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This Month's Local Features
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Letter From the Publisher, Maureen Hart Cary
Rhode Island comes to a full life in the summer with many fun outdoor activities and events. Spring/Summer encourages us to get out and about to enjoy all our community has to offer. With concerts, miles of bike and hiking trails and 40 farmers’ markets around the state and throughout the week, we can celebrate everyday in healthy, family-friendly pursuits.
Bill and I really enjoy travel and one of our favorite parts is the appreciation of how many people and cultures there really are in the world. People live in areas and communities that are nothing like ours. We can get so used to seeing the towns we live in every day that they can become the “norm” and we can easily forget there is so much more out there. Travel allows us a glimpse into different cultures, neighborhoods and some of the many different environments in which people live not to mention the views they hold.
Thinking about different people’s worlds and what makes them wonderful, this month’s feature article, “Livable Communities We Love,” John D. Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist measure livability as the sum of positive factors that add up to a community’s quality of life and well-being. Turn to page 26 to discover the details.
Something else that impacts our views of the world and our general contentment is our connections with others in our communities. According to one AARP study, more than 40 percent of American adults suffer from loneliness, a condition without demographic distinctions. Humans may not always get along, yet we can’t get enough of one another. “We evolved to depend on our social connections,” says Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general. “Over thousands of years, this got baked into our nervous systems—so much so that if we are feeling socially disconnected, that places us in a physiologic stress state.”
Wendy Fachon tells us about good things that are happening right here in Rhode Island on page 28. The Department of Health’s Health Equity Zone program has a mission to promote healthy communities for the good of all. They have partnered with the City of Central Falls Planning Department to develop safe access to roadways and to protect the environment while doing so.
However you slice it, humans are hardwired for community and connection. We need our tribes. Creating community can be as easy as inviting some friends to meet for a sunset or a spontaneous potluck dinner. The longer, slower days of summer are a great time for us all to raise our connection index!
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