Surferbird News-Links, 3rd Edition

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Welcome to Surferbird News-Links. Join me on an exploration of health, food, science, and the environment. For more information on the name and origin of Surferbird News-Links, see here. Oh, I almost forgot; there's always an earworm at the end of every edition.What's an earworm? you ask. Well, scroll on down to discover!

Surferbird News-Links, a weekly summary from across the web

Giving

Living on Less Campaign - Just a reminder, if you haven't seen this already, Village Enterprise has a campaign running May 2-6 to help end extreme poverty in East Africa. Could you eat on $1.90 a day? Check out the link above for more information about their campaign and this link to learn more about Village Enterprise.

News-Links

Environment

Half a degree change in the Earth's temperature makes a big difference - And the math ain't looking so good. In other words, a 1.5 degree increase is far better than a 2.0 degree increase. As of now, we're on track for a 3.5 Celsius degree increase, even with the Paris Agreement.

And here's a chart that shows where we stand with temperature changes - a not so nice graph that says it all.

Is carbon pricing the answer to climate change? - Click on the link to learn all about carbon pricing, including cap-and-trade schemes and the carbon tax.

Carbon tax not the end-all be-all - I know the title above suggests that a carbon tax would solve everything, but it's my job to keep us all on our toes. Here's another point of view. (Hint - it will take a combination of solutions, a carbon tax being just one of them.)

What have we learned since the last Earth Day? - If I ramble on, I'll spoil it for you. But there's some fascinating and surprisingly good news in this article. Okay, I'll give you one spoiler: a new coral reef was discovered at the mouth of the Amazon River; that sounds like pretty big news to me!

Were you considering going on a cruise this year?  - Don't you just love me? You're waiting for the bad news. Most cruise liners are an environmental nightmare. But did you see that little word, most? This is an excellent article about cruise liners and how they impact the environment, but it also includes a list of ten companies that are definitely a cut above their competition. Although not perfect, these companies are setting new standards in the cruise industry. So check out the list, and go on that cruise!

Food

A time to remember Cesar Chavez - April 23, 1993, the date of his passing - Currently, farm workers must work ten hours a day to be eligible for overtime pay. The Phase-In Overtime for Ag Workers Act of 2016, if passed in California, would change the rules, so the farm workers would be eligible for overtime at eight hours a day.

Mountain cheese in the Iron Age - Evidence suggests that humans living in the Swiss Alps, 1000 BC, were able to make cheese. This was quite an accomplishment for our ancestors, given the harshness of the environment and the know-how and laborious tasks involved in the process of cheese making.

Would you eat Herring? - This article gives tips on preparing this often neglected nutritious, sustainable fish.

Health

Sleep loss bad for blood vessels - I don't need to say much about this one, except - do your best to get some rest.

Do you live in a green neighborhood? - I don't mean does your neighborhood recycle and care about the environment; no, literally, is your living space green with trees and vegetation? The good news is that there are numerous health benefits to being surrounding by the tranquil beauty of plants. Check it out.

Using positive memories to treat mental health - I have used this technique throughout my life - reflecting on positive memories to get me through the tough times. For some, though, I can see how this could backfire: more favorable past experiences compared to discomfort in the present might leave one resentful or even more depressed. Still, I found the study promising, and it gives us all the more reason to create rich and loving environments for our children.

Inspiration

Paris agreement could activate by the end of 2016 - Did you catch the image of John Kerry signing the Paris Agreement on climate change while kissing his two-year-old granddaughter? If you didn't, it's worth a click on the link. As we go about our daily lives, this is a powerful visual reminder of why tackling climate change is so important, one that hopefully will motivate us to make the necessary changes.

Eileen Fisher and sustainable fashion - What I liked most about this company is that Eileen Fisher knows her environmental footprint isn't perfect. She acknowledges that there's so much more to learn, and she's honest about that on her website. I'm so impressed with her knowledge of textile production and her desire to make a difference in the world of fashion. Take a look to learn more about the environmental impacts of fabrics and how Eileen Fisher is on the cutting edge of changing how we look at fashion. I'll be adding her company to my Products and Resources for a Healthier Planetpage. Check out this page for a look at the research she's funded on microfibers in our oceans.

Environmentally friendly backyard shelters for birds and bees - This article is going to keep me busy adding even more products to my resource page - beautifully crafted environments for your backyard friends.

Book to share with children and adults on John Muir - I couldn't put this book down, long after my son lost interest. The above link is to a previous blog post and book review.

Activists built a cabin to stop a gas pipeline- Would you do this? A group in Massachusetts did. Thoreau would be proud of them.

Article in The Atlantic containing links to images of Earth - In celebration of Earth Day, check out these stunning images of our lovely planet.

And this leads us to my favorite part of Surferbird News-Links - music.

Music

And now we come to a close of this week's edition of Surferbird News-Links. As I was writing this post, the song that became my earworm was If I Had a Hammer (performed by Peter, Paul, and Mary).

I chose this song, or rather it chose me, to honor the group in Massachusetts mentioned above, who took out their hammers and did something to change their part of the world, thereby, making the world a better place for all of us.

This also was one of the first songs I learned to play on my guitar. I love how after writing about the discouraging consequences of our warming earth followed by the positive steps individuals and groups are taking to make a difference, this song energizes that can-do spirit to carry us all through this next week and the weeks to come. It's a tribute to the potential for love and participation in the community at large - Earth. Enjoy.

Peace out,

Laura