No Need to Shower so Much

Showering is something that a lot of North Americans do everyday: and if you’re one of them then you should stop. Showering daily can actually do more harm to your health than good. So relax about your daily urge to cleanse and just roll with your micro biome!

As we learn more about the relationship between the microbiome and our health, some scientists and journalists have begun weaning themselves from cosmetic products like soap and shampoo. In taking away the bad bacteria, we could be losing too much of the good.

In this episode of If Our Bodies Could Talkthe final in a three-part miniseries on the microbiome—senior editor James Hamblin investigates the health of the microbes on our skin.

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Happy World Oceans Day

The world’s oceans are incredibly important to the overall wellbeing of our planet. They absorb a lot of CO2 and harbour multiple ecosystems that we are still learning about. Despite the importance of the world’s oceans we often ignore their health.

World Oceans Day is today and it’s a reminder how amazing these oceans are and that we ought to do more to protect them while revitalizing areas that have been negatively impacted by climate change.

Climate change is a global problem demanding a global solution. The Paris Agreement has created a framework for climate action around the world. At its last session in Bonn, the World Heritage Committee—which has had a carbon neutral policy for its sessions since 2007—voiced its hope that an agreement would be reached at COP21, and called on all States Parties to mobilize global climate action on the ground. For coral reefs and many other marine ecosystems, keeping climatic warming to the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of 1.5°C is essential. UNESCO has been working for years to track and manage climate impacts.

Read more here and at UNESCO.

How We Can Fend Off Drought

In this TED talk David Sedlak explores options that can be used to fend off drought in cities. The last century saw massive developments that treated water in a very unsustainable way (from dams to pathetic water policies). This century we will have to correct the mistakes of the past and focus on changing how we approach water as an ecological system.

As the world’s climate patterns continue to shift unpredictably, places where drinking water was once abundant may soon find reservoirs dry and groundwater aquifers depleted. In this talk, civil and environmental engineer David Sedlak shares four practical solutions to the ongoing urban water crisis. His goal: to shift our water supply towards new, local sources of water and create a system that is capable of withstanding any of the challenges climate change may throw at us in the coming years.

Underwater Art Gallery

Art galleries are great cultural institutions and seeing one underwater is magnificent. With each installation to the underwater gallery it gets better to explore and better for life. One of the key aspects of this gallery is that it is home to a whole ecosystem.

For sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, the ocean is more than a muse — it’s an exhibition space and museum. Taylor creates sculptures of human forms and mundane life on land and sinks them to the ocean floor, where they are subsumed by the sea and transformed from lifeless stone into vibrant habitats for corals, crustaceans and other creatures. The result: Enigmatic, haunting and colorful commentaries about our transient existence, the sacredness of the ocean and its breathtaking power of regeneration.

Shower Once a Week

In the developed world people tend to use more water than they should, in fact water consumption in many nations have done irreparable damage. Canadians are really bad at water conservation and we have a lot to learn from other places in how we regulate our water usage. Governments can only do so much with policy to curb industrial and individual usage. There is something you can do everyday to help lower your impact on the ecosystem: shower less.

Yes, you should spend less time cleaning yourself. Showering everyday isn’t good for your skin and it’s really really really (like really) bad for the environment. Even cutting out one shower a week can save you time, money, and your local ecosystem.

The daily bath or shower, then, is terrible for the environment and our bank balances. That’s one reason I have reverted to a weekly shower, with a daily sink-wash that includes my underarms and privates. But there are health consequences too. I first became aware of these when I was a touring ballet dancer and met a friend whose skin had been severely damaged by excessive use of soap products. He was condemned to treat himself with medical creams for the rest of his life. According to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, parents should stop bathing babies and toddlers daily because early exposure to dirt and bacteria may help make skin less sensitive, even preventing conditions like eczema in the long run. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends three times a week or less as toddlers’ skin is more sensitive; and as the elderly have drier skin, they should not be frequently washing all of their bodies with soap.

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