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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Letter From Publisher

Traveling the I-95 northeast corridor is a challenge any day, but we’re still spoiled compared to arduous drives my family made in the 1960s. It took clever planning and thorough preparation to drive anywhere more than an hour away. Cars broke down and tires were unreliable.

Because our New Jersey parents liked to travel and our extended family lived in New England and Virginia, my two sisters and I toured the East Coast from the backseat of the family’s Plymouth station wagon from an early age. I clearly remember how all of us crammed together next to suitcases, food rations and seasonal gear. Add in our family dog and and off we’d go. It instilled a wanderlust in me to see more of America and the world. The endless sights and surprises influenced each of us in different ways.

I still love traveling. My current car features a reliable modern internal combustion engine and rides beautifully. It is my home away from home and gets me to places far away in a hurry. I feel safe driving out on the open road. A vehicle for work and play, it is an important part of my life, so I strive to maintain it with loving care to ensure the horsepower is raring to go when I need it.

At the same time, I am aware of the unholy impact my vehicle has on our precious environment. This personal indulgence sets a poor example even as I work to clean up and make the rest of my life more sustainable. I suspect it’s a dichotomy we all struggle with daily to one degree or another. We see driving as contributing to our quality of life even as it beats up the Earth’s fragile protective atmosphere with tons of greenhouse gas emissions and consumes limited resources from cradle to grave.

We find it tough to part from the traditional sense of freedom and independence that automobiles promise even while it chains us to oil company agendas and requires unnatural landscapes of impervious concrete and asphalt that desecrate former farmlands. A humongous “payment coming due” subsidizes our joy rides. With a crumbling infrastructure and roads desperately in need of replacing the question is clearer than ever: Is the way we are doing things now at all sustainable? Architects, designers, engineers and citizens are beginning to find creative, practical ways to make our existing cities and suburbs more eco-friendly and healthful. The good news is that Americans are becoming aware and acting to reverse their contributions to the problems as demonstrated in the growth of “green neighborhoods” throughout our region and beyond. Christine MacDonald’s feature article, “Sustainable Cityscapes,” celebrates how urban areas are becoming eco-smart and happier places to live in (page 16).

Plus, when we make decisions that both enhance our lives and heal our planet, we feel good knowing we are doing our best to leave a healthier and happier world for our children.

Keep it green,

Don Moore, Publisher