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6 Modern Autumnal Equinox Traditions

Celestial cycles are inevitable constants that humankind can always count on to track the progress of the year. Although the Vernal (spring) Equinox tends to get more attention than the Autumnal (fall) Equinox, both are equally important in tracking the cycles of the Earth.

Historically, the Autumnal Equinox was used as a way to give thanks for the summer months and all that came with them. It was also a time during which ancient peoples welcomed the coming darker months and prepared for, the larger fall festival, Samhain. During the equinox—September 22 this year—day and night are of equal length.

Most modern cultures say goodbye to summer with the beginning of school, or by celebrating Labor Day, but you can honor the equinox by adapting ancient traditions to suit your modern life. In fact, many of our fall festivities already draw inspiration from pagan traditions.

fall food in wooden basket
Photo by Fotolia/maglara.

Modern Traditions to Honor the Autumnal Equinox

Begin a gratitude practice. Gratitude has been shown to boost mood, improve sleep and even support immune health. Since the Autumnal Equinox is a time of thanks, consider beginning your own gratitude practice to honor the season and improve your overall health. Begin by making a short list of the things you’re thankful for on this day, and set an intention to make it a daily ritual.

Visit an apple orchard. Apples are one of many foods associated with the autumnal equinox and a symbol of wisdom. Whether you take your family apple picking or to the cider mill, this tradition is fun for all ages.

Plant something. Plant seeds for trees, shrubs or bulb plants, such as tulips or irises, to enjoy their beauty in spring. With the darkness of winter, seeds and bulbs will have plenty of time to germinate and take root.

Admire and preserve nature. As the weather begins to cool, enjoy time outdoors to admire the beauty of nature. Collect acorns, leaves and other natural elements to create home décor. If you’re not able, or don’t wish, to remove items, bring a trash bag and help keep local, natural havens free from litter.

Try fall cleaning—as opposed to spring cleaning. Indoor air can be far more polluted than outdoor air, which can lead to numerous health issues. Since we spend much more time indoors during fall and winter, make sure your home is ready for all your indoor activities. Choose non-toxic cleaning products to further reduce the number of pollutants.

Host a block party. Agricultural and rural societies understood the importance of building relationships with their neighboring communities and within their own community. In most modern cities, we’re lucky to even know our neighbors’ names. This year, start your own neighborhood tradition with a block party and get to know your immediate community. (You don’t have to announce that it’s an equinox celebration.) It’s also a perfect opportunity to serve up seasonal dishes featuring squash, apples and nuts, and sharing your favorite local wine.

Although the Autumnal Equinox is primarily associated with pagan mythology and modern pagan practices, you don’t have to be pagan to honor this tradition. You may have been celebrating all along, without even realizing it.

Your Guide to Purchasing Green Electronics


Photo courtesy socialmonsters.org

In order to fully embrace a green and sustainable lifestyle as a consumer, it's important to support green companies and manufacturers that maintain environmental well-being as a top priority. Electronics manufactures are especially likely to emit excess amounts of greenhouse gases, use hazardous materials to make their products and dismiss the global shift towards green operation, production and distribution. Keep reading to find your guide to assess a manufacturer's commitment to conservation and what companies you should be supporting to live a eco-friendly lifestyle.

What Makes a Manufacturer Green?

There are many factors that make an electronic manufacturer "green" and sustainable. According to Greenpeace, a company must focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan. This means removing hazardous substances from their products' manufacturing process, establishing recycling programs that responsibly collect and dispose of their products, and discontinuing the use of unsustainable materials in products or packaging. In 2012, Greenpeace took the next step and ranked companies based on these guidelines.

Which Gadget Manufacturers to Support?

So how do electronic companies rank? An Indian electronics company takes the number one slot, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 44% since 2008. HP is the runner-up, leading the way in sustainable operations and offering an excellent e-waste recycling program in which they receive 60% of recyclables back from their consumers. Coming in third is Nokia meeting energy criteria with 40% of their energy coming from renewable sources. Nokia also promotes sustainability with their comprehensive, voluntary take-back program, which provides 6,000 collection points in 100 different countries for recycling of old cell phones. If you want to buy a laptop from a green company, consider Acer, which ranked number 4 on Greenpeace's list. Acer aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 60% before 2020, even reaching out to first tier suppliers and asking them to adopt a more aggressive strategy for greenhouse gas reduction as well as provide proof of their plan's implementation. Coming in at number 5, Dell does an excellent job disclosing externally verified greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations as well as aiming to reduce absolute emissions of greenhouse gases by 40% before 2015. Apple takes the number 6 slot. So if you like Apple products, you can purchase an iPad or Apple Watch with a clean conscience knowing that they not only meet, but exceed the EPA's strict Energy Star guidelines for efficiency. Where Apple loses points is their lack of transparency regarding greenhouse gas emission reports and toxic chemical management.

How to Dispose of Your Gadgets

Unlike traditional waste, electronics should not be tossed into the waste bin. Instead, gadgets should always get recycled through a trusted and reliable source. Green electronics companies usually promote recycling of their products by having a drop-off location or offering free postage to send a product back to them. Another option is to reach out to your respective county for verified drop-off locations for e-waste where they will quickly and conveniently recycle your gadgets. For bigger electronics, look into free e-waste pick-up that comes directly to your home or office.


Destined to be an Armenian housewife perfecting her hummus recipe, Natalie Posdaljian instead chose a life of marine field biology and sriracha. Born and raised in southern California, her veins rush with salty seawater and sunshine no matter where she goes. When she's not saving jellyfish from extinction, Natalie is dancing in the shower, knitting on a plane or swinging in her hammock.

The Dangers of PFCs in Outdoor Gear

When you’re on the journey of greening your life, it seems simple enough to trade in Comet for baking soda and vinegar, or to choose essential oil blends instead of strong-smelling air fresheners and perfumes. But toxins can crop up in unexpected places, not just in household cleaning or personal care products. In order to help you shop smarter, we’ve been looking into popular brands—from infant care to outdoor gear—to see how safe they are for our families and environment.

girl on mountain in cool weather
Photo by Fotolia/frantic01010.

In January 2016, Greenpeace tested 40 outdoor gear brands, including The North Face, Mammut and Columbia, for hazardous chemicals in conjunction with their Detox Fashion campaign. Surprisingly, only four items were free from per- and polyflourinated chemicals (PFCs). Not only were these chemicals found in the jackets, pants and footwear from the tested brands, it was also present in tents, sleeping bags and other necessary gear. For the full report, visit Greenpeace.

The Problem with PFCs

Although I’ve probably heard of PFCs from news sources, I didn’t really know what they were. These compounds are used to make products stain-, grease- or water-resistant. Armed with that knowledge, it’s no wonder they’re found in many outdoor gear brands that are, if nothing else, usually water-resistant.

Unfortunately, PFCs don’t break down well in nature which means they quickly contaminate water and food sources. Recent testing from Greenpeace Germany found that these chemicals can also enter the environment through the air, which may be why traces have been found in mountain lakes and remote locations throughout Europe. Once ingested, PFCs take several years to leave the human body, as well, regardless of lifestyle factors.

PFCs have been the subject of research for decades. Employee health surveys from DuPont and 3M show that exposure leads to serious health concerns for adults, such as increased risk of cancers, hormone disruption, birth defects and more. Even more concerning is that high levels of PFOA (a long-chain PFC) in children has been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity and suppressed immune function.

How to Avoid PFCs and Other Hazardous Chemicals

Since clothing manufacturers don’t often list their “ingredients” like food, cleaning and beauty products do, it can seem impossible to steer clear of dangerous toxins when choosing your next backpack or puffy jacket.

Do your research. The #DetoxCatwalk, from Greenpeace, is a great place to start learning more about the companies that are leading the way to toxic-free fashion. For information on outdoor brands only, visit Detox Outdoor.

Read labels, even though every fiber may not be listed, this can tell you where garments were made and which materials the item is primarily comprised of.

Choose organic materials. Organically-produced products, such as cotton and hemp, don’t use pesticides in their production, and some items may be made from renewable resources like bamboo. When shopping for outdoor clothing, wool is always a great option; it’s flame-resistant, very durable and warm.

Visit their website. If you’re shopping for a new tent, pair of hiking boots or climbing rope, hit up the company’s website to see if they have any information about their manufacturing process. Read their mission and values, and if you’re lucky they might even have information about their environmental goals and social responsibility available.

Ibis Bay: An Eco-Friendly Resort


Image courtesy Ibis Bay Resort

At home, we commit ourselves to pure living. We use natural products, recycle, and work to conserve energy. Why should things be any different when we travel?

Ibis Bay Resort, a Key West resort built in 1956, has recently been restored to its former, retro glory. The hidden waterfront gem allows guests to experience the true “old Florida” feel that visitors search for when vacationing on the island. Its resurrection was a far better alternative than bulldozing the property, only to waste materials on building another hotel. Salvaged bikes, an old boat front desk and other age old décor are a few second life character pieces around Ibis.

Blending with Nature

Ibis Bay’s colors and design mesh flawlessly into the tropical back drop of the Keys. Centrally located between the coral walled buildings resides a spacious turtle sanctuary for two large rescued turtles, and a tiny one who has recently been accepted by its new family. You’ll also find friendly, very talkative parrots around the property, some of whom have also been rescued from dire situations and now live their lives in paradise, being loved by the employees and guests. Even the friendly nurse sharks that swim near the dock of The Stoned Crab, the resort’s restaurant, are fed unused food scraps, preventing waste.

Keeping it Local

Three Hands Fish is Ibis Bay’s personal fish market that not only supplies The Stoned Crab, but many other seafood restaurants as well. Fisherman head out early in the morning and bring back fish that are professionally prepared, then served only hours after they are caught. The market works to keep things sustainable by fishing locally, informing customers about their food, and promoting the consumption of invasive fish. From the fisherman, to the filet master, to you: that’s the motto. Hence the name, Three Hands Fish.

 
Image courtesy Ibis Bay Resort

The Stoned Crab: Sustainably Delicious

Ibis’ popular restaurant is known for, you guessed it, stone crab. It’s the only 100% sustainable meat, since the crab gets to live. When the little guys are pulled up from the water, they get feisty, and during their struggle they will pop a claw out of socket. The fisherman then plucks one claw, leaving the other for defense, and releases him back into the ocean. No worries, because the claw will grow back! The American Heart Association deems stone crab as one of the healthiest meats available.

Chef Paul Menta has founded many successful food joints, including Key West favorite Cuban Coffee Queen , and is now sprinkling his magic fairy dust on The Stoned Crab.  Menta acknowledges the natural flavors already within the food, then skillfully adds fresh, local ingredients to enhance each dish.

Quite literally, we put on gloves and dug into a platter of the freshest stone crab, pink Key West shrimp and oysters I’ve ever had. A house smoked fish dip and ceviche with lobster also accompanied our glorious appetizer. Myself and another travel companion split the Key West Lobster Steamer, a combination of snow crab legs, shrimp, potatoes, corn and one large lobster garnished with key lime butter. Another in our party ordered the Fisherman’s Steamer with stone crab, snow crab, shrimp and the fresh, local catch of the day. The Crab Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with a side of spiraled potatoes are both appetizers, but were made a meal by our final travel buddy. Hands down, they serve fantastic seafood. I don’t think I’ll ever have better.

As if an on sight fish market was not enough, Menta distills his own rum and makes unbelievable drinks with fresh, local, organic ingredients.


Image courtesy Ibis Bay Resort

Exercise opportunities Everywhere

Ibis is equipped with the original salt water pool from the 1950’s that backs up to the restaurants bar, providing convenient access to one of Menta’s specialty rum drinks, served in a fresh coconut. Hammocks, palm trees and an array of eclectic lights give guests a “blast from the past” swimming experience. However, the huge screen that’s used for “dive in” movies is a more modern touch.

Bikes, a popular choice for transportation in Key West, are available for rent. But if you’ve worn yourself out swimming, motor bikes are an option too.

Possibly my most favorite thing at Ibis Bay is the night time kayak experience. Knowledgeable guides who’ve been educated in marine biology guided us out into the calm ocean in glass bottom, LED-lit kayaks. The experience is unique to the resort, and allows guests to see an abundance of sea life while learning more about the ocean’s ecosystem. It’s a peaceful yet calorie burning experience that is fun for almost anyone. Kayaking is safer for the reefs and animals than snorkeling, as swimming and kicking around these delicate life forms could kill them. As always, Ibis Bay works tirelessly to promote the preservation of the ocean.

Free Shuttle

Parking in downtown Key West is a nightmare, so the resort offers a complimentary shuttle to major stops. Not only is this convenient, but it reduces the amount of cars puttering around the town, which is great for the environment. The bus runs all day, making scheduled stops to and from Ibis Bay.

Experience it for Yourself

It’s easy to book a big name hotel and skip over the smaller establishments. But doing this could mean missing something truly magical. The character and eco-consciousness of this adorable resort blew me away, and I almost passed the opportunity by. Thankfully, a filthy hotel room at a “bigger” hotel landed us at Ibis Bay, and we had the experience of a lifetime.


Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.

Charity Spotlight: 826 National

826 National

Photo courtesy 826 National

This issue’s charity: 826 National

Why they’re crucial: According to the National Summer Learning Association, for every one line of print read by low-income children during the summer, middle-income children read three. 826 National, a network of writing and tutoring centers, is working to close that gap. Located in seven cities across the U.S., each 826 center provides individualized attention to the low-income youth involved in its programs. 826 centers also work with a dedicated team of volunteers to develop, host and run its core programs, which encourage a love of creativity, writing and learning. All programs are free of charge and aim to use the power of creativity and personalized academic support to transform a student’s relationship with writing.

In addition, the writing centers are each fronted by unique, themed stores (such as a magic shop in Washington, D.C., and a superhero supply store in Brooklyn) that generate revenue and interest from curious visitors.

What they do: 

• Run creative writing and tutoring centers in Boston; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Detroit/Ann Arbor; New York City; and San Francisco.
• Design and host creative writing workshops for low-income elementary, middle school and high school students.
• Partner local schools with professional writers and editors for the Young Authors' Book Project, a three- to four-month project guiding students through the writing, editing and publishing process.
• Create resources for educators and parents to encourage creativity in the classroom.

Did you know...

• 90% of white-collar workers and 80 percent of blue-collar workers say that writing is important to job success.
• 826 served more than 30,000 students during the 2014 to 2015 school year, and ran 208 in-school projects in 72 schools.
• 86 percent of 826’s after-school tutoring students say the writing centers have helped them become better writers.
• Students who cannot effectively communicate thoughts and ideas through writing are more likely to receive lower grades.

How we can help: Throughout the duration of this issue, we’re collecting donations to this important charity. To join our efforts, visit 826national.org/donate. Or mail donations directly to 826 National, 44 Gough St., Ste. 206, San Francisco, CA 94103. Include the fundraiser name, Mother Earth Living Gives Back, on the envelope or check, if you wish. It’s our goal to collect $2,500 for 826 National.

The Importance of Buying Quality Clothing

There’s a growing movement of in-betweeners. These are people who are old enough and responsible enough that they can’t stand to purchase bargain clothing that falls apart in a few washes. They’re also too fiscally responsible to spend the equivalent of a couple of car payments on a maxi dress.

I salute the in-betweeners, yet I don’t envy their struggle. Locating clothes that are affordable yet ethically made abroad, or even made by independent local designers, can be quite a challenge. However, the need for more sturdy affordable options is definitely growing.

window shopping hanging clothes rack
Photo courtesy StockSnap.

Not only does buying with the future in mind save you money in the long run, it’s also ethical, healthier for the planet, and safer for the people who live and work to create these items as well. Peter Dunn advises to aim to spend about 5 percent of your annual income on new, quality clothes. Follow these simple tips to make doing so much easier.

Look for high-quality fabrics and stitching. This boils down to buying fewer items that are higher quality. You can still buy clothes that look great, as well as wear and wash well within the same budget; you’re just going to have to purchase fewer of them. When your goal is long-term wear you need to be far-sighted in your choices.

If you’re uncertain what quality looks or feels like, visit an upscale store, even if you know their clothing is out of your price range, and spend some time examining the construction. How does the fabric look and feel? Gently tug on the seams to see how strong they are, and examine the number of stitches per inch (hint: more is definitely better). Take a look to see how well buttons and other appliqué designs have been added to the garments. Once you’re able to recognize quality when you see it, you’ll be able to make decisions about items within your budget.

Collect the classics. Items that can be worn in multiple seasons are considered “classics” or staple items, and tend not to follow flash-in-the-pan trends. If you really want to look on-trend (which is usually a recycled fad from a few decades ago anyways) hit up thrift stores and resale boutiques for stylish, well-made vintage clothing items and accessories.

Get it tailored. The better your clothes fit, the better they look on and the more likely you are to wear it. Factor custom alterations into your yearly budget and aim for purchasing new pieces that, if anything, are slightly larger so you can get them altered for a perfect fit.

Consider each purchase carefully. Clearly, if you slow down to consider quality, real cost, comfort, and style you’re going to end up making more wise decisions about many of the things you purchase. This method will force you to consider whether you actually need an item, and whether it is the best use of your money in the long run.

Becoming more mindful of your impulse buys and other spending habits (including how much you were really spending on disposable clothes) will help you change your perspective on the all of your finances.

You’re new, slower and less impulsive habits can even help you save money or pay off debts. Considering the true cost of items helps you make more informed decisions and set a realistic budget for clothing purchases.

Choose items that mix and match well. Look for pants that can go with a variety of shirts. Or shirts that can be accessorized easily to change the look. You don’t necessarily need a lot of clothing to keep your outfits looking fresh each day, just enough to let you get creative.

Look for repair-ability. Gauge how repairable the item will be if it becomes torn or damaged. Is it made from a material that is easy to fix yourself?

No longer can we ignore the power our purchases have to either campaign for change or contribute to the high cost of low prices. Our purchases have the power to either perpetuate the system of millions working for slave wages around the world, or reward ethical business practices, safe working conditions, and worker rights.

As a global community we can no longer afford to accumulate so much “stuff” that breaks beyond repair, falls apart at the seams, or finds itself threadbare after a single season. Even if an item is repairable, many of us are nervous to attempt such projects for fear of making a mistake.

The savvy shopper learns to focus on comfort, sustainability, durability, and options outside of the “disposable” culture. A culture where planned obsolescence creeps up in ever shortening lengths and the useful life of common household items is shrinking day by day.

As you tackle the stores in search of comfortable, high-value items, remember that a higher price tag doesn’t always mean that an item is high quality. Also keep in mind that you’re not buying more clothes, you’re buying fewer. You’re simply more discerning about your purchases and making smart decisions within a similar budget.

3 Eco-Friendly Hotels in Florida


Photo by Fotolia

Hotels are meccas for waste, over-consumption and pollution. Smaller, less extravagant choices can be more eco-friendly, but sometimes it’s nice to get a little extravagant. Luckily, big time hotels are taking responsibility, and are working to create clever ways to conserve. When I go on vacation, I dig to find places that protect the earth while ensuring a great time for my family. I’ve found three Florida locations that are luxurious and environmentally conscious.


Photo by Pam Tyson Yasinski

Edgewater Beach Hotel- Naples, Florida

Naples is a calm beach town located on the Gulf Coast and also hosts the high end, yet family friendly Edgewater Beach Hotel. Located right on the water, it consists of large, modern suites/apartments, two swimming pools, beachside service, extremely comfortable lounge chairs and beds (yes, beds on the beach), complimentary shuttle to shopping areas, mid-day milk and cookie bar, and an outstanding restaurant.

Provided hotel toiletries are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Rooms are immaculately cleaned every day with “green” products, while guests are lounging by the turquoise water. To conserve water, sheets are changed every three days and towels are only replenished if left on the floor. Water saving devices are installed throughout the hotel and energy-saving lighting is used.

Hotels and resorts accumulate mountains of trash, so Edgewater uses largely recycled and compostable products, such as coffee cups and paper print outs. Soy ink is used instead of toxic variations.  Recycling bins are located all over the property to make it easy for guests to recycle.

Coast, the hotel’s outstanding restaurant, serves three meals a day, with menus magnificently prepared by William (Bill) Zimmer. Zimmer is passionate about his work and strives to give each customer an incredible experience when dining. He insists on serving only the best local and organic ingredients, which further enhances the taste of each entrée.

Dinner options include an array grouper, red snapper, tri-colored carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cheeses, nuts and more incredible ingredients. Breakfast is just as elaborate, with options such as lobster benedict, omelets and seasonal fruit.

90% of Loggerhead Sea turtles nest in Florida, and Edgewater works with The City of Naples Sea Turtle Protection Program to make sure these little guys and their nests are protected. Guests are urged to follow the rules below:

• Turn off your lights at night- Beachfront hotel lights can confuse hatchings and direct them away from the ocean. Shut off porch lights and close your curtains at night.
• Do not disturb nests- Keep a safe distance from nests. Professionals typically mark these areas with yellow tape.
• Knock down sandcastles and fill in holes- After a day of play in the sun, flatten any structures that could block a turtle and fill in hazardous holes.
• Toss food- Scraps attract turtle predators, like raccoons. Raccoons will munch on a leftover bag of chips and on poor little turtle eggs too.
• Skip the fireworks- Go to a professionally organized show, because setting off a display near a nest could be harmful.
• Report incidents- If you see someone disturbing a nest (try to inform them of the danger first), or if you spot an injured turtle, contact the local wildlife association of that area.


Photo Courtesy Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

Margaritaville Beach Resort- Hollywood, Florida

Situated off of the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, the Margaritaville Beach Resort is a versatile, family friendly vacation spot loaded with fun activities. The hotel boasts three gorgeous pools, one being kid friendly, and another adults-only one on the 11th floor terrace. Of course, there is a Margaritaville restaurant, as well as a coffee shop, tiki bar, Landshark Bar and Grill, Floridays Airstream Café, JWB Prime Steak and Seafood, and a few other unique dining options. Rooms include comfortable beds with little parrots embroidered on the sheets, complimentary “paradise” water and spacious, spa- like bathrooms. The St. Somewhere Spa is the cherry on top of the casual-yet-luxurious resort, offering a full list of spa services and lounges.

Margaritaville is equipped with energy conserving features such as the automatic HVAC shut off in every guest room. When the room is vacant for an extended period, the air conditioning unit will shut itself off. No worries though, the room is still at a very comfortable temperature upon returning.  The fitness center has a similar feature. While empty, the lights will shut off. In a hotel the size of this one- 349 rooms and 17 stories to be exact- little things like this make an enormous impact.

JWB Prime Steak and Seafood was the final of the eight food and beverage concepts to be opened and is partially constructed with reclaimed materials. Ingredients such as fruit purees are used to create unique cocktails, and other local ingredients are incorporated into dishes. Perhaps the most unique thing about JWB is their Spear-Caught Fishing Program. Local fisherman catch fish by spearing, which is considered to be more sustainable and protects the ecological systems of Florida. Nets and lines can damage the delicate balance of the ocean. Consumers know where their fish came from, as well as the fisherman who caught it.

I was more impressed with the breakfast offerings at the resort than any other meal. While the coffee shop offers indulgent choices, the Margaritaville restaurant opens up for breakfast too, serving large fruit plates, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits and a variety of eggs. Room service is available throughout the day, offering organic veggies, salads and other healthy choices.


Photo by Pam Tyson Yasinski

Gullwing Beach Resort- Fort Myers Beach, Florida

Part of the SunStream Collection of Florida hotels, Gullwing is a condominium-style hotel that offers every amenity of home. Separated bedrooms, a full kitchen, laundry room, luxurious bathrooms with multiple showerheads, a large furnished porch and living room with flat screen television make the oceanfront location the perfect place for an extended beach stay. The area is calm and serene, situated a few miles away from the crowded parts of Fort Meyers. Grills are available for cooking up the day’s catch and a pool area with Squawk’s Snack Bar is great for the family. Sugary-white sand and an extended, flat beach provides plenty of space for activities.

Sunstream hotels are some of the 4,000 hotels involved with Clean the World, a non-profit organization that recycles unused, leftover soaps and sends them to developing countries and homeless shelters, where unsanitary conditions can lead to respiratory infections, cholera, pneumonia and other deadly illnesses. Clean the World sanitizes the recycled soap, and has shipped 25 million bars since 2009.

The hotel group is also a part of the Florida department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging Program, which praises and rewards hotels for being eco-friendly. Sunstream makes a strong recycling effort, making it easy for guests and employees to repurpose not only basic items like paper and glass, but batteries, ink cartridges, computer equipment and light bulbs as well. Since 2008, their recycling rate has increased by 68%.

Water conservancy, energy efficient appliances, green lighting and air quality improvement equipment are a few more contributions the group makes toward preserving the environment. Over the past eight years, they have seen a 32% electricity usage decrease.

Like Edgewater, Gullwing and Sunstream are protecting the turtles by following the guidelines of  Turtle Time, a non-profit organization that works to preserve Loggerhead turtles. The rules mirror those of the Naples Sea Turtle Protection Program. 

I am a strong believer in being good to earth, in all that I do. Finding eco-friendly vacation spots has been a recent recollection for me. By committing to supporting hotels that recycle, conserve energy and preserve wildlife, we are making a huge impact by preventing unfathomable amounts of waste and destruction. I’m certainly not perfect and have a long way to go, but I’m excited about my future adventures in “green” travel.


Karyn WoffordKaryn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.