The Top 3 Things the Average American Needs to Know

There have been several recent news reports about how little the American people know about things going on around them, like world events, science, and political issues. Quiz yourself and see how you compare:

  • Do antibiotics treat viruses?

  • Is there DNA in our food and should it be labeled?

    • Ummmm…yes there’s DNA in our food! There is DNA in every living organism! Why the hell would we need our food to be labeled if it contains DNA?? Well, 80% of those polled in a recent Food Demand survey would like to know which food products contain DNA!

  • Scientists and the public also seem to differ widely on their opinions about issues such as whether the growing world population will strain our natural resources (scientists: 82%, U.S. Adults: 59%), humans have evolved over time (scientists: 98%, U.S. Adults: 65%), and favoring offshore drilling (scientists: 32%, U.S. Adults: 52%). (Info from the PEW Research Center)

Taking a look at these statistics, it isn’t hard to believe or understand why, even when powerful figures who are highly respected make statements on critical world issues, the public still refuses to listen. If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what you’ve been missing:

  • “No challenge – no challenge – poses greater threat to future generations than climate change….The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.” – President Barack Obama in his 2015 State of the Union Address

  • 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history. – Based on data released by the Japan Meteorological Association (review the data yourself).

  • “…in great part, it is man who has slapped nature in the face. We have in a sense taken over nature.” Climate change will “affect all of humanity, especially the poorest and future generations. What’s more, it represents a serious ethical and moral responsibility.” – Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic Church

Does that cause a little red flag to raise in your head? Sometimes people only hear what they want to hear – what they care about – what immediately impacts them – what they believe. But most of the time it’s important to expand your world view…even if it’s just an inch. I know it takes a lot of effort to learn new things and to keep up with current events, especially if you are working two jobs, have a family, or just don’t care. That’s why I’m throwing you a bone! Here are the top 3 facts you NEED to know about what is really going on in the world around you:

  1. Average global temperatures have increased by 1 degree Fahrenheit during the 20th century. Who cares you ask, 1 degree is nothing – I can’t tell the difference between 79 degrees and 80! According to the NASA website the earth was 5-9 degrees colder than it is today during the last ice age “when the Northeast United States was covered by more than 3,000 feet of ice.” No big deal. Check out this study done by MIT that estimates “with every 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature…tropical regions will see 10 percent heavier rainfall extremes, with possible impacts for flooding in populous regions.”

  2. Two hundred and eighty seven “industrial chemicals and pollutants” were found in umbilical cord blood from American babies, in a study conducted in 2005. This of course means that these chemicals are coursing through the mother’s body and being passed onto children in utero. By industrial chemicals they mean: pesticides, mercury, and other harmful chemicals – 180 of which “cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.”

  3. Medical debt is the #1 reason Americans file personal bankruptcy. This is a government and big business issue, but also a personal issue. We are all responsible for our own personal health and well being, which can reduce our use of and reliance on the healthcare system. “U.S. adults are likelier than those in other countries to struggle to pay their medical bills or to forgo care because of cost.” Check out these links for more information about the healthcare system and debt.

***Disclaimer: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Do you own research. Educate yourself. Form your own opinion.

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Five Easy Ways to Start off the New Year a Little Greener

Happy New Year!

A new year always brings excitement and hope, quickly followed by a sense of feeling overwhelmed by all the things you resolved to change, start, or do more of. So the last thing I want to do is add more to your list! Hopefully one of your resolutions this year is to be a little “greener” in your everyday life, but even if it’s not, here are 5 quick and easy things you can do that will make an impact!

1. Recycle your Christmas Tree.

If you are anything like me, you enjoy keeping your Christmas tree and decorations up a little after the holidays end to enjoy the happiness that they bring. Or, if you are even more like me, you keep putting off taking all the decorations down until it’s the end of January! If this sounds like you, don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to find a place to recycle your Christmas tree. Checkout this website to find a place close to you.

2. Give Away, Give Back.

It’s likely you bought or were gifted new clothes or housewares during the holidays. Instead of throwing away that old toaster or that older pink sweater that was recently replaced, think about donating! Plan a clothing swap with your close friends – everyone brings items they want to get rid of or no longer fit. Throw in a bottle of wine just for fun! 🙂 Take the items that no one picks to Goodwill to give back to community while also lightening your load.

3. Go Vegetarian Once a Week.

So much bang for your buck with this one! Reducing your meat intake and increasing your plant based food intake is good for your health and the environment! A diet with too much meat can contribute to health issues and if you’ve forgotten how I feel about plant based eating, re-read this post. According to Scientific American, a report from 2006 showed that “our diets and, specifically, the meat in them cause more greenhouse gases…than either transportation or industry.” If you’re feeling spunky, try one meal a day without meat.

4. Replace your Light Bulbs.

Go ahead and take the plunge if you haven’t already! Replace all the regular light bulbs in your home with compact florescent bulbs (CFLs). You won’t notice much of a difference until the Fall or this time next year, since that’s the first time you will have to replace them! CFLs last 10-25 times longer than regular bulbs and require 70-90% less energy to run over their lifetime, meaning you’ll also notice a difference in your electric bills. You’re welcome. 🙂

5. Take 20 Minutes to Watch “The Story of Stuff.

This is a short video that points out how our consumerism and consumption patterns are connected to current environmental issues. After you’ve watched it, share it with your friends or on social media! Help spread the word and educate others!