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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Letter from Publisher: Shades of Green

Sharon and Shawn Bruckman

My niece Shawn recently visited sunny Florida from Vail, Colorado, for some beach and family time. She fell in love with the western mountains and moved there eight years ago after earning her degree in environmental policy from Michigan State University, committed to doing her part to keep God’s country as pristine as possible.

Today, she manages a compost operation and performs community outreach education on ways we can all reduce, reuse and recycle to lessen our corrosive impact on Mother Earth. We tease her about her passion for going through other people’s garbage.

While preparing a family dinner at my home, Shawn noticed that I wasn’t composting, and I apologetically said I needed to get a new compost system. Then she gently questioned an item I was putting into the recycling bin that I assumed was acceptable. She reminded me that when we bury food or organic waste in the landfill, it doesn’t break down, but creates methane more powerful than carbon dioxide. I clarified that the plastic water bottles in my pantry were left by a guest! I’m learning that no matter how green we think we are, we can always step up our game.

Shawn loves reading Natural Awakenings each month and is proud that her aunt is part of a nationwide team raising awareness of climate change and other environmental issues. She notes how disheartening it is to make gallant efforts upstream to reduce the impact downstream, only to discover the good is being undone by thoughtless industry and consumerism at the end. Shawn inspires me because she hasn’t given up hope.

Organizations like Earth Law ( inspire me, too. These people believe that just as we have human rights, nature, too, has fundamental rights that must be acknowledged. Each ecosystem has the right to exist, thrive and evolve—and nature should be able to defend its rights in court.

Earth Law argues that humans and nature are not at odds, but deeply connected and mutually dependent. A wise paradigm shift in law could be of huge help in ensuring our planet’s health. Lisa Marshall’s feature story “Healthy Climate, Healthy People”, reminds us that climate change doesn’t just affect Mother Earth, but our own health, as well.

We are encouraged that eco-activism is heating up in Southwest Florida. Enjoy our report on all the citizen-led efforts gaining momentum. To help you celebrate Earth Day this month, we are highlighting local events.

NPR recently reported that Generation Z has birthed a strong surge of activists. Let’s join these young leaders in making a commitment and taking steps to improve what we see that’s wrong in the world, starting now. Throughout this month’s issue, you’ll find plenty of ideas on how you can step up your green game.

To our beneficent Mother Earth,

Sharon Signature

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher