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Out of Time

Out of Time

When I was a kid, I fell in love with the band REM.  It was the album Out of Time that changed the way I thought about music and made me a fan of everything REM shared with the world before and after its release.

Though I was still a few years from being able to vote, I recall Out of Time came with some political punch, in addition to 11 of my favorite songs it included a petition to support the Motor Voter Act through the Rock the Vote campaign inside its cover.  The Act would eventually allow voter’s registration through the DMV, easing the path to civic engagement and encouraging young people to become more involved in their communities and country.

Last week, I spent time reflecting on this album Out of Time, the movement it started, and what it means to me.  As a mother, I worry a lot about time and the change I want to be and see in the world for my children.  I feel the finite minutes and hours quickly turn into years as I watch them grow and see the world around them change into the place they will live out their days.

On March 19, Sudan, the planet’s last male northern white rhino passed away.  His species evolved over millions of years and was destroyed by poachers in just a few short decades.  The northern white rhino, like so many species of plants and animals, is finite. With two females left, it is likely out of time in the wild and it is not alone.

Between loss of habitat, illegal wildlife trading and poaching, finning, pollution of all kinds, invasive species, loss of sea ice, and overfishing, the instances of species existing only in captivity and, in many cases, gone forever will only perpetuate. It is happening now and will surely expand in my children’s lifetime if something doesn’t change.  The impacts are not just on these unfortunate species.  The loss of any species has an impact on the planet and on all of us because we’re all connected.

Just like our time, there are many things we cherish that are finite around us. It hurts to think about what we could lose, and the resulting challenges future generations will face in their lifetime as a result.

As Earth Day approaches on April 22, I ask myself what will we learn from the loss of Sudan and what he symbolizes for our planet? It can be overwhelming, but the answer for our family is in what we can control and what we can do now to change the path we’re on.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is starting an Earth Day movement that aims to help Southwest Floridians take action of any size to restore, protect, and preserve the unique environment where we live.  Philanthropy comes in all shapes and sizes. I encourage you to do what you can to protect the environment that is home to many species and compels so many humans to want to be here.  That could mean reducing your own impacts, helping spread the word, or contributing to our Fund for the Environment of Southwest Florida that will power environmental projects and programs in our region.

No matter how big or small your effort, let’s start now, before we’re out of time. Let’s start a movement for the love of future generations, the planet, and Southwest Florida this Earth Day.  Please visit and take our poll.


The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. Currently, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are located off College Parkway in South Fort Myers, with satellite offices located on Sanibel Island, in LaBelle (Hendry County) and downtown Fort Myers. For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit

For more information about the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, call 239-274-5900 or visit


Tessa Lesage
Tessa Lesage