News to me, at least: mega e-tailer Net-a-Porter is highlighting beauty and fashion products created with a sustainable future in mind.
From natural skincare to organically sourced materials, items in the NET SUSTAIN collection meet at least one of eight key attributes that align with the fashion and beauty industries’ goals for positive impact on human, animal, and environmental welfare.
Of course, not shopping — or shopping vintage and pre-owned items — would be even better, but sometimes the heart just wants what it wants.
If the word “drone” conjures negative thoughts of spying and remote warfare, here’s something cheerful to contemplate.
Drones and digital tags are helping scientists study humpback whales in remote areas of the Antarctic, where in-person access is limited.
A partnership among Duke University Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab (MaRRS), Friedlaender Lab, California Ocean Alliance, and the World Wildlife Fund is using drone photography to study how the whales feed, how healthy they are, and how they’re being affected by climate change. Drone images are also used to count local populations.
Now, a brush with the law might end with a brush in the hand.
Begun as a pilot program for teens in 2015, Project Reset in New York City offers the police a constructive alternative to prosecuting anyone arrested for nonviolent, minor crimes such as trespassing or shoplifting.
Individuals may be able to avoid court — and a criminal record — by voluntarily participating in art classes, a gallery walk, or counseling sessions. The philosophy: education and reflection are more effective than punishment.
Here’s how it works: Police inform someone arrested for a low-level offense that he or she may be eligible for Project Reset. After prosecutors review each case, those who qualify are offered a chance to engage in three hours of programming rather than going to court.
Participants are offered voluntary referrals to social services, such as job training, counseling, and substance abuse treatment. If they successfully complete the intervention, they never set foot in a courtroom. Instead, the local district attorney’s office declines to prosecute the case and their arrest record is sealed.
Got stress? Lately I’ve seen several mainstream press mentions of nervines, natural herbs that are reported to help support the nervous system.
These include tonics made from organic skullcap and oat tops, mildly calming herbs such as catnip and chamomile, and stronger relaxants such as valerian root and hops.
Lavender and chamomile tea are pretty mainstream these days but here are several I didn’t know about, per a few websites. Many are staple folk remedies that have been used for centuries.
Have any of you tried any of these? I can’t personally vouch for them and since herbs aren’t regulated the way drugs have to be, it’s always wise to consult a physician about dosing and possible side effects. Still, I’m intrigued. Any recommendations?
Oat tops – Although they may not produce an immediate physical feeling of relaxation, oat tops are called a superfood for the nervous system, meant to support nerve functioning over time. Suggested for anyone who is overworked or relies on caffeine to get through the day, this herb is said to calm the nerves, reduce fatigue, relieve emotional instability, and help restore peace and tranquility to over-stressed and chronically upset people.
Skullcap – Helps relieve occasional tension and stress, circular thoughts, and nervousness. Can be used throughout the day during stressful situations or at night before bed to calm worried thoughts. I’m curious to try this one. Considered to have anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, herbalists recommend skullcap for muscle tension, insomnia, chronic headaches and relaxation.
Chamomile – A classic, relaxing nighttime tea, the herb is also helpful for relieving mild daily mental stress. If you don’t like the taste, try adding a little lemon and honey.
Lavender – This lovely calming herb is often used in aromatherapy applications. Wonderful in the bath or shower, massage oils, pillows, room sprays, and fragrance.
Lemon balm – Sunshine in plant form, this citrusy herb helps with nervous exhaustion, gloom, and restlessness, while also providing pure aromatic pleasure. Rub a leaf between your fingers and inhale deeply for an immediate mood boost.
Catnip – Gentle, calming herb suggested for sleeplessness in children and the elderly. Are we all cats at heart?
California poppy – Used for its calming properties, this plant helps promote relaxation in those seeking rest. Picture that wonderful scene in The Wizard of Oz!
Passionflower – Considered helpful for relieving general tension, occasional nervous restlessness, and supporting restful sleep.
Hops – With a distinctive flavor and action known well by beer drinkers everywhere, this plant supports relaxation and helps calm a nervous stomach.
Valerian – When sleep seems impossible thanks to nervous energy and a brain that won’t shut off, this potent herb encourages relaxation. Caution: for some people, valerian can have the opposite effect, causing stimulation and even more anxiety. If this happens, an herbalist can suggest something else.
Wishing you all a relaxing, stress-free New Year. We all deserve one! xx Alisa
Now there’s more space for America’s national mammal to be at home on the range. (No, not buffalo, as the song would have it*: buffalo are indigenous to South Asia and Africa, whereas bison are found in North America and parts of Europe.
In case you’re wondering what the difference is (of course you were), bison sport shaggy beards and buffalo don’t.
The World Wildlife Fund reports that bison in Badlands National Park now have an additional 22,553 acres in which to roam. In 2017, over 2,500 donors to WWF and partner organizations raised nearly $750,000 to build 43 miles of a new fence that extends bison habitat in the park to 80,193 acres.
This October, the WWF released bison into the new area—the first time they’ve set hoof on this land since 1877.
Sorry for the groaner, as this is a really bright idea!
Did you know that more than a half-million pounds of partially used crayons are discarded every year? As you might imagine, they turn into a nasty, waxy sludge that clogs landfills and never biodegrades.
The nonprofit Crayon Initiative has come to the rescue, solving two problems in one. First, it gathers crayon stubs from restaurants, schools and homes, melts them down and remanufactures them, reducing waste.
Even better, the recycled crayons are donated to art programs at 240 children’s hospitals, brightening the lives of young patients across the USA.
Butterflies, that is. Although current interest in The Crown television series may indicate increased popularity for the current Queen as well.
Back to the winged kind. The World Wildlife Fund reports that the forest area where monarch butterflies hibernate during their annual migration — leaving the US and Canada to spend the winter in Mexico — has more than doubled, the largest increase in 12 years.
To help improve the butterflies’ chance of survival along their migratory route, conservation efforts include planting milkweed in the US — it’s the only plant where monarchs lay their eggs — and establishing flower gardens in Mexico to provide them with nectar. What a sweet homecoming!