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April 2014 Publisher Letter

Many Natural Awakenings readers share with me the urgent desire to heal the Earth and preserve a good quality of life now and for future generations. Yet the task can seem overwhelming. Despite our good intentions, few of us can completely overhaul our life, change our job, move to a new house and realize zero-impact lives. But if everyone will find one or two things to which they can truly commit, and then one more, and another and so on, it will make a significant difference.

One of my personal commitments is to purchase and eat local and organic foods. For the past half century, large agribusiness has been a major factor in rampant environmental devastation across the country, while simultaneously contributing to Americans’ declining health. To keep good food affordable, I consciously plan meals, focus on seasonal produce and cook with a dash of creativity. Little goes to waste. You’ll find doable and affordable ideas for sustainable living in Crissy Trask’s feature article, “Live Green, Save Big.”

Every little bit of doing good adds up. Hearing the founder and executive director of Milwaukee-based Youthaiti, Gigi Pomerantz, speak recently reminded me just how much the actions of one person can change the world for the better. During a 2006 medical mission to Haiti, Pomerantz, a licensed nurse practitioner for Aurora UW Medical Group, discovered the impact that poor sanitation and lack of clean water have on the citizens of that country, where 85 percent of the rural residents have no access to sanitation facilities, and 70 percent lack ready access to potable water.

In 2008, Pomerantz founded Youthaiti, a U.S. nonprofit that works to improve ecological sanitation and develop sustainable agriculture in rural Haiti. With a staff of volunteers and a tiny budget, Youthaiti has set up numerous dry compost toilets and arborloos (shallow-pit latrines) for schools, homes and communities. Volunteers teach community members to use the waste as compost in combination with other methods of sustainable agriculture—a critical need in a country where 80 percent of the food is imported and the land is almost completely deforested. Learn more about this life-giving activism at and by reading the story we ran in July 2011 ( It’s just one example of essential initiatives underway around the world to salvage a decent quality of life for humanity.

In celebration of our resilient Earth,

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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