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WHERE THE LEAVES FALL: A SUSTAINABLE MAGAZINE

@wtlfmagazine

Using a waterless, chemical-free printing process and highlighting intersectional environmentalism, Where The Leaves Fall magazine reestablishes the relationship between humans and nature and connects communities; striving for positive global change.

Words By Dina Abedini Niknam

January, 18th 2021

Where The Leaves Fall, as poetic a name as the mission behind this magazine. With the aim of reevaluating our relationship with nature and reestablishing it as an integral part of our lives (rather than an outlying factor), the magazine is a leading example in the print industry, fighting for a positive change. Luciane Pisani and David Reeve, the creators of the magazine, saw the impact of global problems affecting their own area of north London while editing and publishing Village Raw, their community magazine. This job enabled them to explore local sustainability initiatives which led them to a thorough evaluation of their own lifestyles and actions. This resulted in the duo realising the importance of these issues, and wanting to give it a more centered, global voice. This led them to approaching OmVed Gardens, one of Village Raw’s partners. From the ensuing conversations, Where The Leaves Fall magazine was created.

The founders believe that understanding and appreciating nature “is at the core of the change that needs to happen”. They also believe that “we need to rebuild things from the bottom up”. Most importantly, they believe that this change has to be accessible, it “can’t be the privilege of some and not others”’. That is the inspiration for Where The Leaves Fall magazine, it is “like planting seeds” and nurturing a platform for global conversation. The vision focuses on community and nature. The magazine is to explore our relationship with nature, all the while amplifying underrepresented voices all around the world. Since the launch of the magazine, they’ve explored various voices and stories, from farmers, Indigenous people and refugees, to chefs and artists. By engaging with such diverse voices, the magazine strives to inspire greater societal change. They believe that by exploring “often overlooked connections between people and nature [using] thoughtful journalism and beautiful designs”, they challenge their community and increase their awareness of these vital issues.

“The knowledge is out there – we just need to listen to it.”

Luciane Pisani and David Reeve, Where The Leaves Fall magazine

The founding duo envisioned a physical magazine, as they wanted to take their readers away from screens and the digital world of notifications and distractions. The pandemic has dictated a change of plans, however, and a digital version of Where The Leaves Fall magazine will soon be launching as well. The duo knows that reaching a larger audience is more important than avoiding the digital. This building of an online presence has already begun with the magazine’s Friday Finds initiative on their Instagram, where they likewise share sustainable, global community initiatives. What makes the magazine stand out, however, is the fact they not only speak of sustainability but actively participate in it, as the magazine has found a way to make the printing process sustainable:

“We visited a few printers, but it was Seacourt that really impressed – right down to the wormery happily munching away on various waste while producing fertiliser. We’ve been really happily printing using a waterless and chemical-free process powered by 100% renewable energies. They directed zero waste to landfill and have no negative carbon impact. When you smell [the pages of our magazine], it is the paper you’ll detect, not the chemicals. Over the last 25-years the printer basically rebuilt the printing wheel and developed their own waterless LED technology which saves thousands of litres of water per year.”

@wtlfmagazine

We also asked the founders about their supply chain. As the supply chain is likewise a wasteful step in magazine production, we at Staiy were curious about how Where The Leaves Fall magazine navigated this issue:

“There’s this thing that when a shop has magazines leftover – unsold – they rip off the covers which go back to the distributor as proof of a no sale. We worked out with our distributor a way in which the magazines are pre-bought (at a discount) so there isn’t the need for returns. But it has meant that we have to be really selective about where the magazine can be bought – it’s the smaller retailers. It’s a complete challenge as you’re looking to the future, while trying to operate within and adjust existing structures. We haven’t got everything right yet but we’re constantly working on it and reevaluating.”

Community building is vital to Where The Leaves Fall magazine not only in terms of their reader community but also in terms of connecting with communities around the world, thus allowing people to educate each other about how the climate crisis impacts each and every one of us. This is because the magazine acknowledges that the degree of harm experienced due to the crisis varies from place to place. For them, “environmentalism, social justice and combating climate change go hand in hand”. This is why the magazine’s themes and topics revolve around and strive for intersectional environmentalism:

“For the third issue of the magazine we interviewed (on our Instagram channel) Victor Steffensen, an Indigenous writer and filmmaker of the Tagalaka people. He said: “Once upon a time people were a part of this land and we had a responsibility and lived with the land. We’ve detached ourselves from that. And instead we’re just looking at the land and sucking the life out of it. We need to get back into the land and be a part of the environment again. That shows that we’re a part of the cycle and not standing on the outside looking in.” 

We are confronted with the issue of fake news in our digital world, driven by hidden agendas. The founders hope for a future of high quality media and journalism that is transparent. A similar issue persists in the sustainability world with greenwashing, although it is by far not the only culprit. The magazine and its founders hope for sustainability not to be a matter of affordability and hence not limited to the middle class. “Sustainability has to be inclusive and embrace equality”. As for the future of Where The Leaves Fall magazine, the founders hope more people will discover the magazine and join the journey.:

“In the next issue of the magazine (out in January 2021), water is one of the themes we explore. There is an amazing photography feature, by Jessica Lindgren-Wu, which at one point discusses the water situation in Gotland – Sweden’s largest island. There are limited water supplies on the island, with both people and industry in need. Ideally we all need to limit our impacts. And where there is a different kind of challenge, perhaps poor soil, desertification, how low-tech locally adaptable hydroponics systems can really maximise limited water resources. For the feature we worked with the World Food Programme – zoning in on how a hydroponics programme in Zambian schools is improving access to nutritious food, while engaging whole communities. Water runs across nature, binding and connecting it and, implicitly, us.”

To conclude our interview, the founders of Where the Leaves Fall magazine shared a final thought with us and the readers of Staiy Edit. They encourage us to get back in touch with nature. However, since not all of us have access to a green space, the duo encourages us to look at ourselves and our lives and recognise that we are all a product of nature. It’s what connects us to our planet and to each other. 

“The coming years are going to be really key. There has to be the political will for change, but also within industry and societies. It’s global, it’s community, it’s personal.”