April 2012 Publisher's Letter
Apr 01, 2012 01:08PM
My mother’s stories about growing up on the family farm among 10 siblings in the 1920s provide timeless lessons in sustainable living, although they didn’t call it that then. I’m happy to have electricity, running water and indoor commodes, but find the simplicity, self-reliance and lighter eco-footprint of those times appealing.
My grandparents would have had a near-perfect score on this month’s “Green Home Checklist,” (page 36). Food and water never went to waste, turning off lights and appliances wasn’t an issue, little was considered disposable and they grew up using nontoxic cleaners and natural building materials. I still remember the childhood joys of running through fragrant sun-dried sheets billowing in the breeze from the backyard clothesline.
I also loved collecting eggs from the chicken coop and laughed at myself trying to milk a cow. With access to farm animals, family garden produce, fruit trees and seasonal foods deftly preserved in the cellar, the family ate well all year. Chicken on Sunday meant one less chicken in the yard. The rooster’s “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” at daybreak served as our alarm clock.
Entertainment on summer days was sipping lemonade on the porch, telling stories and playing simple games. No cell phone ringtones or text message beeps intruded on our special times together.
Of course, the good old days had their share of hardships, including the Great Depression and World War II. Since then, technology has influenced nearly everything about our world, from family life, food production and work environments to healthcare and communications.
Plus, we treat so much of life as disposable; wastefulness is considered convenient. The size of the carbon footprint of today’s American family runs to several times that of my grandparents. I wonder if my personal footprint might even exceed my forebears’ family of 12?
Because my fondest memories relate to the natural world, I yearned to make the conscious choices that would grant my children the same rights I enjoyed growing up: pure food, clean air and an environment in which they could grow up healthy. But the human species’ unnatural tendencies toward greed too often have dictated society’s ignorant choices, so that keeping one’s family safe from the harm of shortsighted policies has become increasingly difficult.
It’s easy to feel helpless or insignificant in light of the Herculean task of turning problems around. Fortunately, this month’s special Green Living edition is filled with inspiration and ideas. In these pages, we learn to “Create an Eco-Mind,” with Frances Moore Lappé and discover how-to steps at local Earth Day events. We explore the value of connecting with nature, courtesy of Naples wellness pro Janet Weisberg. You can also call for an appointment to get help in attaining a Green Business Certification like Natural Awakenings has.
Let’s make the truly good old days our future. Sustainable solutions are at hand if we all get on board now. It’s time to step it up for our kids and grandkids.
Happy Earth Day—every day!
Sharon Bruckman, Publisher