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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Environmentally Speaking

While more hurricanes such as Harvey in 2017, Florence in 2018 and Dorian in September continue stalling in coastal areas and dumping large amounts of rain, climate experts study the trend to determine if there is a link between stalling hurricanes and climate change. Although the trend fits with some changes to large-scale hemispheric weather patterns, proving a direct link requires studying many more intense hurricanes over many more years. 

SWFL Conservancy Climate Change Project

Waiting many years for study results before taking action isn’t the inclination of organizations such as the SWFL Pachamama Alliance (PASWFL) and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, which recently hired Ana Puszkin-Chevlin, Ph.D., to serve as senior regional program coordinator for the Climate Change Project. Formerly the sustainability officer for Delray Beach, Florida, this champion of climate change resilience will provide leadership and build innovative partnerships for developing, launching and acting on a large-scale, comprehensive climate and sustainability program for Southwest Florida.

A Caloosahatchee River Bill of Rights

Rights of Nature, a growing international movement, has at its core the restoration of community rights. “This means that ‘we the people’ are making decisions about what is best for our communities,” says Fort Myers resident Joe Bonasia. A member of SWFLPA, Bonasia is helping Clean Water Now educate the public about their ability to make effective changes to laws that would give the Caloosahatchee River rights to pure and unpolluted water. “Without commissioner approval, approximately 40,000 signatures can automatically put this on the ballot for voters to decide on,” says Bonasia, who is conducting talks in Lee County.; 

Fridays for Future

Fifteen-year old student Carolina Hernandez, a Fridays for Future Naples organizer, advises that her parents tell stories of how they used to play in nature that no longer exists due to development, and how they swam in rivers that are too polluted and shallow for her to experience. “Scientific studies cited in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report prove the climate crisis is worsening. The report indicates we have about a decade to turn around climate change effects. In the future, this means that I might be telling stories to my children about places they’ll never see. I want them to know that I considered climate change a real and serious threat, did my best and took action,” says Hernandez.

The goal of Fridays for Future is to for countries and cities to declare a climate emergency and to follow IPCC report options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place.;

Citizens Climate Lobby

Solemi Hernandez, Southeast regional coordinator for Citizens Climate Lobby, is helping with Fridays for Future gatherings and working to help get enough support in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the H.R. 763 Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. This bill imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. “Individuals can use to identify their representative and write a letter asking them to support the bill,” says the Naples resident. 


PASWFL Game Changers meet the first Thursday of the month at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, located at 13411 Shire Lane, in Fort Myers. The October 4 meeting features Janet Weisberg, Ph.D., presenting on the Natural Systems Thinking Process, a learning tool to help remap an individual’s way of thinking so that they may understand their connectedness to nature and experience its healing powers. The process allows individuals to reawaken their 54 senses and tune into nature’s powerful regenerative systems.

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