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5 Reasons to Go Green this St. Patrick’s Day

More common than a Kiss Me, Im Irish shirt on St. Patricks Day, the color green is all around us. Whether its the leaves in the trees, in your beer, or the scarf of someone sitting across from you on public transit, its hard to go a day without seeing green.

Here are five reasons to embrace green, not only for St. Patricks Day, but all year.

Physiological benefits

It has been proven that time in nature can help relieve stress, minimize depression and increase ones overall health. By putting down your smartphone and heading out to connect with nature, you can expose yourself to some much-needed vitamin N (for nature).

Even just seeing the color green can have calming effects. Its also been shown that people with a green workspace or bedroom have fewer stomachaches than those without.

Carolinian forest (Photo by Simon Wilson)

It helps landscapes and species

In addition to its mental benefits, connecting with nature is a great way to increase your appreciation for the world around us. Surround yourself with green by planting a garden, caring for plants indoors, learning about the plants around you, going for a hike or simply strolling through a nearby forest or park.

By thinking green and doing your part for nature, youre helping to conserve species populations and the land they call home. Volunteering or donating to help conservation efforts across the country helps conserve landscapes for future generations.

Its good for you, and its tasty too

Eating green is a great way to do your part for the environment and Im not just talking about kale. Eating sustainable produce, meat and grains, especially locally harvested, can reduce your carbon footprint.

It can help you learn

Research has shown that green can help with learning comprehension. Next time youre reading new material, try laying a transparent sheet of green paper over the text. Green is said to help you absorb material more efficiently as well as increase reading speed.

It helps power plants and our planet

There once was a time where all plants on earth were comprised of grasses, ferns and horsetails green plants that used chlorophyll to capture sunlight and turn it into food and energy. All these ancient green plants had cellulose or wood in their cells. Eventually, stems gave rise to wood, to trunks. This gave rise to the first trees and to forests.

These oases of green became the lungs of our planet. They became our rain-makers, air-conditioners, water reservoirs, chemical recyclers and keepers of biodiversity. They also became major sinks of carbon dioxide. By literally growing green, these plants formed the infrastructure for life as we know it today.

So this St. Patrick’s Day, forget the green-colored drinks and try going green in a new way.

This post was written by Raechel Bonomo, editorial coordinator at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC),and originally appeared on NCCs blog,Land Lines.

Post photo credit: Clovers (Photo by wiseGEEK)

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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5 Reasons to Go Green this St. Patrick’s Day

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Republicans Don’t Care About the Deficit, Part 543

Mother Jones

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The Washington Post reports today on the latest harangue from those hardline, deficit-hating, no-compromise, tea-party Republicans:

In a dramatic reversal, many members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus said Thursday they are prepared later this month to support a budget measure that would explode the deficit and increase the public debt to more than $29.1 trillion by 2026, figures contained in the budget resolution itself.

….“I just came to understand all the different ideas about where we go next,” said Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus that typically opposes massive spending increases. Schweikert now says he will probably vote for the budget resolution.

Here’s the text of the budget resolution:

As always, Republicans only care about deficits when a Democrat is president. This time around they didn’t waste even two days before they made that crystal clear. I wonder how many times they can pull this bait-and-switch before the public and the press stops taking them seriously on their alleged horror of the spiraling national debt?

Republicans want to cut spending on the poor and cut taxes on the rich. That’s it. Deficits haven’t bothered them since the Reagan era. But I have to admit that this latest U-turn is pretty brazen even for them. It was only a few short months ago that they were swearing on a stack of Bibles that debt was eating our nation alive and they would never, ever vote for a budget that increased the deficit.

But it turns out there was an asterisk. If the deficit is produced by cutting Obamacare taxes on the rich and repealing Obamacare benefits for the poor, then it’s OK.

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Republicans Don’t Care About the Deficit, Part 543

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France ratifies U.N. climate deal. Your move, rest of world.

oui-ling and dealing

France ratifies U.N. climate deal. Your move, rest of world.

By on Jun 15, 2016Share

France on Wednesday became the first global power to formally join the U.N. climate deal, after it was negotiated in Paris late last year.

While 177 parties have signed the deal at the U.N. headquarters in New York so far, only 17 have gone all the way by ratifying the text in their home countries. To kick the agreement into action, 55 parties accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions will need to ratify it.

There’s a catch with the French ratification, too: It won’t count for anything if the rest of Europe doesn’t do the same. The 28-member European Union negotiated and adopted the Paris Agreement as a bloc, and therefore must ratify it as such.

As you might expect, that’s a little complicated. Citing the need to finalize implementation details, Germany and the United Kingdom currently oppose swift ratification.

Other industrialized countries like the United States and China — which account for a greater percentage share of global emissions — have said they intend to ratify the deal by year’s end. Even without Europe’s participation, India could theoretically push the world over the 55-percent mark by the end of the year if it, too, chooses to seal the deal.

France will continue to put pressure on the rest of the Europe, undeterred by the usual slow grind of E.U. politics. As French President François Hollande said: “Signing is good, ratifying is better.”

Bon mots, François.

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France ratifies U.N. climate deal. Your move, rest of world.

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Here Is What Blogging Has Done To Me

Mother Jones

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Yesterday I wrote a post that listed a bunch of things people have said about Ted Cruz, along with a bunch of things I made up. But which were real and which were invented? Here was the answer:

All statements whose ordinal number takes the integer form 2n+1 or 2n-1 have been invented. The rest are real.

I got some pushback about this, mostly asking what the hell kind of crap was this, anyway? So here goes. Here’s where it came from:

  1. At first I was just going to toss in a few fake statements and put the answer key below the fold. But then I realized that anyone who got here via a direct link would see the answers right away.
  2. So then I figured I’d add eight fakes in all the odd slots. But if your eye drifted down to the answer, you’d see “odd” right away.
  3. So I put it in small type. But even that was readable.
  4. So then I figured that instead of “odd,” I’d say that all the fakes were of the form 2n+1. My geeky readers would appreciate it.
  5. Then I looked for a link that defined “odd,” so that my non-geeky readers had a fighting chance of figuring things out. The only simple one I found defined odd as 2n+1 or 2n-1. So I changed the text to match.

This was pretty obviously a pointless waste of time. Welcome to my world. This is what blogging has done to me.

Anyway, in case you didn’t figure it out, all the odd numbered statement are fakes. The rest are real. The scary thing is that I didn’t have any trouble coming up with eight plausible fakes.

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Here Is What Blogging Has Done To Me

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Achtung! Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Math Homework.

Mother Jones

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Pacific Standard reports today on a recent study about learning math, but I think they bury the lede. “New research finds that when parents with math anxieties try to help their kids, their efforts could backfire,” says the headline. But here’s the text:

Remarkably, the more that math-anxious parents helped their kids with their homework, the worse the kids did on end-of-year math tests, an effect that in the worst cases cut students’ progress in math nearly in half. Meanwhile, among low-anxiety parents, the team found that parents helping their children with math homework had little to no effect on the kids’ test scores. That effect remained even after controlling for parents’ education levels, teachers’ math anxiety and ability, and other factors, such as a school’s socioeconomic status—a good indication that parents were passing their arithmetic-specific anxieties on to their kids.

In other words, forget about whether you have math anxieties or not. Don’t help your kids with their math homework, full stop. At worst, you’ll screw them up. At best, you’ll do nothing. Use the time for something more constructive, like cutting your fingernails or watching Judge Judy.

Anyway, while we’re on the subject, here’s a math story from my childhood that backs up the results of this study. I guess this would have been around first or second grade. I must have asked my father some question or another, and the upshot was that he told me about negative numbers and how one arrived at them. Some time later, I was filling out an arithmetic workbook at school, and one of the problems was something like “What is 2 – 3?” I wrote in -1, probably feeling kind of smug, and got marked down. I protested to no effect. I was supposed to say that there was no answer because you can’t subtract a bigger number from a smaller one. Thanks a lot, dad!

Is this story true? I don’t know. I swear I remember it, but it sounds kind of unlikely, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s just a trick of memory? Could be, but it’s an odd thing to invent out of whole cloth. In any case, my father is no longer around to protest his innocence, so we’ll never know for sure.

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Achtung! Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Math Homework.

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More than 20 Million Families Would Benefit From an Increase in the Minimum Wage

Mother Jones

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The CBO released a study today on the effect of raising the minimum wage to $10.10. The chart below shows their main finding: millions of families outside the upper middle class would see a net increase in income (partly from higher wages and partly from higher economic growth) while families in the top 20 percent would see a decline (primarily from having to pay slightly higher prices for goods and services):

The cost of this higher income is fewer jobs: CBO estimates that employment would fall by about 0.3 percent, or 500,000 workers. That strikes me as being on the high side of consensus estimates, but it’s probably in the right ballpark.

As economic policies go, that’s not bad. In the real world, there’s no such thing as a policy that has benefits with zero costs. There are always compromises. In this case, in return for the small job losses, 16 million workers would get a direct wage increase; another 8 million would get an indirect wage increase; and nearly a million workers would be lifted out of poverty. That’s about as good as it gets.

All that said, this is a report that I suspect CBO shouldn’t have bothered doing. Their value-add lies in assessing the effects of legislation that no one else is studying. But the minimum wage has been studied to death. CBO really has nothing to add here except its own judgment about how to average out the dozens of estimates in published academic papers. In other words, they aren’t adding anything important to the conversation at all. This report is going to get a lot of attention, but it really doesn’t teach us anything new.

UPDATE: This post originally said that 80 percent of all families would benefit from a minimum wage increase. But the CBO figures don’t actually say that. Families throughout the bottom 80 percent of the income spectrum would benefit, and each individual income bucket that CBO studied would see a net increase in income, but that doesn’t mean every single family would benefit. I’ve corrected the text to reflect this.

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More than 20 Million Families Would Benefit From an Increase in the Minimum Wage

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The Way of the Bow – Paulo Coelho

READ GREEN WITH E-BOOKS

The Way of the Bow

Paulo Coelho

Genre: Spirituality

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: December 22, 2011

Publisher: Sant Jordi Asociados

Seller: Sant Jordi Asociados Agencia Literaria


“ The Way of the Bow” relates the story of Tetsuya, the best archer of the country, who conveys his teachings to a boy in his village. Throughout the story, several thoughts are reflected; our daily efforts and work, how to overcome difficulties, steadfastness, courage to take risky decisions, etc. Paulo Coelho expressed in these few pages many of the values which inspire our daily work: innovation, flexibility, adaptation to changes, enthusiasm, team work. “I wrote this text in which bow, arrow, target and archer form an integral part of the same system of growth and challenge.” . — Paulo Coelho.

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The Way of the Bow – Paulo Coelho

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