One spring day in 2004, I was smoking a cigarette and drinking freshly-squeezed orange juice on a bridge over the Barada in Damascus when a trash bag flew through the air and landed on the cement river bed. I was a little surprised but probably flicked the butt of the cancer stick into the water too and watched as the weak current tried to carry the trash downstream.
This mighty river once flowed from the mountains to give life to the oases along the edge of the desert. All that remains of this diverted and much diminished branch of the Barada is a sickly stream. Barada – meaning “cold” in Arabic – is also the name of Syria’s national beer that pales in taste compared to its Palestinian counterpart called Taybeh (“Delicious”).
Another plastic bag flew through the air and crumpled on the river bed. A woman peeked out of her window to check the trash had reached its destination, and then turned away quickly as she probably does every day. The image of that bag floating from house to river stuck as a symbol of the great divide between what we do and could do in this ecological age.
A year later, I covered the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005 and then worked for a Spanish action-think tank in Madrid on Mediterranean politics and development issues. Revolve emanates from this time with the ambition to challenge the status quo, to advance more constructive ways of seeing the world, and to identify and present the people and projects driving positive change.
The financial crisis hit in 2008. Advertising plummeted in 2009. Over 400 magazines closed in the United States. We turned the ‘best of’ from our online articles into a dummy in Winter 2010/11. It was a valiant effort for our first issue. We went on to make a quarterly international magazine and won ‘best publication of the year’ in 2012 for our special issue on “Water Around the Mediterranean”.
The linkages between water and energy became increasingly apparent. Connecting the shores of the Mediterranean became a metaphor for bridging historical, social and economical gaps between different peoples. We began identifying projects and providing more insightful and meaningful coverage of the great geopolitical and environmental challenges that define our world today.
We looked closer at what was driving the move towards a cleaner world and decided to highlight the potential of the green economy and to encourage the energy transition
environment and economy. In so many ways, the transition is already underway; everyday Revolve highlights a new sustainable initiative from around the world.
Let us know how you partake in the transition.