Tag Archives: nature

Caring, Cooperation Save People from Pollution Scourge

If you live in the U.S. or some other country with strong rules for clean air and water, the most polluted places in the world seem far away. It’s likely your neighbors don’t have radiation poisoning or barrels of pesticide festering in the backyard.

But those in low- and middle-income countries are not so fortunate. They bear the brunt of almost all the cancers, disease and other afflictions caused by pollution. Children are especially vulnerable.

Fortunately, the Global Alliance for Health and Pollution connects needy nations with sources who can help. “GAHP exists so countries don’t have to deal with pollution on their own,” according to Richard Fuller, president of Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth, one of the NGO’s partners. “There are terrific results where countries have done the right things,” adds Stephan Robinson of Green Cross Switzerland.

Here are some success stories from a new report, The Top Ten Countries Turning the Corner on Toxic Pollution: Continue reading

My Painful Meeting with Mindfulness

Handlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy MaddenHandlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy MaddenSometimes, fate needs to knock you right over to get you to pay attention. That’s what it took for me to be mindful. Handlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy MaddenHandlebars latch 2 by Jenifer Joy Madden

It was a winter Saturday morning and I was ready to tackle a long list of home projects, when I took a last peek at my email. A town meeting popped up and suddenly I had to be there. I figured I could also get some exercise if I rode my bike.

The week had been sunny and I was confident the snow that had been covering the trail had melted. I grabbed my foldable, filled the tires and quickly assembled the frame. The latch for the handlebars didn’t look quite right, but it felt secure so I was off and rolling.

Finding the meeting less than scintillating, I grew antsy and was soon rushing back toward home.

By then, the trail was more crowded. Up ahead were a duo of walkers and a small patch of ice. But as I tried to pass between them, my handlebars buckled and I crashed to the pavement.

Stunned and embarrassed, pain searing through my back, I was glad for the help of the pedestrians I had tried to avoid. As one gave me a hand up, the other secured the handlebars—carefully this time. Offering a shaky thanks, I winced my way home with only a cracked rib and a bruised ego.

It took a trip to San Francisco to find out why the accident happened.

I was there for Wisdom 2.0, a conference jammed with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and executives from the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But they weren’t going to talk tech. This gathering was meant to connect people “in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.” Since I’ve written a book on that subject, I was curious to know what “ways” they were talking about. Continue reading

Train Your Brain to be Happy

Young man has head resting on golden retriever's shoulder

Athletes do endless drills to qualify for the Olympics. It takes practice to perfect any skill, whether calligraphy or coding. Now, it may be possible to train your brain for an ongoing sense of well-being.

“There is a lot of evidence that the technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries may have made us more productive and able to do more stuff, but we are not happier,” claims Ofer Leidner, developer of Happify.com. But his creation uses technology “as a means of creating happiness and human to human interaction.” Games and activities on Happify are grounded in science proving that repeating certain behaviors can reroute pathways in the brain to make happiness a habit. The goal of using his platform, says Leidner, is to obtain “a set of skills to use and apply.”

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