Guess What? Spending Time in Nature Actually Improves Your Mental Health & Productivity

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When was the last time you went outside just to enjoy nature? If it’s been a while, it might be time to head outdoors — especially if your mental health or productivity could use a boost. That’s because nature has been shown time and again to have healing benefits to those who simply spend time in the fresh air, around lush foliage, taking in incredible landscapes. But what exactly are the benefits of spending time in nature? Here are four ways the outdoors can improve your mental health and stoke your productivity.

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One Thing Everyone Must Understand About Drinking Water

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In most U.S. households, it’s no big deal to get up in the middle of the night for a drink of water. It happens to many of us, and we don’t give it much of a second thought. Despite some notable recent exceptions, there is an abundance of clean and safe drinking water in this country. But do you really know where your drinking water comes from? Do you know about the infrastructure needed to deliver water to millions of homes each and every day? For many people, the water infrastructure issue came to the forefront during the crisis in Flint, where water from the Flint River was 19 times more corrosive than water from Detroit. The state Department of Environmental Quality violated federal law by not treating the river water with an anti-corrosive agent, according to a class-action law suit. The situation in Flint is one example of the country’s crumbling water infrastructure. Six billion gallons of treated water is lost each day due to leaky pipes, and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates that we need $1 trillion to meet demands over the next 25 years.

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Bumblebees Across America are Dying but What is the Cause?

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Bumblebees are dying all over the world — the United States has even added one species of bee to the endangered species list as of the beginning of 2017. Why are bumblebees dying, and what sort of impact will that have on agriculture? Colony collapse disorder is one of the main things being blamed for the drop in bumble bee populations. This occurs when the worker bees disappear from a bee hive — the queen and immature bees are left behind, but there are no workers left to collect food. Without the food resources provided by worker bees, a hive cannot survive, so the immature bees and the queen eventually die off, causing the whole structure of the hive to collapse. Other than eliminating the pesticides that are killing our bees, how can you help protect the bees that make our produce section possible? Here are three ways.

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Being an Environmental Optimist When Things Seem Bad

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I wasn’t born an optimist. At least I don’t think so. Not sure what the balance of nature versus nurture is, but until my mid-20’s, I was one of those annoying people that had a knack for finding the worst-case scenario in every situation. There was a tectonic shift in my world-view not long after I made it through the quarter century mark. And I began what has been another quarter century plus challenge to retrain my neuropathways to seek out the positive in all situations. Most days, the glass is half full; some days my opinion on the status of the water in the glass is neutral; and occasionally, the glass is just dry (heavy sigh) — the plight of human existence? Here are 6 ways to be an environmental optimist despite the sometimes tragic and overwhelming news.

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Trump’s Budget Proposal Means More Women Exposed to Toxic Chemicals

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At the end of March, President Trump released his budget proposal. And what is a budget, other an expression of a statement of values. Think about it: what do you care about, and how is that translated into your daily spending? Where do you choose to spend your money? It appears that science and research in general are under attack within the Trump Administration. This applies to critical health research as well. The largest cuts in the budget proposal are to the Environmental Protection Agency. The proposal to cut 31% of the agency’s funding has troubling implications for numerous programs that ensure people’s ability to live in healthy and vibrant communities. Let’s look at how programs that address toxic chemicals will be impacted.

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Coal in ‘Freefall’ Worldwide, Report Finds

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The coal industry is in “freefall” worldwide according to the latest annual survey from environmental groups Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and CoalSwarm. According to the survey, new construction and coal plant permits in China and India have sharply dropped off, while aging coal plants were retired across the U.S. and Europe. (The U.S. saw its 250th coal plant retirement on Monday.) The decline of coal has been felt for decades in places like rural West Virginia, and while Trump campaigned on a promise to revive the industry, the survey shows that its decline may be inevitable—while the market share of renewable energy, and potential for sustainable jobs in that sector, continues to rise.

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Here’s One FUN Thing You Can Do To Save The Earth

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Intelligent beauties respect the planet. So what’s a person to do when you know there’s more to being gorgeous than the latest hot lipstick hue and the perfect sweep of eye shadow? Make conscious buying choices. When you purchase Ecco Bella products you are honoring yourself and the environment. We, as a company, support regenerative agriculture. What is Regenerative Agriculture? Recognizing that our planet does not offer infinite resources, regenerative agriculture takes on the responsibility of improving the soil and the environment.

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Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

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While it may seem obvious that a good hike through a forest or up a mountain can cleanse your mind, body, and soul, science is now discovering that hiking can actually change your brain… for the better! Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, hiking in nature can reduce rumination. Many of us often find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts, which takes us out of the enjoyment of the moment at best and leads us down a path to depression and anxiety at worst. But a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin.

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Spring Has Arrived 20 Days Early in Parts of the U.S. — According to Plants and Trees

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According to the National Phenology Network (NPN), a biological research organization that works with the US Geological Survey to track the cyclical behavior of plant life across the country, this year has been marked by an unusually warm winter, which has led plants to begin spring rhythms very early. With each new leaf index map the NPN releases, the region of the country that’s experiencing a premature spring has grown including Maryland and Virginia — spring is already here. On the most recent one, released, Monday, that region includes New York.

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85% of Tampons, Pads and Other Feminine Care Products Contaminated with Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing, Endocrine-Disrupting Glyphosate

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Typically we take for granted the safety of cotton products such as gauze, bandages, swabs, pads, wipes — and even feminine products, like tampons and sanitary pads. But a 2015 Argentinian study should give us pause for thought. As it turns out, researchers from the University of La Plata found that a vast majority of these products contain glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s wildly popular Roundup herbicide and the same chemical that’s considered a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. If that’s not enough to get your attention, glyphosate is also associated with IQ loss/intellectual disability, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obesity (both child and adult), diabetes, infertility and cardiovascular disease. Needless to say, this isn’t the kind of chemical you want absorbed by wounds, or worse, through the vagina.

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