Green Community Change Agent: UGottaGoGreen with Marjorie Ziff-Levine
Oct 11, 2010 07:41AM
By Lee Walker
In 2009, an Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposium reignited Marjorie Ziff-Levine’s passion for environmental activism. The four-hour program, intended to inspire individuals to take action supporting an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on Earth, achieved its mission. Ziff-Levine left the gathering filled with a need to contribute to the community by engaging in an activity that could promote sustainability. Enthused about the prospect of becoming a “change agent,” the founder of U Gotta Go Green signed up for Awakening the Dreamer facilitator training and headed to California two weeks later. Today, she periodically offers symposiums in Naples, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers.
Involvement with the symposium helped Ziff-Levine clarify her own mission: to help others make connections and identify resources that nurture local, sustainable initiatives. To move her mission forward, she created UGottaGoGreen.com, a local eco-networking, information web portal and green business directory, to make it easy and simple for anyone to find and connect with green and sustainable businesses, products, goods, services and activities. “It also provides ways for individuals and groups to interface and work together for common sustainability goals,” says the newest member of the Happehatchee Center’s board of directors. “Sustainability really is everything my tagline—‘It’s hip, it’s hot, it’s happening, and it helps’—says it is,” advises this activist, who has been involved in Earth Day, Hands Across the Sand and various 350.org Climate Action initiatives.
As momentum builds around Ziff-Levine’s efforts, she continues to invest many of her waking hours in connecting the green dots. An eco-business consulting practice provides her with opportunities to offer assistance to small area businesses that are interested in becoming more green. She volunteers her time to a group of Florida Gulf Coast University students interested in sustainable business and sits on the county and city Energy Task Force committees.
Stepping into the large shoes left behind by Dianne Rhodes, who piloted last year’s 350.org event at Fleischmann Park, in Naples, Ziff-Levine is one of the primary organizers of the 10/10/10 U Gotta Go Green Eco-Extravaganza at The Mercato, in Naples, on October 10. The event is part of author and activist Bill McKibben’s 350.org grassroots environmental campaign, a citizen action plan designed to send a strong political message to our government and corporate leaders, imploring them to “get to work” for environmental sustainability.
Ziff-Levine says she is certain of one thing: if everyone doesn’t get involved and demonstrate their commitment to cleaning up and preserving the environment and our natural resources, pristine places like Naples won’t exist in the future. “I wholeheartedly agree with Julia Butterfly, a young eco-activist who appears in Awakening the Dreamer,” says Ziff-Levine. “She says, ‘If hope is committed in action, then there is truly hope for the world.’ My hope is committed in the actions I perform, because I do have hope for the world!”