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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

July 2011 Publisher Letter

Jul 01, 2011 08:21AM

Not so long ago, I was enjoying a neighborly chat and cup of tea on my front porch when my friend and I began fantasizing about how wonderful it would be to live in an Earth-friendly place that made connecting and sharing resources easy. Through the years, I’ve visited several cohousing and intentional communities where the groups cooperate in creating lifestyles that reflect their core values; we agreed that the pickings here are slim. Then, I had an inspired idea.

Why not bring folks together right here in our own Naples Park neighborhood to set up systems to support our want-it-to-be-so list? We can invite like-minded folks to join in potlucks and dialogue about specific ways in which we can all live more mindfully and effectively share our talents and resources.

I had already been enlisting help for my backyard organic garden beds. My friend is passionate about establishing regular group meditations in the neighborhood. He is also intrigued by the idea of setting up a ride share program for longer trips, in order to lighten his carbon footprint.

We envisioned young families swapping natural child rearing ideas and babysitting hours. How about emergency teams to check on neighbors when hurricane watches are posted? We also thought about ways to share tools, books and films about healthy living and ecological topics.

Our research for this month’s main feature, “Sharing Our World,” led us to writers Neal Gorenflo and Jeremy Adam Smith and the Web’s largest collection of how-to-share articles at their site, It’s a movement sweeping neighborhoods and communities around the country.

People are realizing that the best solutions to our world’s biggest challenges aren’t likely to come from centralized political and financial institutions that are caught up in their own agendas, but from ordinary people working together in creative ways to effect change in their local communities. Janelle Orsi, co-author of The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community, outlines the four degrees of sharing.

By the time we finished our second cup of herbal tea, I had pages of notes and a well-stoked enthusiasm for this new, enlightened view of our neighborhood. We two continue to hold the vision and, as with most great visions, we need others’ hearts and hands to join in. If you live in Naples Park and want to collaborate—a neighborhood Community Garden is well underway—email me at [email protected]. Or, start an initiative in your own neighborhood.

Simplifying our lives and making the changes needed to create a sustainable world that works for all will take extraordinary vision and lots of work, but it can provide rewarding fun, too. We’ll get to know our neighbors better and enjoy the benefits of enriched lives. I bet that we’ll also sleep easier at night, knowing the next generations will be able to breathe pure air and take a swim on a hot summer day in clean water.

Here’s to Fourth of July eco-picnics and the freedom to live on a shared, sustainable planet.

Happy Summering,



 Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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