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8 Ways to Go Green While Getting Fit

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Committing to a healthy lifestyle is No. 1 on the to-do lists of so many of us this year. I can’t deny I’m in that group. If you’re with me, these eight easy tips will help you green your workout routine whether you’re just starting (or restarting) your fitness journey or continuing your already-established regimen.

1. Use a Reusable Water Bottle

Capitalism and marketing have created a bottled water surge in the U.S. Don’t fall for it! Plastic water bottles are a huge environmental pollutant and require harmful fossil fuels to be made. Americans buy 29 billion plastic water bottles a year, and only one of every six is actually tossed in the recycling bin. The others sit in landfills for up to 450 years before degrading.

Rather than contributing to environmental devastation by plastic bottle, I encourage you to switch to reusable drinkware. Bottles made from aluminum, stainless steel and BPA-free plastic are all great choices for eco-friendly thirst quenching.

2. Ditch Disposable Towels

Most gyms advise members to wipe down equipment after a sweaty training session. Handy wet wipe dispensers stand by to help you accomplish this. Unfortunately for the planet, wet wipes aren’t recyclable.

Look harder and you might find a bottle of cleaning solution and a reusable cloth towel for you to wash your workout machine. This waste-reducing tactic is a much greener option than using single-use towels. Ask an employee for help if you can’t find any wet wipe alternatives at your gym.

3. Enroll in a Green Gym

Gyms across the country are taking on eco-friendly initiatives. Solar panels on stationary bikes, treadmills that generate energy, water bottle filling stations and recycled equipment are a few things that earn gyms the “green” title. Look for one of these innovative facilities near you or ask your favorite gym about their environmental policy. You can — and should — embolden them to adopt more green practices.

4. Solar-Charge Your Phone

Using reusable energy instead of burning fossil fuels is so important for the environment. We all should be using solar power — or some other source of renewable energy — for everything. Sometimes that’s difficult, though. Until you go completely solar, you can start by getting a solar-powered device charger or power bank. That way, you can jam out to your pump-me-up playlist guilt-free while you sweat.

5. Master the Five-Minute Shower

There’s nothing quite like a refreshing shower after a tough gym session. It feels great to wash away the sweat that comes with a workout and emerge feeling fresh, clean and ready to take on the day (or night).

More than two gallons per minute are flowing down the drain from the moment you twist that nozzle. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to take your time in the shower to relax your tired muscles. Taking shorter showers is an excellent way to be eco-friendly. Invest in a shower timer and aim for five minutes.

6. Fuel Sustainably

There are many environmentally friendly ways to fuel up before or after a workout — are they part of your routine? Next time you reach for the protein powder or chomp down on an energy bar, ask yourself what it’s made of. Many of us choose to make shakes with whey protein, take harsh supplements or eat processed energy bars — because that’s what everyone does, right?

Whey protein is actually derived from animals and is part of a grossly fossil-fueled industry. Consider switching to a plant-based protein powder, like those made with brown rice or peas, which can be just as effective as whey protein in helping you reach your fitness goals and is much better for the planet.

I understand the appeal of the energy bar — it’s portable, tasty and filling — but the kind of energy bar you eat is crucial. The optimal bar is one with whole ingredients, like fruits and nuts, and no artificial sweeteners. Nutritionists suggest bars with at least five grams of protein, three grams of fiber and less than five grams of fat. A snack with these qualities is sure to keep your energy high and hunger satisfied.

Alternatively, pack a handful of almonds or a hard-boiled egg for a quick and natural energy boost.

7. Bike to Work

To drive or to bike? It may seem like an easy choice on a chilly morning before work, but you may not realize how beneficial hopping on your bicycle can be. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll burn fat and improve heart health. You may even inspire your colleagues to green their commute, too! If biking to work isn’t an option, use two wheels for running errands around town.

8. Recycle Your Gear

Step away from the dumpster. When you’re ready to replace your old gear, donate or recycle it to give it new life instead of sending it to a landfill where it will pollute the environment for decades. Thrift stores will accept gently used workout gear as donations, and there are many organizations dedicated to providing donated gear to those in need. Nike, for example, takes donations and recycles old shoes into new apparel, footwear and surfaces.

Now get out there and break a sweat! Your body will thank you, and if you keep the earth in mind, it will thank you, too.

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8 Ways to Go Green While Getting Fit

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What Is Nanotechnology and How Can It Change Our Lives For the Better?

Nanotechnology is the study of extremely small particles, or nanoparticles, and how these can be manipulated and controlled in useful ways. Nanotechnology is currently being used in hundreds of common products, including batteries, sunscreens, antibacterial products, scratch-resistant coatings, electronics, plastics, and even food and cosmetics.

But this technology is so new, many of us know very little about it. There are also many concerns about its safety for human and ecological health. Let?s shed some light on this important topic and its potential impact on our lives.

WHAT ARE NANOPARTICLES?

Nanoparticles are any particles of matter small enough to be measured on the nanoscale. This is the same scale used to measure atoms and molecules. In fact, many biological and natural systems occur at the nanoscale. The protein hemoglobin that carries oxygen in our blood is only 5 nanometers, or 5 billionths of a meter, in diameter.

Other natural nanoparticles are being investigated for possible use in nanotechnology. For instance, scientists are currently researching the strength and flexibility of spider silk, which is reinforced by natural nanoscale crystals. And they have already copied the nanostructure of lotus leaves to create water repellent surfaces in fabrics and other materials.

WHY USE NANOPARTICLES?

What?s wrong with regular-sized particles, you may ask? The difference lies in what scientists call the ?quantum effect.? Larger particles of matter, such as gases, liquids and solids, have very predictable qualities. Whereas, matter can have unexpected behaviors at the nanoscale. These quantum effects can include properties such as greater strength, lighter weight or increased chemical reactivity.

For example, gold nanoparticles react differently to light than their larger-sized counterparts. Gold can appear red or purple on the nanoscale. Also, it?s been found that gold nanoparticles selectively accumulate in tumors. It?s not known why they do this, but scientists have been able to use gold nanoparticles to create more precise imaging and laser destruction techniques that can target tumor cells and avoid harming healthy cells.

Another important quality of nanoparticles is their significantly larger surface area compared to regular particles. The surface area of a particle is what allows for reactions with surrounding materials. A large particle of matter will have a limited amount of surface area. Whereas, there can be trillions or more nanoparticles in the same amount of space as a larger-sized particle. That means they can have trillions of times more surface area for reactions.

This is important for many different technologies. Scientists are researching nanoengineered batteries and fuel cells, where enhanced chemical reactivity could potentially produce cleaner, safer and cheaper ways to produce and store energy. Nanoparticles? larger surface area also holds great potential for products such as water filtration systems, pharmaceuticals and clothing insulation.

HOW IS NANOTECHNOLOGY USED?

The use of nanotechnology has exploded over the past few decades. More and more manufacturers are including nanomaterials in a vast array of products. In fact, over 1,600 products are known to contain nanoparticles today. And research is ongoing, so you can expect to see a lot more in the near future.

These are some examples of current products and technologies that incorporate nanomaterials.

Biomedical

Nanotechnology is used in many areas of health care, including wound dressings with nanoscale silver as an anti-bacterial agent, and synthetic bone based on nanoparticles that can be inserted into areas where natural bone is missing or broken.

Electronics

The field of nanoelectronics has created many advances, including faster, smaller and more portable electronics with increasingly large amounts of data storage. Ultra-high definition screens use nanotechnology to produce more vibrant colors and improve energy efficiency. Nanoscience is also behind bendable and flexible electronics that are being introduced in medical and other applications.

Clothing

Nanoscale additives and surface treatments have created fabrics that resist wrinkling, staining and bacterial growth. Some fabrics can even provide lightweight ballistic energy deflection in personal body armor.

Energy

The Shenhua Group, one of the world?s largest coal companies, is using nanotechnology to liquify coal and turn it into gas. This could bring a major change to global energy production as countries with large natural reserves of coal, such as China and the U.S., now have the potential to manufacture gasoline.

Sunscreen

Certain sunscreens contain molecularly-engineered nanomaterials that absorb more light than normal brands and spread more evenly on your skin compared to the thick, sticky sunscreens you might be used to.

Cosmetics

Encapsulating or suspending ingredients in what?s called nanospheres or nanoemulsions can increase their penetration into your skin. Many different products use this in some form. For example, in 1998, L?Oreal introduced Plentitude Revitalift, an anti-wrinkle cream that used polymer nanocapsules to deliver active ingredients into deeper layers of skin.

Food

Nanoparticles made from clay are being used in lightweight bottles, cartons and packaging films to create an impermeable barrier to gasses such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. In addition, storage containers are being made with silver nanoparticles embedded in the plastic that will kill any bacteria present.

IS NANOTECHNOLOGY SAFE?

Nanotechnology has the potential to transform our lives for the better. Cheap, lightweight solar plastics are being developed that could make solar energy more widely available. Nanoparticles have been discovered that can easily clean up toxic chemical spills and air-borne pollutants. Lightweight nanomaterials may even hold the key to expanding space exploration.

Despite these potential gains, nanotechnology has a shadow side. It?s a very new science, and therefore, we have no way of knowing the long-term effects of releasing nanoparticles into our environment.

Studies funded by agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency are looking at potential safety concerns associated with nanoscale materials. But, it?s difficult to keep up with this rapidly expanding technology.

And perhaps more concerningly, the nanotechnology industry is largely unregulated. Companies aren?t required to label products containing nanoparticles, and there are no recognized standards on production and handling of nanomaterials. The National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety recommends that precautions be in place to avoid worker exposure to nanomaterials, but this is still primarily left in the hands of the employers.

In addition to human health concerns related to nanoparticles, we also do not know the potential affects on our planet and ecosystems. Studies have shown that some nanomaterials are toxic to species such as algae, invertebrates and fish. Disturbing evidence has also found that nanomaterials can be transferred across generations in both animals and plants.

One of the best ways to keep yourself and our planet safe is to stay informed about this new technology. Check if any of your commonly-used products contain known nanoparticles on The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies website. Speak to your local politicians about what they?re doing to ensure the products of nanotechnology are safe.

And don?t hesitate to share what you know with others. The more everyone knows about nanotechnology, the more likely it is that manufacturers will be held accountable to effective health and safety standards.

Related at Care2

Will Nanotechnology Help or Hurt Our Environment?
What Is Rising CO2 in Our Atmosphere Doing to Our Food?
5 Household Items You Should Be Buying Organic

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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New York City is taking BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell to court.

People who lived through last year’s hurricanes may experience grief, anxiety, and depression for months or years, experts say.

“They’re grieving about the loss of what was,” Judith Andrews, co-chair of the Texas Psychological Association, told AP. Her organization provides free counseling to Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Following a natural disaster, people experience an arc of emotional responses. This usually starts with a “heroic” phase, when people rise to the occasion to survive and help others, Andrews says. Then disillusionment sets in as people come to grips with a new reality post-disaster.

In Puerto Rico, calls to the health department’s emergency hotline for psychiatric crises have doubled following Hurricane Maria, and the number of suicides has also risen.“Hurricane Maria is probably the largest psychosocial disaster in the United States,” Joseph Prewitt-Diaz, the head of the American Red Cross’ mental health disaster response, told Grist.

Hurricanes can have long-term effects on mental health. Five years after Hurricane Sandy, the rate of adult psychiatric hospitalizations in the Queens neighborhoods hit worst by the storm are nearly double that of New York City as a whole. The city’s health department is working with local organizers to connect residents with preventative care so that they can get help before reaching a crisis point.

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New York City is taking BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell to court.

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Is Your Honey Loaded with Pesticides?

Honey is honey, right? Not so fast. The honey you find in your local market can range from a highly processed toxic sweetener no better than high fructose corn syrup to delicately sweet, medicinally nourishing, golden goodness. But you probably already knew that. So you buy organic, raw or local honey. But is it really as clean as you think?

Recent research has confirmed that up to 75 percent of the world?s honey supply is contaminated with pesticides. That?s a real issue. Not only are these dangerous pesticides, like neonicotinoids, harmful to our health, but they are killing off bee populations in unprecedented numbers. Honeybees are endangered and our incessant pesticide use is one of the main causes. If bee populations decline enough, the entire world’s food system will be affected. In fact, certain foods, like almonds, will be wiped out entirely. Bees are too important, so we need to buy foods that have been grown organically.

Related: Without Bees, You Can Say Goodbye to These Breakfast Foods

So?you’re safe if you buy organic honey, right? Not quite. Organic honey is incredibly difficult (sometimes impossible) to ensure. Since bees are foragers, truly organic honey would require at least 16 square miles of organic plants surrounding the hive. In agriculture-rich areas, that can be a hard thing to come by. Furry little bees also excel at picking up airborne pollutants. Furthermore, any chemicals used to prevent invasive mites or diseases within the hive must meet strict organic standards.

Unfortunately, beeswax has a knack for holding onto chemicals for years. This becomes an issue when new organic beekeepers buy convenient wax starter combs from suppliers, 98 percent of which are tainted with some sort of chemical residue. It is almost inevitable that chemicals will sneak in somewhere down the line between starting a colony and harvesting honey. While truly organic honey may?still exist in wild pockets of the world, it is becoming harder and harder to come by. So buying organic honey may not be worth the money.

Realistically, the most important thing for us as consumers is to do some research and buy honey that is as clean and minimally processed as possible. Pasteurization destroys the beneficial enzymes within honey, so be sure to look for ?raw? on the label.

Wondering how warm is too warm for honey??According to Empowered Sustenance:

?The temperature of an active hive, therefore, is about 95?F (35?C), and the honey is stable and ?alive??or rather, the enzymes in honey that give it the nutritional and beneficial qualities are alive. As long as the temperature of honey does not significantly rise past 95?F/35?C, the honey has not been pasteurized.?

Great, so raw is the way to go. But what about unfiltered, pure, local and organic? All this honey jargon can get confusing, so here?s some clarification:

Organic honey: Honey made from flowers that have not been sprayed with chemicals. It is extremely difficult to find honey that is entirely organic, since bees forage great distance from their hives and wax starter combs can contains chemicals many beekeepers use to prevent mites.

Raw honey: As long as the harvested honey is not heated/pasteurized, even if it has been strained and filtered, it is considered raw. Some raw honeys are very smooth while other, more ruggedly raw honeys may be a little chunky, with healthful bits of beeswax, propolis and royal jelly in the mix.

Unfiltered honey: Honey can either be strained or filtered. Straining honey simply traps?big chunks of beeswax and the like, allowing beneficial buts like pollen to flow through. The filtering process, depending on how extensive, can actually filter out beneficial and nutritious components like pollen. In that case, you might as well drink simple syrup.

Local honey: This is honey that has been harvested within 50 to 100 miles of your town. It is not necessarily organic, raw or unfiltered, but you can speak directly with the beekeeper to learn how and where the honey is made.

100% pure honey. This means relatively little. It just means that the honey hasn?t been cut with other, cheaper products. The honey has likely been pasteurized and ultra-filtered unless otherwise noted. It is definitely not local. In fact, it could originate from the other side of the world from places like China or India.

While buying organic honey is great, buying raw, unprocessed honey is way more important. The amazing people over at Beekeepers Naturals go the extra length to audit their suppliers and scout the surrounding areas to make sure the honey they source is as close to organic as possible. Bees need our support. By buying quality bee products from companies who use safe, bee-enhancing practices, we are saving the endangered bee (and ourselves) from an ominous fate.

The more we support ecologically-concerned companies like Beekeepers Naturals, the more demand there will be for cleaner, organic food in general. Of course, it is also important to switch it up once in a while and support your local, clean beekeepers, too. Just make sure your honey?is always raw, unfiltered and as clean as possible.

Related:
Bees Saved This Woman?s Health, And Now She?s Working to Save Them
Why You Need to Keep a Dream Journal
How to Stop Sabotaging Your Intuition

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Is Your Honey Loaded with Pesticides?

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3 Ways a Zero Waste Lifestyle Can Improve Your Health

When my husband and I first started going zero waste, we did so to lessen our environmental footprint and reduce the trash we were sending to landfill. But over time?the reasons for?our zero waste lifestyle have only increased. Today, we also do it for our health!

Health Threats Associated with Garbage

Trash is?more than just an eyesore. It actually poses a real threat to our bodies. Landfills emit toxic gasses like ammonia and sulfides, causing short-term health effects like headaches,?trouble sleeping, lung irritation, and even chest pain.

Landfills also contaminate our clean groundwater ? the primary water source for more than 50% of the entire population of the United States. And last but not least, landfills emit serious amounts of greenhouse gasses including both methane and carbon dioxide. Those food scraps leftover from dinner will?cause damage long after you toss them in the trash.

And that’s just the health dangers associated with landfills. What about what’s going on at home? Plastic, one of the world’s preferred materials for everything from plastic wrap to kids’ toys, also poses a serious threat to our health:

“Exposure to harmful chemicals during manufacturing, leaching in the stored food items while using plastic packages or chewing of plastic teethers and toys by children are linked with severe adverse health outcomes such as cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive effects etc.”

This isn’t just a landfill issue, people. This is about your lungs, your skin, and your cells. Is the convenience of a plastic water bottle really worth that?

A Zero Waste Lifestyle and Health

When I first heard these facts my mind was changed. It was time to ban garbage and?as many plastics as possible from our lives. Just one year later, we are nearly trash-free and our health has never been better. Here are some of the ways that living a zero waste lifestyle has improved our health and can improve yours, too!

1. Less plastic, less exposure.

Of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that has ever been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled; so, the vast majority is accumulating in landfills. Waste. Trash.?Garbage. When you start making an effort to cut down on plastic use, you also naturally cut down on the amount of plastic you encounter in your daily life. Plastic water bottles? You don’t use them. Plastic forks? You don’t use them. Plastic bags? You don’t need them; you have your own canvas one instead!

When you go zero waste, you encounter plastics less frequently.

2. Processed foods are a no go.

Most zero wasters do their shopping at farmer’s markets, food co-operatives, and bulk stores whenever possible. This means we mostly eat fresh, whole foods, completely free from packaging.

What does this have to do with health? It comes down to processing: fresh, unprocessed foods get eaten?in their natural state before they go bad; processed foods last longer and can be bought packaged, but come with a laundry list of unpronounceable ingredients. When you’re avoiding trash, you avoid?boxed, wrapped, and bagged processed foods as well.

When you go zero waste, you naturally eat a more nutritious diet.

3. Toiletries and cosmetics are made the natural way.

The vast majority of cosmetic products are packaged?in cute, but totally unrecyclable containers. That plastic mascara tube, shrink-wrapped bar of soap, and disposable razor will just end up in the trash when you’re done with them. No new life in sight!

When you go zero waste,?arrowroot powder replaces your aerosol dry shampoo, you invest in a stainless steel razor?that has removable, recyclable blades, and?if you’re brave you start using baking soda as a deodorant. No waste. No clutter. No chemicals.

When you go zero waste, you eliminate chemical products too.


?How do you keep harmful?materials out of your life??

Related at Care2

8 Scary Hidden Ingredients in Processed Food
How Going Zero Waste has Made Me a Better Person
How to Store Vegetables without Plastic

Image credits: Thinkstock, main image from Unsplash

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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3 Ways a Zero Waste Lifestyle Can Improve Your Health

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How Going Zero Waste Made Me a Better Person

One year ago, my husband and I sat down at the dinner table with coffee in hand?to chat about the possibility of pursuing zero waste in our home. I had recently read an article on?’living your values’?by?the lovely Lauren Singer, and felt extremely convicted to better manage my own environmental impact?and carbon footprint.

My life has never been the same since.

If there is one thing that going zero waste over this past year has taught me, it is that most issues of sustainable living?can be solved by pursuing a daily posture of mindfulness.?What do I mean by that? To me, mindfulness, or living consciously, means recognizing that every action I?take?large or small?has a direct impact on the health of the planet and our global community as a whole.

In?The Art of Power, Thich Nhat Hanh explains:

Everything is related to everything else. Your well-being and the well-being of your family are essential elements in bringing about the well-being of your business or of any organization where you work. Finding ways to protect yourself and promote your own well-being is the most basic investment you can make. This will have an impact on your family and work environment, but first of all it will result in an improvement in the quality of your own life.

In other words,?intentionally stepping out of my?natural, autopilot-like way?brings about goodness?in both my own life?and that of my?community. This is the very root of mindful?living.

What Daily Mindfulness Looks Like for a Zero Waster

As every zero waster will tell you, going zero waste is not easy.?Every day, I make the conscious choice to go against the grain, defy cultural norms and accept inconveniences for the sake of the greater good.

For example, today I:

Brought a (spotless) mason jar to our local juice bar and asked them to fill it in place of a much more convenient styrofoam cup.
Turned down the opportunity to enjoy?free lunch at work because?doing so would have meant tossing a pile of trash, when I had a perfectly suitable lunch already waiting for me at home.
Asked?for dairy-free milk in my coffee because going vegan makes me feel good in more ways than one.

These small, daily?decisions may seem inconsequential, but over a lifetime their impact adds up. Had I chosen to go through my day on autopilot, I likely would have tossed the styrofoam cup, taken every freebie thrown at me, at the expense of the planet and left Starbucks with a stomachache and?a side of guilt. That’s no way to live!

So, I ask you this: What conveniences are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of the greater good? What changes can you make in your own life that will put you on the path toward contentment and happiness? What can you do to live a more mindful, conscious life?

Putting it into Practice

Moving yourself toward a fuller state of mindfulness is not something that happens overnight.?It will require a conscious effort that involves education, meditation and reflection. Ready to pursue more conscious living? These tips will help you get started!

1. Question everything.

The easiest way to step out of autopilot mode is to confront everything in your life with a critical eye. Do you really need that plastic straw to enjoy your drink? Would you be better off walking a few blocks to the grocery story, rather than driving your car? Question your choices and start making more intentional ones.

2. Educate yourself.

It’s hard to make a good decision when you aren’t yet equipped with the facts. These documentaries and books are a great place to start. Curious about transitioning to a plant-based diet? Do your research, then make the choice based on what you’ve learned. Want to experience?a stronger reaction to issues of waste? Look into?the detriments of using and throwing away plastics. You’ll never be the same!

3.?Start meditating.

When you wake in the morning, meditate on powerful ideas?like love, respect, empathy and interconnectedness. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes (or light a candle if you need a focal point to maintain focus) and consider how you fit into the big picture.?To get the most out of your?meditation, set clear, specific intentions?or try one of these exercises.

4. Equip yourself.

It’s so much easier to make good, conscious decisions when you have a sustainable alternative in front of you. Carry a?travel mug with you in your bag so that when the opportunity arises you can use it in place of a disposable cup. Equip yourself with the tools you need to be successful and you will be.

5. Practice empathy.

Cultivating your ability to understand (and subsequently feel) the feelings of another is an important step toward living your life more consciously. What do you think the people who live in the shadow of our landfills are experiencing? What about those who drink water contaminated by industrial?runoff driven by human consumption? Asking questions?like these will help you to greater identify with those outside your personal experience and help you form an emotional attachment to issues of sustainability.

How do you practice mindfulness and conscious living in your daily life? Do you have any tips for this community? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Related:
10 Tips for Creating a Zero Waste Home
How to Host a Zero Waste Dinner Party
10 Ways to Start Living Zero Waste

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How Going Zero Waste Made Me a Better Person

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The Hacking of the American Mind – Robert H. Lustig

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The Hacking of the American Mind

The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains

Robert H. Lustig

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $13.99

Expected Publish Date: September 12, 2017

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


"Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts." —David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller,  Grain Brain  and  Brain Maker The New York Times –bestselling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease.   While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times bestseller Fat Chance , Robert Lustig made an alarming discovery—our pursuit of happiness is being subverted by a culture of addiction and depression from which we may never recover.             Dopamine is the “reward” neurotransmitter that tells our brains we want more; yet every substance or behavior that releases dopamine in the extreme leads to addiction. Serotonin is the “contentment” neurotransmitter that tells our brains we don’t need any more; yet its deficiency leads to depression. Ideally, both are in optimal supply. Yet dopamine evolved to overwhelm serotonin—because our ancestors were more likely to survive if they were constantly motivated—with the result that constant desire can chemically destroy our ability to feel happiness, while sending us down the slippery slope to addiction. In the last forty years, government legislation and subsidies have promoted ever-available temptation (sugar, drugs, social media, porn) combined with constant stress (work, home, money, Internet), with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction, anxiety, depression, and chronic disease. And with the advent of neuromarketing, corporate America has successfully imprisoned us in an endless loop of desire and consumption from which there is no obvious escape.             With his customary wit and incisiveness, Lustig not only reveals the science that drives these states of mind, he points his finger directly at the corporations that helped create this mess, and the government actors who facilitated it, and he offers solutions we can all use in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Always fearless and provocative, Lustig marshals a call to action, with seminal implications for our health, our well-being, and our culture.

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Science for Sale – David L. Lewis, PhD

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Science for Sale

How the US Government Uses Powerful Corporations and Leading Universities to Support Government Policies, Silence Top Scientists, Jeopardize Our Health, and Protect Corporate Profits

David L. Lewis, PhD

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: June 3, 2014

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC


When Speaker Newt Gingrich greeted Dr. David Lewis in his office overlooking the National Mall, he looked at Dr. Lewis and said: “You know you’re going to be fired for this, don’t you?” “I know,” Dr. Lewis replied, “I just hope to stay out of prison.” Gingrich had just read Dr. Lewis’s commentary in Nature , titled “EPA Science: Casualty of Election Politics.” Three years later, and thirty years after Dr. Lewis began working at EPA, he was back in Washington to receive a Science Achievement Award from Administrator Carol Browner for his second article in Nature . By then, EPA had transferred Dr. Lewis to the University of Georgia to await termination—the Agency’s only scientist to ever be lead author on papers published in Nature and Lancet . The government hires scientists to support its policies; industry hires them to support its business; and universities hire them to bring in grants that are handed out to support government policies and industry practices. Organizations dealing with scientific integrity are designed only to weed out those who commit fraud behind the backs of the institutions where they work. The greatest threat of all is the purposeful corruption of the scientific enterprise by the institutions themselves. The science they create is often only an illusion, designed to deceive; and the scientists they destroy to protect that illusion are often our best. This book is about both, beginning with Dr. Lewis’s experience, and ending with the story of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.

This article: 

Science for Sale – David L. Lewis, PhD

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Harvey stirs up the way we feed people during disasters

This story was originally published by CityLab and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Each hurricane season, Brian Greene calls in reinforcements in the form of tractor-trailers. Long before a particular system is swirling on the horizon, Greene, the president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank, dispatches 40-plus hauls of disaster-relief supplies to local shelters so each outfit will have a stockpile of water, granola bars, and cleaning supplies. The idea is to get out ahead of any storm, and then hunker down. “That’s our normal plan,” Greene says. “And it looked pretty good.” But Tropical Storm Harvey wasn’t normal.

Under normal circumstances, hurricanes don’t hold steady overhead. “They’re not supposed to do that. They go 15 or 20 miles an hour. They hit you and move on and then you assess and then begin the follow-up work,” Greene says. But Harvey continued to assail the city for days, throwing a wrench in the food bank’s plans.

In a normal catastrophe — to the extent that any crisis is normal — “you’ve got maybe a 24-hour period where you’re shut down,” Greene says. In this case, the food bank was snarled for days — not because it had flooded, but because nearby roads had turned to rivers with white-capped waves. With the paved arteries clogged by churning water, supplies had to stay where they were.

On Tuesday, for instance, Celia Cole’s hands were tied. As the CEO of Feeding Texas, Cole was fielding calls from places that had run down their supplies. An assisted-living facility reached out: They were swamped by floodwaters and the patients and staff were out of food. Not even the largest vehicles on hand could make it through the water, Cole says. “It’s awful to say, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t help you.’”

Seven of the 21 food banks in the Feeding Texas network were affected by the storm. By Wednesday, water had begun to recede in some areas, and people began streaming to local food banks and pantries. But the work was just beginning.

The immediate aftermath of a storm is often much-publicized and scored with desperation: Picture cameras panning across grocery stores with bare shelves and glass doors fastened shut against the rain; shivering crowds and interminable lines snaking across a parking lot pitted with puddles. In these tellings, a storm’s consequences are like broken bones — clean, complete, emergent. The Washington Post reported that some stores were looking to turn a quick buck on the trauma, gouging prices on basic necessities like water, which was selling for as much as $8.50 a bottle. But across the food system, the impacts may be more like hairline fractures, partial and enduring.

That’s because the busiest time for disaster relief isn’t while winds are howling and rain is pelting down in sheets, Greene says. It’s after. And that’s also when donations might slow from a stream to a trickle, and when the landscape of need is murkiest.

The problem is, in the past, cities’ resilience plans haven’t considered the food system. That’s starting to change, Erin Biehl, the senior program coordinator in the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s Food System Sustainability & Public Health program, told me earlier this month. Biehl is the lead author of a new report that surveys the blueprints various cities have laid out to respond to disasters that could shock all aspects of the food system, from warehouses to packaging facilities and bodegas. Now and for the foreseeable future, Houston will be reckoning with the very conditions Biehl and her collaborators outlined.

One of the primary takeaways from the CLF report is the paramount importance of connected networks. In the wake of disasters, the first major food hurdle is “figuring out who’s got what and who needs what,” says Roni Neff, the director of the CLF’s Food System Sustainability & Public Health research program. Greene experienced that challenge while working at food banks in New Orleans when Katrina swept through. “One of the most frustrating parts was how communication utterly, utterly broke down,” he says. Drenched landlines were unreliable, and cell towers were finicky. “It took weeks before we even found our staff,” Greene adds.

Now, in Houston, the team has outsourced and centralized contact information and plans at the state level, and stored it on the cloud. They leverage extensive communication networks to stay in touch with 600 partner organizations, including churches and community centers. “Everything we do is a collaboration,” Greene says. “Everything.” Feeding Texas also has a disaster coordinator on staff, who works out of the state’s department of emergency management.

In Houston, trucks are arriving from all over the state, and from others, too. “North Texas is already sending aid to shelters and at the conference center in Houston. Those were all part of a very coordinated network and everybody is standing by to respond,” Cole says. Corporations are pitching in to boost supply. Greene says Kellogg’s is dedicating 125 truckloads of cereal to the relief squad.

The Houston Press and Chronicle maintained running lists of restaurants and stores that were creaking open their doors amid the risk of flooding, or mobilizing as hubs of relief efforts. Some served free meals to first responders; others solicited donations of blankets, diapers, baby formula, and single-serving, packaged snacks and ferried them to the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is sheltering residents displaced from their homes.

Many families will have long-term needs, too. The melee delayed the start of the school year — and, by extension, the meals that students would have received in the cafeteria. Submerged businesses may be closed for weeks or months, slashing the paychecks of workers who earn hourly wages. In turn, their food budgets may be precariously slim. “If you’re on the margin and you just lost a quarter of the month’s income, you’re in trouble,” Greene notes. Staring down crumbling walls and blooming mold, it’s hard to decide how to allocate thin resources. People will struggle for a toehold as they repair their lives. “We’re anticipating what’s going to be sort of like a refugee crisis once people are actually able to get out of Houston,” Cole says.

On the policy side, one intervention is a temporary stretching of SNAP benefits. In anticipation of the deluge, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission put in a statewide waiver request on Aug. 26. Through Sept. 30, SNAP benefits can be used toward hot, ready-to-eat food items that are usually exempted from the program. The change may be a lifeline in Galveston. The island city was lashed with more than 22 inches of rain, and 37,371 of its residents received SNAP benefits in 2011. In the event that the food system is still shaken a month from now, a USDA official says the department will consider extending the waiver upon request from the state.

Neff wonders whether some repercussions might be even more wide-ranging. Reports of drowned fields and escaped livestock raised questions about the effects on farmers and the meat industry. With some refineries flooded or otherwise damaged, Neff says, fuel prices might rise, cutting into grocery stores’ margins and perhaps leading to mark-ups for consumers.

That all remains to be seen. The next challenge is scaling up, and doing so accurately. Outside of storm season, the Houston Food Bank moves about 350,000 pounds of food a day, six days a week. That number balloons when the bank springs into crisis mode. After Hurricane Ike struck, the food bank shuttled 500,000 pounds a day. This time around, “we just say, ‘OK, this is a lot bigger. Call it a million,’” Greene says. From there, the food bank has to tinker with its regular operations. How many additional forklifts do they need? How many more trucks?

It’s difficult to anticipate the magnitude of a storm — and what will be required to respond to it — before it’s baring its teeth. From a distance, Greene says, it’s tricky to imagine what damage might follow. Afterward, even from the ground, it’s hard to deduce a precise need from a quick survey of wreckage. “We won’t really know how this will pan out until it’s over,” Greene says.

So the best estimate is just that — but, ideally, a generous one. “There’s a big Katrina lesson. Whatever you do, do not fail people now when they need you most,” he adds. “So if you overshoot, you deal with the consequences of that — but the consequences of undershooting are far worse.”

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Harvey stirs up the way we feed people during disasters

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate

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Chances are, you have a clothing item (or 10) in your closet that you don’t wear, haven’t worn since the previous solar eclipse and have no plans to wear here or in a parallel universe. But, before you purge your closet and launch your lightly worn items to a landfill to join the 13 million tons of textiles disposed of each year, consider this: National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is today, and you’re invited!

Swap, Don’t Shop

Disposing of clothing that you don’t wear isn’t just wasteful, it’s extremely unsustainable and oh so unfashionable. Even today, with all the convenient ways to sell your clothes for cash, a staggering 85 percent of discarded textiles are sent to landfills annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet, the majority of people are not extending the life cycle of their gently worn clothes while cashing in or greening them forward.

Today, global waste in the fashion industry is a real issue. In fact, it takes 2,700 liters of water just to create one cotton T-shirt. National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is breathing new life into old clothes, allowing consumers to offset their carbon footprint by exchanging or recycling their used garments.

What if I told you that you could recycle, donate or upcycle those tatty threads just by visiting a clothing swap pop-up location near you? Element Hotels, an eco-conscious, extended-stay brand, is hosting Element Exchange today across the country for hotel guests and community members. Some events will even offer sustainable sips of organic wine and tasty treats while you “shop.”

With the coveted LEED certification, Element Hotels doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. All of their hotels are built sustainably using eco-friendly practices from the ground up and supporting local communities. The hotel chain features bright interiors with natural light, eco-friendly fixtures and recycling bins in every guest room, recycled materials in the carpeting, low-VOC interior paints, saltwater swimming pools, bikes to borrow, workout bikes in the fitness center that charge your cell phone while you pedal, and electric vehicle charging stations outdoors.

6 Ways to Participate in National Secondhand Wardrobe Day

While orange may be the new black, vintage is the new rack. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of buying items that just don’t live up to their impulse-purchase hype. Here’s how else you can swap and save.

  1. Host Your Own Clothing Swap
  2. Sell Your Clothes Online with thredUP or Poshmark.
  3. Donate Your Clothes to Goodwill, Dress for Success, the Salvation Army or the Vietnam Veterans of America. The latter two will even pick up the items from your front door.
  4. Rent the Runway for your next soiree or event.
  5. Sell Your Wedding Garments Online with Preowned Wedding Dresses.
  6. Donate Your Wedding Dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer.

One man’s or woman’s trash truly is another’s treasure. Making sustainable choices in your clothing selections just makes sense. This year, get involved to help those less privileged by giving your time or, literally, the clothes off your back. Remember, on National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, don’t shop — swap till you drop!

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
Rags to Riches: 5 Ways to Earn Cash from Your Closet
Swapping Is Sexy: How to Host a Clothing Swap Party
How to Shop for Clothes with the Earth in Mind

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Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres is a healthy home expert, Baubiologist, published author, professional speaker and Telly award-winning media personality who teaches busy people how to eliminate toxins from their home with simple, step-by-step solutions to improve their health. With her husband, Ron, she is the co-founder of

The Healthy Home Dream Team

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Change Your Home. Change Your Health

. She is the author of the children’s book

My Body My House

and co-author of

Just Green It!: Simple Swaps to Save Your Health and the Planet

,

Learn to Create a Healthy Home! Green Nest Creating Healthy Homes

and

The 9 to 5 Greened: 10 Steps to a Healthy Office

. Lisa’s TV appearances include “The Rachael Ray Show,” “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “TODAY,” “The Doctors,” “Fox & Friends,” “Chelsea Lately” and “The Suzanne Somers Show.”

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Latest posts by Lisa Beres (see all)

It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate – August 25, 2017
Perk Up Your Workout with a Recycled Coffee Grounds Sports Bra – July 24, 2017
The 4 Things You MUST Test for in Your Home Right Now – July 14, 2017

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate

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