As you could probably guess from our cover, this issue is dedicated to our good friend and mother, Earth. When I saw the artwork by Nick Guftason, I thought it was just what we all need as a spring wake-up call full of vibrant new color, life, creatures and blossoming surroundings. This winter, I went on a daytrip to a butterfly sanctuary in western Massachusetts, and my picture here is from that special day. I was in heaven with countless winged friends fluttering all around in the indoor, warm, jungle-like setting. It was an early breath of spring, and now that nature is starting its rebirth outdoors here locally, I am equally giddy. I’m guessing you are singing the same tune!
Mother Earth really is so constant and supportive, providing everything we need to survive. But just like with our own mothers, who we may take for granted at times—trusting she will always be there, happily giving, loving and nourishing everyone without fail or complaint—well, it turns out Mother Earth needs our help. Our planet’s climate patterns are more pronounced these days. The swings from hot to cold and wet to dry are more extreme. Scientists worldwide confirm this.
The good news is that we are in more of a global conversation about pollution—the existing presence and/or the introduction of harmful or poisonous substances or items into the environment. This month as we celebrate Earth Day, it represents a key opportunity for the community and our nation to step up as a positive example for the whole planet. It’s refreshing to see many in the Capital Region on board and doing their part. We really are all in this together.
There’s never been a better time to declare energy independence and explore consumer options. This may sound incredible, but how about disconnecting your house from the electric utility? Have you ever considered this? Our feature story, “Power Switch: Taking a Home Off the Grid,” by Jim Motavalli, helps with intriguing suggestions and thoughts to consider. Additionally, throughout this edition, you will find many great tips for reducing your carbon footprint overall and more ways of lightening your impact on the planet.
It will soon be time to dig our hands into the earth, and I don’t know if you already have your garden mapped out in your mind or on paper like I do, but our Green Living department this month offers great insight into eco-friendly yard and garden options to round out your plans. Plus, springtime is when I joyfully resume my outdoor exercise – I’ll see you on the trail! Reading about the benefits of trekking in the woods, both in terms of health and happiness, is a welcome read this month (see page 22).
More than ever, this issue strives to provide meaningful ways to inspire us all to take care of ourselves and our own little corner of the planet. Looking for more ways to learn and get involved? Check out the many Earth Day events coming up in our region throughout the community calendar (starting on page 29).
I’m wishing you a spring that renews not only the Earth, but your mind, body and soul. A sense of wonder swirling around you, anticipating your willingness to take a break, ground and play!
Sunshine and Rainbows,
Carolyn Coogan, Publisher