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Letter from Publisher

This month’s issue of Natural Awakenings celebrates compassionate activists near and far that are working together to bring about positive change on Earth. From ethical politics and sustainable economics to environmental integrity and personal well-being, the efforts of individuals and small collaborative groups around the world are truly creating a difference.

When my friend Dave and I were discussing this month’s topic, he pointed out the irony of our need for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to define and enforce the guidelines for the certification of organic products. “Why do we need to certify food that is grown the way nature intended?” he queried. “Instead, how about pushing for the labeling of the manufactured substances we eat as USDA non-organic, genetically modified and chemically infused,” he reasoned. We had a good laugh, but the point remains valid.

Last year, Natural Awakenings published the article “James Gormley Takes on the FDA: Why the Natural Health Movement Must Protect Itself.” This month we interview E.G. Vallianatos, who worked for the Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. During that time, he learned how that agency was increasingly failing to protect citizens due to corruption, lack of enforcement, skewed scientific data and overall mismanagement. While we would expect to be able to count on government agencies to act in the public’s best interest, it is becoming clear that it’s up to individuals like us to take a stand in ensuring access to healthy communities and creating the healthy world we desire for ourselves and future generations. People are stepping up everywhere, and I am excited to introduce you to two new businesses here in Milwaukee that are committed to making the world a better place.

I am a Force4Good, opening in Cedarburg at the end of October, buys products handmade by women and children in developing countries, paying them a fair wage that enables them to live a better life. Company donations also help homeless women and children that are victims of domestic violence in our own country. Learn more about this remarkable business at IAmAForce4Good.net.

Yellow Wood, which recently opened in Whitefish Bay, specializes in outdoor gear produced by small companies committed to ethical labor and responsible environmental practices. Co-founders Moshe Katz and Marty Stilling are dedicated to not only bringing environmentally and socially sound camping and hiking goods to our area, but also fostering partnerships with nonprofit organizations and engaging the community. Read more about this exciting new venture in our Community Spotlight.

Each of us can make a difference that starts in our community and ripples out to improve our world by resolving to make increasingly conscious choices starting today, whether that means committing to buy from local businesses or learning how and where our consumer goods are made. In addition, all the small daily actions we take can add up to a better life all the way around. This issue of Natural Awakenings offers numerous ideas for each of us to take little steps toward big changes for a good future.

To working together,

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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