Local Greenbelts can Reduce Depression and Obesity

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Living near green space will make your life better. New studies coming out of Europe point out that proximity to nature has an impact on levels of depression, as in there is less depression. If you have the option to keep local forests (or any green space) then you should keep it! Not only are nature areas good for the mind, they’re also good for the body. The same research has pointed out that obesity rates are lower in places where nature is accessible.

The benefits aren’t just for individuals because fitter, happier people is better for society at large.

Overall, nature is an under-recognised healer, the paper says, offering multiple health benefits from allergy reductions to increases in self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

A study team of 11 researchers at the Institute for European environmental policy (IEEP) spent a year reviewing more than 200 academic studies for the report, which is the most wide-ranging probe yet into the dynamics of health, nature and wellbeing.

The report makes use of several studies that depict access to nature as being inextricably linked to wealth inequality, because deprived communities typically have fewer natural environments within easy reach.

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!

What You Can do Now to Mitigate Climate Change

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You probably feel overwhelmed by the seemingly infinite ways that climate change alters the planet and your life. Thankfully, you don’t need to sit ideally by and watch the world get too hot. You can start making a difference today by just monitoring what you do and where you get stuff from. Over at Digg they have compiled simple things that you can start doing today to begin mitigating your impact on the planet.

Think About How You Travel

According to the EPA, in 2014 transportation accounted for just over a quarter of all US greenhouse gas emissions. Granted, not all of that can be chalked up to you jumping in your car and driving to work. In addition to personal automobiles there are also planes and trucks contributing to the problem. A 2016 MIT study found that if every car owner went out en masse and bought an electric vehicle the amount of transportation greenhouse gas emissions would drop by around 30 percent.

Of course, not everyone can just go out and buy an electric vehicle. But there’s still plenty you can do. You can drive more efficiently, make sure your tires are properly inflated, carpool, take public transportation, start riding a bicycle to places.

According to the EPA, just trying to find some way to drive two less days per week will reduce your annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2 tons annually. That’s a 12 percent reduction in your own personal greenhouse gas emissions right there.

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A Water Bottle to Help Others Drink

In too many places around the world potable water is hard to get, and a recent fundraising campaign is trying to change that. Brita teamed up with Me to We to sell a water bottle that will help pay for a drinking well in rural Kenya. It’s key that the bottle they’re selling is reusable – not one of those one-off disposable bottles.

Bottled water is a ridiculous commodity in places where tap water is drinkable, like Canada. If you regularly drink bottled water in communities with drinkable tap water – please stop buying bottled water! It’s not as well regulated as tap water and it’s insanely wasteful. The Globe and Mail published a great article outlining the troubles of bottled water and the culture around drinking it.

Today is world water day and it’s about time to commit to stop drinking water from an inefficient source.

So instead of throwing money at a wasteful bottle of water get yourself a reusable one you can fill from a tap.

The statement bottle, on sale starting March 1st is part of Brita® Canada’s continuing partnership with WE, an organization that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. Their joint pursuit of sustainable change shows through initiatives like Filter for Good™ where every purchase of a Brita specially-marked ME to WE product supports a borehole in Irkaat, Kenya, which provides the community of more than 1,800 with access to clean water.

According to the United Nations, over 80 per cent of wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused and 1.8 billion people get their drinking water from a source contaminated with feces which puts them at risk of contracting disease like cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Globally, unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene kill 842,000 people in a year.

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This River is a Person in New Zealand Law

The Whanganui River its the first river to have the same legal stats as a person. The New Zealand federal government recently passed a bill granting the river legal personhood. This means that the river is afforded all the rights as a person under New Zealand law. The river’s rights to clean air, legal representation, and other protections people get are now granted to the river itself. This will protect not just the river, it also represents a change in how NZ thinks about the law.

With progress and time we should see other natural entities be granted the same protection as humanity in other jurisdictions.

Long revered by New Zealand’s Maori people, the river’s interests will now be represented by two people.
The Maori had been fighting for over 160 years to get this recognition for their river, a minister said.
“I know the initial inclination of some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality,” said New Zealand’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.
“But it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies.”
The Whanganui River, New Zealand’s third-longest, will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes, known as iwi, and one from the Crown.
The recognition allows it to be represented in court proceedings.

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!

Building the WikiHouse of the Future

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Affordable housing is a problem for every country and over the years there have been initiatives to lower the cost of being a home, today some of those are efforts in digitization. The WikiHouse project is all about lowering the cost to design a house by providing people the files needed to plan and build their new home. The cost of construction is obviously up to where the house is built. The goal is to lower the capital costs through the digitization of knowledge.

Their mission:

  1. To put the design solutions for building low-cost, low-energy, high-performance homes into the hands of every citizen and business on earth.
  2. To use digitisation to make it easier for existing industries to design, invest-in, manufacture and assemble better, more sustainable, more affordable homes for more people.
  3. To grow a new, distributed housing industry, comprising many citizens, communities and small businesses developing homes and neighbourhoods for themselves, reducing our dependence on top-down, debt-heavy mass housing systems.

Read more.