environmental health

Researchers invent ‘perfect’ soap molecule
Molecule is better for the environment, cleans in all conditions and could impact cleaning products industry.

A team of researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has invented a new soap molecule made from renewable sources that could dramatically reduce the number of chemicals in cleaning products and their impact on the environment.

hey! ducks are adorable and everybody likes feeding them, but bread causes a number of environmental and health problems that could easily be avoided. instead of bread, consider feeding duckies:

  • frozen peas or corn that’s been defrosted!
  • romaine lettuce (torn into small pieces)
  • bird feed of any kind
  • rice (cooked or uncooked!)
  • uncooked oats
  • grapes cut in half
  • earthworms

In India, Dying To Go: Why Access To Toilets Is A Women’s Rights Issue

In May, two young women in rural India left their modest homes in the middle of the night to relieve themselves outside. Like millions in India, their homes had no bathrooms. The next morning, their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree. They had been attacked, gang-raped and strung up by their own scarves. Eighteen months after a gang-rape on a Delhi bus, this incident and others since have galvanized nationwide protests to end violence against women and highlighted caste-related discrimination. The tragic story also underscores the need to talk about another taboo topic: open defecation.

Access to clean, safe and private toilets is a women’s issue. An estimated 2.5 billion people globally lack access to proper sanitation, with the largest number living in India. Women are disproportionately affected by lack of adequate sanitation. Many poor women living in rural villages or urban slums wait until nightfall, reducing their food and drink intake so as to minimize the need for elimination. Girls often do not attend school if there are no private toilets, and this is especially true after the onset of menstruation. Approximately 2,200 children die every day as a result of diarrheal diseases linked to poor sanitation and hygiene, which impacts women as mothers and caregivers. Finally, waiting until nighttime to urinate or defecate is not only dehumanizing, it makes women vulnerable to sexual assault, as vividly illustrated by the appalling events in India.

(More from Cognoscenti: Thinking that Matters-90.9 WBUR)

“Where you live in the United States shouldn’t determine how long and how healthy you live - but it does, far more than it should.“ - Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.; CDC Director

This quotation is from the CDC press release ”Healthy life expectancies at age 65 highest in Hawaii, lowest in Mississippi.“

You can check out a U.S. map of life expectancy by state here.

Plastic bags can take as long as a thousand years to break down in a landfill.

Let that sink in for a second. A thousand years ago, humanity was right smack in the middle of the dark ages (disintegration of the Roman Empire, the height of catholic corruption, public displays of torture for minor crimes, etc.) If plastic bags existed during that time period, many would have just finished decomposing.

The average New Yorker goes through at least 620 plastic bags per year. Because plastic bags cannot be recycled at home, most end up in the garbage or as “urban tumble weeds” blowing around the streets, stuck in trees, and floating in waterways. Wildlife who ingest the bags get sick or often die from suffocation. Not concerned with animal welfare? The fish on your plate has likely ingested and absorbed the chemicals from hundreds of plastic fragments. Bon appetite. 

Is it worth the convenience? Did you really need to bag that single item you just bought? Could you have put it in your purse or pocket? Did your Seamless order need the plastic? Could you have asked for paper instead? Don’t get me started on reusable grocery bags. 

 If you’re still in need of some guidance to break away from the pull of plastic, check out these 10 Life Hacks to Help You Cut Plastic Out of the Picture. 

Those of you who can afford to buy organic, or even just buy fresh produce: please do. The more healthy food we buy, the more in demand it becomes, the cheaper it will be.
The cheaper it is, the more people in poverty will be able to afford healthy food, the more kids won’t grow up obese, the more adults won’t be trapped in a cycle.

Every time you buy something, you cast a vote for it to be in supply, to be produced more, to be cheaper.

Remember that.

You, (my meat-eating friends), put your health at risk – that’s your business. But animal-based diets put the land, the water, the air, a society’s collective health, and even our collective pharmaceutical resources at risk. That’s my business. That’s everyone’s business.
—  Howard Lyman

This is why meat-eating can’t be ‘respected’.

Seneca Lake needs your help! One of the Finger Lakes of New York State, Seneca Lake is a beautiful area and a source of state pride for many, as well as a key source of income and drinking water for a vibrant local community. However, this wonderful area is in danger. The local community is fighting a big gas company, called Crestwood, that wants to store natural gas in the area. This could possibly ruin the local ecosystem and economy and even spoil the drinking water for nearly 100,000 people (as well as destroy the stunning natural beauty). Thus, we would really really appreciate it if you would all go to this contest and vote for Watkin’s Glen state park as your favorite state park. A win in this contest could seriously help our local activists show how much the U.S. values little beauties like Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake, and gain some traction in their legal battle. Please, all it takes is a click.

To learn more about the movement to protect Seneca Lake, click here!

“Dear Future Generations: Sorry,” Prince Ea.

In the clip, he began his apology to future generations and asked for forgiveness. He explained, “I think I speak for the rest of us when I say, sorry.”

During his apology, he stood in the “Amazon Desert,” where he said there once was a luscious rainforest with billions of trees. He explained why they were and still are beneficial…

He said, “We cut them [the trees] down with brutal machines. Horrific, at a rate of 40 football fields every minute, that’s 50% of all the trees in the world gone in the last 100 years.”

“Because whatever you’re fighting for — racism or poverty, feminism, gay rights, or any type of equality — it won’t matter in the least, because if we don’t all work together to save the environment, we will be equally extinct. Sorry.”

And according to Prince Ea, our mistakes aren’t just in the trees.

To Directly fight the Desctruction, go to http://www.standfortrees.org

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Quote from Emily Deschanel, an American actress and producer. She’s been vegan for over 20 years, and continues to be one of the most influential vegans of today.