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Doug Moss

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Ambition and Perseverance

I’ve always “aimed high” in the goals I’ve set for myself, and I don’t

give up easily.

If I had to pick two words that sum up why I was able to

achieve in life they would be ambition and perseverance.

I’ve always “aimed high” in the goals I’ve set for myself, and I

don’t give up easily. In the process, I improve my skills at

whatever I’m attempting to do.

My childhood baseball hero, Mickey Mantle, was probably

my biggest inspiration, as were the Beatles. Mantle had a bone

disease and a history of injuries in one of his legs such that he

had to completely wrap his knee in tape before every game.

Nonetheless, despite this handicap, he went on to become

one of baseball’s all-time greatest players and the idol of

many because he was also a very modest and likable person.

And the Beatles changed popular music forever by not being

afraid to be different and by continually working to improve

themselves and to try new things along the way.

Because of Mickey Mantle’s inspiration, I took up baseball

myself and even learned to switch-hit as he did. Because

of the Beatles, I taught myself guitar and piano, and I have

since written about 25 original melodies myself. My mother

also deserves credit. A musician and hard worker herself, she

encouraged me to be active and entrepreneurial at the things

I enjoyed. As a youngster I had a paper route and also mowed

my neighbors’ lawns to earn money, while playing throughout

my younger years in Little League and Babe Ruth League, and

also playing cello in the orchestra.

Source: Printed with permission from Doug Moss, Norwalk,

Connecticut.

During the 15 years that I’ve been publishing E/The Environmental

Magazine, which is nonprofit and relies on

foundation grants for support, I have been the key person responsible

for raising money. It’s been an uphill battle, and I

joke with my coworkers at times that I could “wallpaper the

whole office” with just the stacks of rejection letters I have in

my files. But that has never deterred me. It sounds funny, but

sometimes when a “No” arrives in the mail from a foundation

from whom I’ve asked for a grant, it just energizes me to figure

out how to get a “Yes” from them next time. I’m quite

passionate about the environment and also about the need

for our media to serve us properly.

Foundations have not traditionally supported media, preferring

instead to fund projects that have clear and measurable

short-term consequences, like giving money to build a

nature center, where they can see the results of the money

they spent standing there right in front of them. But many of

the environmental issues we fight for, and the efforts needed

to win those fights, are less tangible than that, though still

very important—and a magazine like E can do a lot to educate

people, both young and old, about the importance of

safeguarding the environment. I think after years of persevering

with the foundations that provide the funding—while

at the same time putting out a well-written magazine that is a

team effort—I’ve successfully persuaded them to agree.

I grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut, catching frogs and

fishing in local ponds, but I would trace my environmentalism

to an event that occurred much later. One day, while

living in New Haven, Connecticut, after graduating with a degree

in marketing from Babson College in 1974, I watched a

TV report about the clubbing of baby harp seals in Newfoundland,

Canada (that seal hunt has now resumed in a big

way in 2004). I was outraged at what I saw, and my first impulse

was to run to the phone to call the TV station to com-

plain that they were televising this. I didn’t make the call, realizing

that the TV station was only the messenger, not the

one killing seals. Coincidentally, a few days later I saw some

people in downtown New Haven demonstrating against wearing

fur, so I joined the local antifur group. I began to get more

and more involved and, in the process, I met a whole community

of people who shared my concerns about animals and

the environment. I started to spend my free time on such

activities as gathering signatures on petitions, organizing

events, and working on newsletters.

In 1979, I left the Burroughs Corporation, with which I got

a job after college, and started my own company, Douglas

Forms. I wanted to “be my own boss” and decided to “take

the plunge” now that I knew the business forms field well.

In 2004 Douglas Forms celebrated its 25th anniversary. As it

turned out, most of my customers were magazine publishers,

and I learned a lot from them about the business of magazine

publishing. Soon a few of my friends and I decided to publish

an animal rights magazine. In late 1979 the first issue of The

Animals’ Agenda appeared.

After nine years of publishing The Animals’ Agenda, I decided

that, while I still supported animal rights concerns, my

interests were broadening to include other related concerns.

Global warming, medical waste, ozone depletion and other

issues gave me and my wife, Deborah, the idea to try our

hand at a new nonprofit magazine. I left The Animals’ Agenda

and launched a new, independent magazine that would focus

on a broad range of environmental issues.

Work began on E/The Environmental Magazine during

the “Greenhouse Summer” of 1988, amid reports of medical

waste washing up on New Jersey shores, fires in Yellowstone

Park, and growing public interest in the environment. E

debuted—after 18 months of planning, research, and networking

with the environmental community—in January 1990, in

the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster and on the eve of the

twentieth anniversary of Earth Day, just as people were dubbing

the 1990s, “the environmental decade.”

All of this has taught me that it’s important to “leave no

stone unturned” in considering the unlimited opportunities

to make the most of even just one project, such as a magazine

whose reach can be multiplied exponentially through

creative thinking.