Means "other." Also (as an English verb, without the hyphen) "to change"
In the word "alternative," originally meant "the other" of a choice of two.
More and more, means one of a choice of many, but retains a sense of belonging to an other way of being/living, in opposition to the mainstream,
alternative energy/fuel: solar, wind, biomass, etc.
alternative culture: (especially but not exclusively music) fringe, underground, independent (indie, indy), anticorporate, sometimes with an interest in ANARCHISM, developing independent performance and distribution channels, DIY
Note that "indie" rock now sometimes simply refers to a style of corporate music.
In English we talk about the "antiglobalization movement" but in France they talk about "altermondialisation." We might call this counterglobalization; not a refusal of the global but a different path.
Counter- is thus a synonym for alter-
See also: Counterproductive Industries
See also: Sit-ins