diane D'Arrigo
  • "Beyond Ankle-Biting: Fighting Environmental Discrimination Locally, Nationally and Globally" written in 1991 by Frances Ortega and Kathy Cone
  • A 1995 piece by Don Hancock, "Where is Nuclear Waste Going… or Staying?"

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"Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth…that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamt would have come his way."
– W.H. Murray in The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.

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