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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

We Are What We've Been Waiting For

Oct 11, 2010 07:41AM ● By Sharon Bruckman

It seems that I can’t take a beach walk or swim in the Gulf with the same light-hearted spirit I did before this summer’s oil spill disaster. Even though oil slicks and tar balls never hit our local shores, the costly losses to this vital marine environment will ripple on for decades.

At the same time, we were battling sweltering heat. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration confirms that this past decade was the warmest on record worldwide, while Southwest Florida saw its hottest summer ever. Climate scientists generally agree that our dependence on burning fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases, is accelerating long-term changes in Earth’s climate and has the potential to change life as we know it.

As I wiped the sweat from my brow, I realized that changing my light bulbs and the other little things I do, while helpful, aren’t enough to make the difference we urgently need. Bill McKibben (on this month’s cover) says that we must accelerate grassroots demand for a switch to sustainable strategies and has been doing just that with his Global Work Party events in communities around the world. He explains how we can each “Be a Climate Hero,” on page 36.

Science clearly delineates the impetus for immediate action: “Any value for carbon in the atmosphere greater than 350 parts per million (ppm) is not compatible with the planet on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth has adapted.” Right now, our atmosphere is at 392 ppm carbon dioxide. We must work to change this. When you read McKibben’s take on the situation, you’ll want to do your part, starting with Southwest Florida’s own U Gotta Go Green Eco-Extravaganza on 10/10/10 at The Mercato. It’s part of what CNN has described as “…the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.”

Upping the ante on the actions we take for a workable planet can be a fun adventure. Thanks to the efforts of our local climate hero Marjorie Ziff-Levine, founder of U Gotta Go Green and thousands more participating in local community work projects around the world this month, you too, can party with a purpose. (See pages 40-45 for details.) Local climate solutions vary from simply recycling, planting trees, biking and ride-sharing to larger initiatives like installing solar panels and adopting green building practices.

For inspiration, we also take a look at some of the hotbeds of neighborhood activity underway in Transition Towns (page 34). Marjorie and I are committed to being catalysts for making Naples such a town. Will you join us? We can do it if we work together.

I’ve had fun this year gathering with others to implement sustainable solutions. I learned how to grow my own food with community garden members, joined inspiring conversations about creating a co-housing village (page 35) and was nourished at potluck movie nights discussing top eco-films like those on page 50.

We are what we’ve been waiting for. When you stop by the Natural Awakenings booth at the Eco-Extravaganza on Sunday, October 10, we’ll help you get plugged in. We’re having fun and there is nothing more important that you can be doing right now. It’s the eleventh hour, and together, we can do this.

Here’s to a light-hearted future with dolphins dancing in pristine Gulf waters,


Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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