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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

Letter From the Publisher: Last year I set some goals in honor of Earth Day 2016, and I am happy to report that I’ve accomplished most of them.

Last year I set some goals in honor of Earth Day 2016, and I am happy to report that I’ve accomplished most of them. I have yet to purchase a more earth -friendly vehicle, but my home is now powered by wind, and the compost we’ve created over this past year nurtures the foliage in our yard.

I have also been inspired by the concepts highlighted in “Native Plants for a Healthy Yard and a Healthy World!” on page XX. Traditional green turf takes its toll when you consider the water and chemicals needed to maintain it. And introducing exotic or alien plants can be disastrous to a local ecosystem. Instead, we could plant food, herbs, bee-friendly flowers, or bird-friendly shrubs in that space, keeping it equally attractive and we would likely enjoy it more.

I’ve also amped up my reusables when and wherever possible and I try to make purchasing decisions that are in alignment with my philosophy in order to vote with my dollar. But even the most well-intentioned environmentalists are occasionally guilty of forgetting their reusable water bottles or bags. Making matters worse, living sustainably is not always socially acceptable. The look of ridicule I get when I offer my own take out container at a restaurant, for example, says it all. What if there were economic disincentives or even mandates that would limit or restrict the use of packaging, pollution, chemicals, etc.? Would one then get the look of shame for NOT being “Green”?

Let’s face it, systemic economic forces are deeply entrenched in our culture and they perpetuate instant, disposable consumerism as an ideology.  The dream of a cleaner, greener world seems insurmountable under these conditions. I’m no economist, but it’s obvious that many decisions rooted in short-term economic or consumptive gains have the potential for disastrous long-term effects. The recent approval of a gas pipeline through our preserved and “protected” pinelands is a good example. Which reminds me to highlight another feature this month on The Pine Barrens film. I can’t wait to see the pre-release at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival. Read more about the making of the film as a labor of love for David Scott Kessler.

So this year as I continue to make responsible daily choices, I also plan to be more involved with organizations that have the ability to influence legislation. We currently fall far short of what our earth and its inhabitants are crying out for. I hope you’ll join me!

Michelle Vacanti


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