April 2022 Upcoming Issue of Natural Awakenings Charlotte
APRIL 2022 SUSTAINABLE LIVING ISSUE
Feature: Why We Need Wild Places
Byline: Sheryl DeVore
As the world reels from a pandemic whose root cause was probably wild habitat destruction, it’s more critical than ever that we invite nature back into our lives and landscapes. Strategies can include saving and rewilding natural settings in parks and prairies, fighting for open spaces in our neighborhoods, visiting national parks and other wild environments to cultivate love of nature in our children, and turning our lawns into natural landscapes by replacing invasive species with native ones and eschewing pesticides and herbicides.
Green Living: Technology Meets Nature: Apps Bring Us Closer to Flora and Fauna
Byline: Sheryl DeVore
Smartphones don’t have to be a mindless distraction; instead, with the aid of an app when out in nature, we can quickly identify mushrooms, bugs, birds, dragonflies, beetles, reptiles, wildflowers and other flora and fauna. Among the more than 6,000 available apps are many that allow a user to photograph and post a finding, to ask questions about what they’re seeing, to suggest an identity and to interact with scientists to share their findings, which can help in researching migratory patterns. Some cities hold nature challenges using the app iNaturalist in which beginning and advanced naturalists document urban flora and fauna for several days.
Healing Ways: Buzz-Free Drinking: The Healthy Rise of Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Byline: Ronica O’Hara
The sober-inclined are no longer stuck at gatherings nursing a seltzer while dodging questions from skeptical imbibers. Today they can sip from a vast array of sophisticated beverages—from faux vodka in exotic crafted drinks to prize-winning sparkling wines to low- and no-alcohol craft beer. It’s part of the “sober-curious” movement in which people are taking short or long breaks from drinking to prioritize health over a brief high. The industry has responded quickly, and no-booze options can be easily ordered at restaurants, picked up at supermarkets or delivered at home with a few online clicks. On the home front, people are making their own concoctions, often with natural and herbal ingredients such as pears, tomatoes, cilantro and spices.
Fit Body: Spirited Strides: Power Walk to Better Fitness
Byline: Marlaina Donato
Power walking—taking longer strides and using the arms to propel motion—amps up cardiovascular benefits and takes metabolic conditioning to another level. It efficiently lowers blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar and cholesterol numbers. Experts advise being mindful of posture, taking shorter rather than longer strides, and changing surfaces (such as running tracks, treadmills, dirt trails, sidewalks) to prevent overuse injuries. Some athletes take it up a notch with competitive racewalking, which gives working out a goal. The proper gear, especially shoes, are also key.
Healthy Kids: Nature Speaks: Storytelling Connects Kids to the Natural World
Byline: Carrie Jackson
Kids are natural storytellers, and one of the best ways to develop a love of nature in them is to weave storytelling into their programs involving outdoor experiences. The characters of their stories can be the plants, animals and rocks around them, which when seen through new eyes can become dragons or monkey bars. Watching squirrels can involve spinning stories about their habitats and families. Puppets can be used to build stories about owls and trees, converting the giant concept of deforestation into a manageable scale. Parents might encourage their children to focus on perhaps a tree, observing it and making up stories about what lives there and what happens at night.
Wise Words: Brian Sauder on Faith-Based Grassroots Change
Byline: Sandra Yeyati
The Mennonite minister and executive director of the Chicago nonprofit Faith in Place discusses how religious groups and people of faith have historically worked to bring environmental justice to such issues as toxic waste in poor neighborhoods and access to healthy food. Faith in Place works with communities on projects that local people choose to organize around, such as establishing a community-supported agriculture farm, dealing with lead pipes, addressing youth unemployment and fighting climate change. “Our spirituality calls us to remember how connected we are,” he says.
Conscious Eating: Eating for the Planet: Diet for a Climate Crisis
Byline: Sheila Julson
What we put on our plates influences the health of the environment. Animal agriculture in particular, with 31 billion animals farmed globally each year, contributes heavily to climate change through contamination of water and soil and deforestation. On a personal level, we can move to a less harmful diet by swapping out meat and dairy products for plant-based options and eating food close to its original state. We can also lower food waste by careful shopping and by working with others in the community to redistribute leftover food from farms, grocery stores and caterers.
Natural Pet: Pest Control: Keeping Dogs Safe from Ticks and Fleas
Byline: Karen Shaw Becker
When dogs encounter a tick or flea, typically their immune systems swing into action and fight off the effects. Many veterinarians will recommend chemicals as a preventive measure, but natural alternatives offer effective and non-toxic approaches. Improving a dog’s water quality and avoiding the use of household chemicals and pesticides help to keep its immunity strong. Natural homemade pest deterrents, diatomaceous earth and a fresh-food diet can bolster a dog’s immunity against ticks, as well as doing daily tick inspections of its body in high-tick areas. If chemicals are used around the home, it’s best to rotate them with natural preventives and to detox a dog’s liver afterwards with supplements like milk thistle and chlorella.
Inspiration: Spring is a State of Mind
Byline: Marlaina Donato
Spring is a time for fresh beginnings. As April puts on a new playlist of birdsong and our gardens remind us how to grow one inch at a time, we can make a point to wear that colorful shirt, begin the first chapter of a long overdue memoir or decide that we are deserving to fall madly in love. It’s the time of year to put fresh flowers on the desk, walk barefoot after the rain or simply try on a new perspective.
Eco Tip: Expiration Dates: When to Eat or Toss Food
Americans throw away 40 percent of the food supply every year, but we can do our part to avoid this practice by getting clear on what expiration-date labels really mean; by relying on an item’s look, smell and taste to make a decision; and by buying only what we will consume and eating everything on our plates.
Earth Day Brief: Invest in Our Planet: Earth Day 2022 Focuses on Collective Responsibility
As 1 billion people around the globe gather to mark Earth Day on April 22, they will be focusing on an increasingly critical goal: the need of everyone—government, citizens and businesses—to do their part to combat climate change. “Everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable,” is the day’s emerging motto.