Canada’s New Budget Support Climate Friendly Farming

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This week the Canadian government announced the new budget and in it are some climate-friendly moves. Farmers in Canada who practice sustainable farming practices are going to get a little more help and farmers who are using unsustainable practices will be encouraged to change what they do. Industrial farming is horrible for the environment, and arguably bad for people, so anything we can do to avoid it is helpful. The 20th century witnessed the overuse of fertilizers to make up for unsustainable industrial farming.

Reducing the use of nitrogen fertilizer sits at the heart of those recommendations — as it does in the federal budget. When applied to fields in excess, nitrogen fertilizer is broken down by microbes into nitrous oxide, explained Sean Smukler, a professor of soil science at the University of British Columbia.

That greenhouse gas is roughly 300 times more potent than CO2 and accounts for roughly half of Canada’s agricultural emissions. But soil testing and agronomic support — both of which are also funded in the budget — can help farmers substantially reduce their fertilizer use.

Money will also be available to help farmers plant cover crops and use rotational grazing. Both practices promote soil health, carbon sequestration and better long-term productivity. In the short-term, however, implementing them can be too expensive for many farmers already stretched thin by high costs and low revenues.

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A Meta-Analysis of Well Being Reveals how to Help Your Mental Health

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Many people are feeling worn out, down, and stressed after living through a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. People in nations which reacted swiftly and took scientific approaches to containing the spread are doing better, but those of us in areas with poor leadership (I’m in “Conservative” Ontario) the pandemic is stronger than ever. With no end in sight for this pandemic how can we keep our mental health?

We can turn to a recent meta-analysis of mental well-being studies for some guidance. Researchers looked through 420 research trials to find what commonalities exist and if there is anything we can learn form it. There is, and you can start practicing things to help you right away.

Amongst the many forms of interventions included, two in particular stood out for their consistent associations with positive findings across trial cohorts: mindfulness-based interventions, and multi-component PPIs (positive psychological interventions), which package together a range of treatment methods and activities designed to cultivate positive feelings, behaviors, and thinking patterns.

To a lesser extent, other interventions also appeared to deliver benefits, including acceptance and commitment therapy-based interventions, cognitive therapy, singular PPIs, and interventions focusing on reminiscence.

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You Don’t Have to Love Your Job

Too many people are told to follow their passion and find their dream job above all else. This is bad advice. Instead, go get a job that you can do, pays you well, and is filled with respect. There is no reason to be a sycophant at work.

Sarah Jaffe recently wrote a book titled Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone and in it she explores our modern and utterly bizarre expectation that you should love your job. Over at the Next Big Idea Club she highlighted five key points from her book, and it’s worth looking at.

2. The idea that we should like our work is actually a relatively new concept.

The way we work and the way we think about work have changed over time. And so while humans have long been presumed to do some kinds of work for the love of it, that’s an expectation that has grown and spread from a couple of types of work to pretty much everything. The idea that we work in order to find fulfillment, rather than a paycheck, wasn’t particularly widespread even just a couple of generations ago. When you’re digging coal or building cars for a living, no one expects you to do it because you like it. You did it because it paid decently—or because it paid at all.

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Want to be Successful? Spend Time with Your Friends

Are you worried you aren’t successful? Don’t be! The greatest success one can have is found in their social network, and size doesn’t matter. According to a 75-year long study done by Harvard the path to success is spending time with friends. Take a moment out of your day today and send somebody you know a nice message.

If you don’t have a large group of friends, or don’t have a partner, don’t worry. A person only needs a few close relationships to be happy.

“It’s not just the number of friends you have,” Waldinger says, “and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship. It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”

It’s a reminder to carve out more time to connect with people who you enjoy being around, sure. But unlike landing a new job or buying a new car, you many not see changes to your mood overnight. “Relationships are messy and they’re complicated,” says Waldinger. Investments in them can take time to pay dividends.

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Happy International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is really all about having a healthy diet to stay healthy, and this is the year to increase your apple consumption. 2021 is International Year of Fruits and Vegetables as celebrated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Use this as inspiration to try some fruit and veggies which you’re curious about and find a new way to cook with them.

Maybe this is the year you plant your own “victory garden” and grow a small amount of produce on your own.

Previously we celebrated the best FAO year: pulses.

Objectives of the IYFV 2021

  1. Raising awareness of and directing policy attention to the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption;
  2. Promoting diversified, balanced, and healthy diets and lifestyles through fruits and vegetables consumption;
  3. Reducing losses and waste in fruits and vegetables food systems;
  4. Sharing best practices on:
    1. Promotion of consumption and sustainable production of fruits and vegetables that contributes to sustainable food systems;
    2. Improved sustainability of storage, transport, trade, processing, transformation, retail, waste reduction and recycling, as well as interactions among these processes;
    3. Integration of smallholders including family farmers into local, regional, and global production, value/supply chains for sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables, recognizing the contributions of fruits and vegetables, including farmers’ varieties/landraces, to their food security, nutrition, livelihoods and incomes;
    4. Strengthening the capacity of all countries, specially developing countries, to adopt innovative approaches and technology in combating loss and waste of fruits and vegetables.

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What you can do: eat more fruits and veggies! Maybe even start growing some in your garden

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