Another way in which the impact of our glaciers disappearing is already starting to be felt –
High up in the mountains of Montana’s Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.
In fact, these flies live pretty much exclusively downstream from glaciers, snowfields, and frigid alpine springs, and they have evolved a nifty suite of antifreeze compounds to make it all possible. It’s a pretty cool trick — one that has helped the insects survive for hundreds of millions of years in frigid conditions that have sent others packing. But what makes these insects special may also be their undoing — and soon.
In November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier) and the meltwater lednian stonefly (Lednia tumana) to the Endangered Species List, both under the designation of threatened. And while the two species are extremely sensitive to pollution, as all stoneflies are, another very significant risk factor is what triggered the listing.
“All of the glaciers in Glacier National Park are expected to be gone by 2030,” said Noah Greenwald, director of endangered species for the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Like, all of them all of them. Ten years from now. And without giant chunks of ice to chill their streams and supply life-sustaining meltwater, the stoneflies cannot exist.
Source: In Glacier National Park, Ice Isn’t the Only Thing That’s Disappearing – EcoWatch
The pandemic’s effect on births is unexpected in one way! –
A reported dramatic drop in the number of early pre-term babies born during COVID-19 lockdown has doctors all over the world pondering: how big a factor is stress on the timing of births?
In Ireland and Denmark, doctors have observed that the number of babies born prematurely plummeted during the coronavirus lockdown in April and March, but the reasons remain a curious mystery.
“When things are stressful women do one of two things, they either birth the baby quickly or they keep the baby in” said Hannah Dahlen, Professor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University.
“It probably dates backs to the ancient roots. If you were out in the desert and you were going to be potentially attacked by wild animals, you want have the baby quickly and run or you want to keep the baby in and run.”
So, are women keeping their babies in psychologically until it’s safe time to let them out?”
Source: ‘Why are the nurseries so quiet?’ Global research observes drop in premature births in lockdown
A helpful guide! –
Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.
Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.
Yep, the right amount of humidity in the air can:
relieve dry skin and lips
prevent dry throat
soothe dry sinuses and nasal irritation
reduce the likelihood of infections and allergies
Plants increase humidity in the air through a process called evapotranspiration. Water from the soil makes its way up through the roots of the plant, through the stems, and up to the leaves (transpiration), where it’s evaporated into the air through pores on the leaves, called stomata.
Ready to work on your green thumb? We’ll cover which plants to get and which ones to avoid, and even throw in a few pro tips to help you make the most of your plants.
Spider plants are one of the best plants you can buy for increasing indoor humidity, according to research from 2015.
Even NASA agrees. It did a study in the ’80s that found spider plants are able to remove toxins like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from indoor air.
Perhaps the coolest part of all? They’re super easy to grow.
Source: 12 Houseplants to Refresh Dry Indoor Air – EcoWatch
Now that we know so much about how important early detection of autism is, more research that helps! –
Infants with particular patterns of electrical activity in the brain go on to have high levels of autism traits as toddlers, a new study shows.
Specifically, babies who have unusually high or low synchrony between certain brain waves — as measured by electroencephalography (EEG) — at 3 months old tend to score high on a standardized scale of autism-linked behaviors when they are 18 months old. These levels of synchrony reflect underlying patterns of connectivity in the brain.
The findings suggest that EEG could help clinicians identify autistic babies long before these children show behaviors flagged by standard diagnostic tests.
The work “reinforces the concept and the truism that brain development is affected before autism diagnoses are made,” says lead researcher Shafali Spurling Jeste, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles. “We believe that we could work to start rewiring the brain if we intervene effectively and early enough. That message, quite simply, is a very important one.”
Source: Infants’ brain waves may foretell autism traits | Spectrum | Autism Research News
How the importance of how we build now has consequences for all of us in the future –
Heating with coal, oil and natural gas accounts for around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. But that’s something we can change, says Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House Institute in the western German city of Darmstadt.
“Buildings can be powered in a climate-neutral way, and that’s possible worldwide with renewable energies,” he told DW, adding that a crucial factor is to make buildings more efficient so no energy is wasted.”
With good insulation and ventilation systems, it’s possible to achieve energy savings — compared to conventional buildings — of 80-90% in new buildings and 75-80% through energy-efficient renovation in old buildings.
“The remaining demand could then be met with a mix of renewable energies. And this combination can vary, depending on the region, says Feist, who is a professor of physics and a pioneer of efficient construction methods.”I see district heating with renewable energies, and heating with ambient heat and heat pumps as important sources here,” he says.
Source: Climate-Friendly Heating: How to Stay Warm Without Fossil Fuels – EcoWatch
Why it’s so important to know as much about the replacements we use when it comes to environmental protection –
Substances used for air conditioning in almost all new cars are building up in the environment and may pose a threat to human health, researchers say.
These “ozone friendly” chemicals have been introduced to replace products that were damaging the ozone layer.
Now widely used across industry, these alternatives do not break down in the environment.Scientists have now found increasing levels of these chemicals in Arctic ice samples dating back to the 1990s.
The Montreal Protocol is regarded as one of the most successful environmental treaties ever adopted.
Signed back in 1987, it committed countries to regulate their use of chlorofluorocarbon chemicals (CFCs) that had recently been found to be depleting the ozone layer.
A growing hole in the ozone over Antarctica had been detected in the mid-1980s and there was serious concern about the threat it posed to human health.
CFCs were then widely used in refrigeration, in air conditioning, as solvents and in aerosol sprays.In the intervening decades, alternative products that are less harmful to the ozone layer were introduced.
As a result, researchers have reported progress in reducing the size of the hole. However, there are now concerns that the solution may be inadvertently damaging the environment and threatening human health.
Source: Ozone layer: Concern grows over threat from replacement chemicals – BBC News
What a horrific reminder of how we need to clean up our oceans and our act double-quick –
A baby sea turtle that washed ashore in Boca Raton, Florida last week had 104 pieces of plastic in it stomach. The plastic products ranged from wrappers to balloons to bottle labels to twist ties used to cinch trash bags, as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton shared a photograph on Facebook of the turtle next to all the pieces of plastic that it had ingested. “It was weak and emaciated. I could just tell it wasn’t doing well,” said Emily Mirowski, a sea turtle rehabilitation assistant at the center, who examined the turtle before it died, as CNN reported.
“As she cut into it, it was just like, whoa. Every time she cut through there was more plastic coming out of its stomach,” said Whitney Crowder, the Nature Center’s sea turtle rehabilitation coordinator, as the Guardian reported.
While the image of the turtle next to its plastic is troubling and surprising to the many thousands of people who have shared the photograph on Facebook, it is anything but surprising to Crowder and her colleagues.
Source: Dead Baby Turtle Found With 104 Pieces of Plastic in Stomach – EcoWatch
Personally, we think the natural look goes best with nails! –
Like all things that are easy and convenient, one tends to ignore the downsides. Gel nails are the manicure equivalent of ready meals: quick, convenient, tasty-looking, but not exactly good for you.
It’s not just the fact that they dry under UV light — at best ageing, at worst cancer-causing — it’s also that they contain an array of potentially harmful ingredients.
There have been questions about the toxicity of gel nails ever since they became ubiquitous a few years ago. The UV lamps which are used to dry the nails can, say some experts, cause as much damage as sunbeds — in fact there have been several documented diagnoses of skin cancer on the hands of frequent users.
Added to that is the potential for infection as a result of keeping product on the nail for extended periods of time and the fact that the removal process contributes to a thinning of the nail and, if done badly, can also damage the nail bed.
But perhaps the aspect that worries Bastien the most is the potential for absorption of toxic chemicals through the nail itself, which is porous, and the surrounding cuticles.
The British Association of Dermatologists recently warned that gel polish is a leading cause of methacrylate allergy (methacrylates are a type of plastic polymer used to form the gel), which can cause irritation, itching and swelling on any part of the body.
Meanwhile, in 2015 a study found triphenyl phosphate, a powerful hormone-disrupting compound found in nail polishes (it helps the colour adhere) was higher in women who had regular manicures.
There is no empirical evidence to say this substance is toxic in humans, but the same chemical caused mice testes to shrink in tests. And formaldehyde, toluene and dibutyl phthalate are standard ingredients in most polishes, gel or otherwise.
Source: SARAH VINE: Why it could be handy to take off your nail polish before bed | Daily Mail Online
Wow, the pervasiveness of the chemicals in cigarettes means that they have a far more profound effect than we realise –
A new study out of Yale University says thirdhand smoke — the tobacco contaminants that adhere to walls, bedding, carpet and other surfaces until a room smells like an ashtray — can actually cling to a smoker’s body and clothes as well.
Despite new regulations, FDA still fails to protect youth from e-cigarette epidemic, American Lung Association says.
Even more disturbing: The study found those chemical exposure levels could be the equivalent of between one and 10 cigarettes by the end of the movie.
“People are substantial carriers of thirdhand smoke contaminants to other environments,” said study author Drew Gentner, an associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering at Yale.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, may be the first to show that people can transmit nicotine and other potentially toxic chemicals via their clothing after smoking, he said.
Source: Thirdhand smoke from clothes can deposit hazardous chemicals, study says – CNN
Yikes! Why chemical exposure is such a big issue for our little ones –
Young children from low-income homes whose mothers reported frequent use of toxic chemicals such as household cleaners were more likely to show delays in language development by age 2, a new study found.
In addition, the children scored lower on a test of cognitive development. These developmental delays were evident even when the researchers took into account factors such as the education and income of mothers, which are also linked to their children’s language and cognitive skills.
The findings provide additional evidence of the need for pediatricians and other health care providers to counsel parents of young children to restrict their use of toxic household chemicals, said Hui Jiang, lead author of the study and senior research associate at The Ohio State University.
Source: Household chemical use linked to child language delays
We are all for fur-free (COMPLETELY fur free) fashion! Why it’s so important to know what we are replacing our products with –
Fashion giant ASOS has banned suppliers from using animal-derived materials including mohair, silk and fur. Next month will see the first ever Vegan Fashion Week in Los Angeles — and even the Duchess of Sussex, has spoken of her penchant for vegan ‘leather’ trousers.
All well and good in theory, but how ‘guilt free’ are the vegan materials being used in place of traditional, animal-sourced ones?Take fake fur, for example. Last month, the head of a parliamentary inquiry into the fashion industry called for it to be relabelled ‘plastic fur’ to make consumers aware of what they are buying.‘
A lot of big retailers and brands have removed animal fur from their products but simply replaced it with plastics,’ said Mary Creagh, chairwoman of the Commons environmental audit committee.
Made from fossil fuels, not only will fake fur never biodegrade, but it is made of polyester, a plastic-based fabric also commonly used to make fleeces.
Washing the material loosens plastic microfibres, which end up in the world’s oceans.
Source: We reveal the guilty secret about vegan fashion | Daily Mail Online
A helpful list! –
When you’re feeling down, it can be tempting to turn to food to lift your spirits. However, the sugary, high calorie treats that many people resort to have negative consequences of their own.
Thus, you may wonder whether any healthy foods can improve your mood.Recently, research on the relationship between nutrition and mental health has been emerging. Yet, it’s important to note that mood can be influenced by many factors, such as stress, environment, poor sleep, genetics, mood disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.
Therefore, it’s difficult to accurately determine whether food can raise your spirits.
Nonetheless, certain foods have been shown to improve overall brain health and certain types of mood disorders.Here are 9 healthy foods that may boost your mood.
1. Fatty Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of essential fats that you must obtain through your diet because your body can’t produce them on its own.Fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna are rich in two types of omega-3s — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — that are linked to lower levels of depression.
Omega-3s contribute to the fluidity of your brain’s cell membrane and appear to play key roles in brain development and cell signaling.While research is mixed, one review of clinical trials showed that in some studies, consuming omega-3’s in the form of fish oil lower depression scores.
Source: 9 Healthy Foods That Lift Your Mood – EcoWatch