What is a Nature-Pill?

Get Outside and Enjoy!

Have you been outside today? Have you found beauty or something new in nature? If you haven’t spent some time outside today, do it now!  This is the perfect time of the year to get outside, walk and experience nature. Relaxing time outside is a nature-pill.

It is my fear we have become such enormous TV watchers and phone addicts that we forget to get out of our houses and cars to enjoy the outside.

If you don’t have a yard, find a park or garden near you to which you can walk or bike. Hopefully it is quiet and a place you can experience the new buds and flowers on the plants and trees, or see the birds/butterflies, or just watch the clouds pass by.  Spend just a few quiet moments to just breath, relax and observe. Be mindful of the time you have outdoors.

A new study from the University of Michigan tells how time outside makes people so much happier and less depressed and stressed.

Enjoy!

“Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”  Mary Carol Hunter

“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of this research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”

“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature. There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading,” Hunter explains. Read more about the nature study here.

Take your free outdoor nature-pill, find outdoor beauty, plant seeds, touch, draw or picture, walk, observe, listen, and breathe.

Driving or using your phone doesn’t count, you need to find places near you.  A place where you can take your nature-pill. I know you can find places if you try.  Find a place outside that you feel made you feel like you’ve connected with nature.

Ten more reasons why you should connect with nature.

 

 

 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20793/10-great-reasons-to-get-outside-more-often.html

Wow, the Possibilities!

When we focus on imagining and debating new possibilities of what we want to accomplish, instead of relentlessly fixating on limitations, we build the will to do more.   Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S.Representative

Several months ago I would have thought this news impossible! Good news lightens my mood and hope for the future. We are all healthier and the Earth is healthier because of this leadership. See some amazing leadership and good news below:

–Two young women have taken the center stage for climate leadership

Greta Thunberg by Anders Hellberg

Sixteen year-old Greta Thunberg is leading Friday climate marches throughout the world, and Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez has taken an incredible leadership role in the U.S. Congress.  See Green New Deal. Greta has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

–The European Union is banning single-use plastics by 2021
      And Trader Joe’s is phasing out single-use plastic.
–Oregon’s bottle deposit law results in 90% of bottles returned
Lake Erie has been given human status by the city of Toledo.
–Connecticut is working on banning plastic bags.
–Miami has banned glyphosates.
–New York City schools begin Meatless Monday.
–By a vote of 92 to 8, the United State Senate passes a sweeping lands package that designates 1.3 million acres of wilderness in California, Oregon, Utah, and New Mexico, establishes three new national monuments, and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Clean energy news:

Minnesota, California, Costa Rica, Spain, and others pledge to become carbon-free.

–The Tennessee Valley Authority closes an aging coal-fired power plant,

–An Australian court rejects a proposed coal mine because of the effect it would have on the world’s climate.

–Spain intends to close its seven nuclear power plants by 2035, and to generate all the country’s electricity from renewables by 2050.

–Finland voted to ban all coal-fired power by 2029.

22 Inventions That Are Saving The Earth

 

 

 

Inspiring Good News

We need some good news, and thoughts of what is possible!

After a summer of hot weather, wildfires, and now hurricane season, some positive thinking energy is needed. This a collection of people, businesses and governments working to do good for our Earth. The following good news stories caught my eye:

I am going to start with two stories from France that were surprising.
A theme park has trained crows to pick up trash, especially cigarette butts. France also has a creative idea to put a tax on packaging that can’t be recycled. It would better if it was a tax on materials that don’t biodegrade, but any kind of tax is a great motivator, and a worthwhile education tool!

Also, in the European Union, the Greek Island of Tilos is going to be the first in the Mediterranean to power itself entirely with wind and solar. Read at renewable energy.  And in Eastern Europe, Estonia is offering free public transport nationwide.

A court in Canada has ruled that a pipeline can’t continue through indigenous lands, and also, Canada is beginning to phase out bee killing pesticides.

Communities are managing  without plastic bags.

And good news in the United States, a non-profit in Durham North Carolina has started a program to use reusable containers for take-out. It is inspiring that Anchorage has banned plastic bags  and Kroger stores say they are going to start phasing out single-use plastic bags.  Like plastic bags, balloons cause litter and harm wildlife. Think twice before you use balloons, and read what is happening at balloons .  Also, very good news, a judge has ruled that the Trump administration can’t change an Obama clean water rule

Good news from the Nature Conservancy: Inspiring stories of climate progress across the globe are a sign of what’s possible.

Too often leaders believe protecting nature … is at the expense of the economy or human well-being. I couldn’t disagree more strongly. We’ve made great progress quantifying what you can achieve by investing in nature.”

Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good News to Brag About!

A month ago I spent a couple of weeks in Germany, and was I impressed! Other Americans I talked to shared my thoughts of awe with Germany. First they take care of their infrastructure. They maintain their roads, trains, bike lanes, public transport, even restrooms reach a high standard.  As I enjoyed riding trains through the countryside, I saw many solar farms and some wind farms. Renewable energy has overtaken coal consumption in Germany.

Dresden Bohnhof

There is no litter in Germany. A twenty-five cent deposit is charged on plastic bottles. Germany leads the world in recycling. It’s just natural for Germans to be good to the Earth, and it is hopeful that when you do things right it does lead to success. Yahoo, awesome Germany!

Twenty-five cents for returned plastic bottles

More good news stories:

** Oklahoma has changed their mowing along highways to help the monarch butterflies.

** Starbucks and Seattle are ending their consumption of plastic straws, and Penzance, Great Britain has become a plastic-free town.

** California has already made their green energy goals for 2020.

More recent good news: https://health4earth.com/2018/05/19/hopeful-stories/

Hopeful Stories

No straw, please!

I love the following stories of businesses, people, and governments doing the right thing for our Earth. These stories give me hope, and I hope they inspire you, too. Click on the links to read more of the articles.

** California will require solar on all new homes!

** Fabulous news on the plastic pollution front:

      * The Chicago White Socks baseball team ban straws!

     * The United Kingdom becomes the first country to ban straws, and wet-wipes

      * The island of Vanuatu bans plastic

** James Shaw Jr. stopped the gunman, and then raised funds for the victims!

**Michael Bloomberg, donates 4.5 million for the Paris Climate Agreement!

** Some really good business news…. General Mills is growing crops for their organic products that are organic, help the soil, and don’t harm water,  regenerative agriculture.

 

** And more good agricultural news, the European Union has banned neonicotinoids which are so harmful to our bees and butterflies!

Hope for wildlife

Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services

 

Recent Good News

This is my occasional series on good news stories, I hope you learn something about the world and communities working together.

** Students of America stand up to their elected officials and the NRA. “We have the right to go to school without fearing for our lives!” Read at future leaders

** Across the Atlantic Ocean some awesome things are happening in regards to eliminating plastic. First, Queen Elizabeth declares war on single-use plastic at the palace and eating establishments that are part of the Monarchy. Also, a British supermarket eliminates plastic

** The marvelous country of Taiwan has set up a plan to eliminate single-use

Hotel in Taiwan

plastic from their country.  Read here

** A group is planning to plant over a billion trees in Trump’s Forest to counteract the negative environmental damage being done in the United States. Read at Trump Forest

** Below is from https://www.ecowatch.com/  about the positive things that have happened in renewable energy during 2017

  • The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70 percent since 2010 in the U.S.
  • With no fuel cost and lower operating and maintenance costs, solar and especially wind are outcompeting even the most efficient new gas plants in states like Texas.
  • Renewable energy is creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy in the U.S.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar installer is the fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., with wind technician coming in at a close second.

Other good news stories: https://health4earth.com/2018/01/29/our-world-is-moving-in-the-right-direction/

 

Super Bowl of Recycling

Can the Super Bowl go zero waste? If they can, so can you!  Minneapolis, location of Super Bowl 52, is an incredible place to go waste-free. We have recycle containers everywhere, and we have weekly home compost pick-up.  Hennepin County and Minneapolis are committed to less landfill waste.

I think the NFL is sending an important message, “It is important to reduce our waste!” Yes, one big event is important, and we all need to educate ourselves and try to reduce our own waste. Read about the Super Bowl at zero waste.

Most communities don’t make it as easy as Minneapolis, but in tiny steps, we can all do better.  Everyday I think about how I can generate less waste, and I know for a zero waste mentality to be successful, it must be EASY!

An easy way to reduce waste is to think REUSE. Before you throw something away, buy something new, or recycle something, ask yourself, “How can I reuse this?” I purchase products in glass jars that I will reuse, and I do reuse them.  I believe in real dishes, real silverware, and cloth napkins. My reusable water bottles travel with me, something the NFL doesn’t allow at games!  I reuse my plastic produce bags over and over, and take my reusable containers to fill with bulk items weekly. Hennepin County has a good list of how to start reusing, read it here.  Remember to start easy, and you will get better, as you learn more ways to reduce and reuse.

Cloth napkins are the best!

I would start with cloth napkins as the easiest. As you get into the reuse mindset you will see many things you can do to reuse and reduce on your own. Good Luck!

You don’t need  plastic bottles!

Get out those real dishes, glasses and silverware for your Super Bowl party and have fun.