/Life

It feels like there's an endless list of things that parents need to do... all the daily stuff like meals and getting ready for school, and then there's the bigger stuff like making sure that your kids are nice to others and can cope with negative feelings. Have you ever wondered if talking to your kids about climate change is another thing we need to add to the list? As a parent, only you can make the decision about when you think it's appropriate to introduce the topic to your kids, but once you've made that decision, how do you talk about it? Where do you even begin, and what's age appropriate? Stick with us for a guide on how to talk to your kids about climate change and a list of the best resources for each age group.

Why Talk about Climate Change

According to the latest IPCC climate change report (1), the effects of climate change are already here. Even if we make drastic changes to our carbon emissions now, climate change will have negative impacts over the next several decades. Many families might already be feeling the impacts of climate change (fire season, hurricane season, and all the rest), and talking about climate change will help kids process what they are already experiencing. And for many other parents, they might want to introduce the topic before their kids hear about it from friends, at school, or in the media or news. Whenever you decide that you want to bring up the topic of climate change, it's important to try to explain the facts and remember that this is probably going to be an ongoing discussion and not just one conversation.

Age Appropriate Answers to the Question: "What is Climate Change?"

Our kids absorb much more than we often are aware of. They're basically little sponges! Even thought it may seem like kids wouldn't understand the nuanced details about something as complex as climate change, kids generally get a lot out of these conversations.

Our first tip is to stick to age appropriate facts with as little jargon as possible. If you don't know where to start, we drafted these sample scripts for different age groups that you can use below. You can alter the sample scripts below to your child's interest, level of understanding and curiosity, and add or subtract other concepts you'd like to introduce.

Ages 2-4: Just like we depend on the Earth for food and water, the way that we treat the Earth also matters. We are all connected. Some things that humans do can even cause the Earth to heat up. We call that climate change. Scientists are learning so much about it and what we can do to be nice to the Earth.

Ages 5-7: People's activities, like driving cars that use gasoline, or burning coal for energy to heat buildings, increase something called greenhouse gases in the sky. These act like a warm blanket between our planet and space. Over time scientists have shown that it is leading to the Earth's temperature getting warmer. This matters because the temperature affects our oceans, land, air, plants, animals, and humans. We all have an effect on one another. We can all make better choices to help take care of our earth by using less fossil fuels and by using only what we need.

Ages 8-12: The Earth's climate is warming up and scientists know that human activities that use fossil fuels like gasoline for cars or burning coal to heat our homes is contributing to climate change. When these fossil fuels are burned they create greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that trap in heat from the sun and create a sort of blanket around our earth, making it warmer. Scientists believe that these warmer temperatures are contributing to more bad weather, which can affect our crops, businesses, health, water resources, and wildlife. People can make better choices to help take care of our Earth by using less fossil fuels and by conserving or using only what we need.

Ages 13+: The Earth's climate changes over time. Sometimes it's hotter to times and it's colder. But changes from natural causes are usually gradual. Some human activities, like burning fossil fuels like gasoline and coal, are speeding things up. Burning fossil fuels increases greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which trap more heat. As a result, the global climate is becoming warmer. Scientists believe that with global warming, we can expect more bad weather, like hurricanes, wildfires, drought, and floods. These bad weather patterns can affect our crops, economy, health, water resources, and wildlife. We can all work together, as a family and as a community to make better choices and decisions to fight climate change.

How To Continue the Conversation

After the initial explanation of what climate change is, there are several ways to continue the conversation. One of the first follow up conversations should focus on local impacts to make it relevant to your lives. Try something like, "Do you remember how there were some days where it was really really hot this summer that it was almost too hot to go outside?" or "Can you remember the last time it rained?"

The second way to continue the conversation is by spending time as a family outside. You don't have to go far! Even on a walk around the block, you can spend time noticing insects, plants, and the weather. Spending time outside with your kids and engaging their natural curiosity is a great way to learn about your local ecosystem. It is also a great way to learn about how people are dependent on nature and in turn, how people impact the environment. By cultivating a love of being outdoors in nature, it gives your kids a greater reason to want to take care of their environment.

Another important way to continue the conversation on climate change is to put the focus on people. It's very easy to talk about polar bears and other far off places, but it's just as important to start exploring concepts of equity and justice. The impacts of climate change exacerbate existing health and social inequities, so low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected (2). Putting the focus on people, friends, communities, and our interconnectedness is a great lens for inspiring much needed action.

Lastly, it's important to find a support network to help continue the conversation. This can be friends and other family members, neighbors, a community group, or your schools. Whether it's a nature walk with friends or learning how to compost with your neighbors, getting your kids involved is a great way to increase their understanding about climate change. You can also look up local and state environmental groups and get involved locally. This is a great way to find other families with similar interests. And lastly, ask your schools about how they integrate climate change into their curriculum. There are a lot of resources listed below that you can forward to your kids' educators.

Resources for How to Talk to Your Kids about Climate Change


References

  1. https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/
  2. https://www.apha.org/-/media/files/pdf/topics/clim...

As the weather warms up, we want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. This means picnics, pool parties, and of course BBQs! We love a good barbecue because they're super fun, delicious, and a great way to cook and socialize at the same time. Plus there is less mess in the kitchen to clean up. But before you dust off your grill, check out our tips for a healthier BBQ that aren't just about what recipes to use. There are other aspects of health that go beyond just what ingredients you use.

1) Trim Fat and Clean the Grill

To start, let's think about the actual grill. Because of the open flame, grills create some smoke. And while that's sometimes the point (hello smoked salmon), directly breathing in smoke usually isn't the best idea, especially for children and people with asthma. There are some things you can do to make your grilling a little less smokey, though. If you're in the market for a new grill or if you're looking to upgrade your current one, look for a gas grill. While they're not perfect, they produce less smoke than charcoal grills.

If you have a charcoal grill (or prefer that), cut off excess fat to lower the amount of dripping and risk for flare-ups (1). Also, cleaning your grill to remove the charred, stuck-on bits before you cook is good for reducing smoke. And in general, a clean grill is better for you. You should brush or scrape your grill every time you use it, and then do a deep cleaning a few times a year, depending on how often you use it.

2) Marinate, Marinate, Marinate

Now let's get to the actual food and BBQing. Overcooking (or burning) the food raises the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) on the food (2). These chemicals are what people talk about when they say that grilling food can make it more likely to cause cancer. But we have good news- you can dramatically lower the amount of PAHs and HCAs by marinating your meat before grilling it. It doesn't have to be marinated for a very long time (even 5 minutes of marination reduces PAHs and HCAs by as much as 92%), but the longer you marinate, the more flavorful the meat will be. Some research has shown that marinades with acid or oil are better than ones high in sugar (3). Additionally, tossing in some basil, mint, rosemary, oregano, or marjoram helps to reduce HCA levels because of their antioxidant properties (4). Easy peasy, and delicious!

3) Use Real Plates or Napkins

After you are done wonderfully cooking your food, you don't want to taint it by putting the piping hot food on plates that could leach chemicals onto the food. Usually BBQs or cookouts are known for using plastic or paper plates for easy cleaning up. But, plastic plates can transfer some harmful chemicals to the food, and so can paper plates if they are made with oil- or water-resistant Teflon-like chemicals. Those water- and oil-proof property in PFAS chemicals (Teflon-like, also called 'forever chemicals'), can easily get into the food items that it touches and takes years to break down, both in your body and in the environment. The best option would be to use real ceramic plates or some of these safe outdoor dishes that you can wash after the party, or unlined paper or bamboo plates that are completely compostable without PFAS chemicals. Hey, if you are really going all out, why not just ditch the plate altogether and create less trash over all. Who really needs a plates for a hotdog and cupcakes anyway?

4) Use Mineral Sunscreen and Safer Inspect Repellent

While this is less to do with the food, sunscreen and insect repellant are often popular for outdoor summertime events. While both have some pretty good benefits, like keeping you from getting burnt or covered in bites that can lead to various illnesses, some sunscreens and insect repellents contain pretty nasty chemicals. A good option is to wear long sleeve, lightweight shirts and pants that would protect you from both insects and sun. If that's just not seeming like an option for you, check out our roundup of safer sunscreen products. When it comes to bug repellant, that is more difficult and using a product with DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535 might still be your best bet. Some do find that oil of lemon eucalyptus (which is a particular active ingredient, different from lemon eucalyptus oil), can also be effective. You can read more about that in our insect repellant article.

5) Limit Plastic Decorations and Toys

The last tip relates to the decorations and activities at your BBQ. We recommend avoiding plastic and opting for reusable decorations when you can. Read more about ideas for throwing a party with less plastic. For items that are more common at a BBQ party near water, try games like corn hole or sharks and minnows. If you are more the type that likes to float around in the water, consider pool noodles instead of rafts and things. While slightly less instagramable or T-Swift inspired, foam noodles are safer than the plastic floats which are almost always made of PVC (which contains phthalates). Get creative for fun ways to play that don't require plastic toys.


References

1) Hall, McKenzie. Reduce your exposure to toxins from grilled meats. Chicago Tribune. July 2, 2014.

2) Chung SY, Yettella RR et al. Effects of grilling and roasting on the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in beef and pork. Food Chemistry. Volume 129, Issue 4, 15 December 2011, Pages 1420-1426.

3) Farhadian A, Abas F et al. Effects of marinating on the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[b]fluoranthene and fluoranthene) in grilled beef meat. Food Control. 28(2):420–425, December 2012.

          4) Riches, Derrick. Healthy Grilling. The Spruce. April 4, 2017. Accessed April 11, 2018.
          Want an easy way to live healthier?
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          / SOCIAL

          Throughout history, the contributions of women have often been overlooked and it’s no different in the environmental health and justice movements. Women have been at the center of some of the biggest strides in environmental health and justice. From sparking international conversations on toxic chemicals and practices that harm health to being voices for overlooked communities, it is the hard work and sacrifice of so many women that have educated, advocated, and inspired change. For women's history month, let's celebrate and learn more about 8 heroic women environmentalists who have changed the world of environmental health.

          Lois Gibbs

          A prime example of everyday people enacting change in their community, wife, and mother Lois Gibbs began and led the grassroots movement to have 800 families relocated from the now infamous Love Canal. She discovered that 21,000 tons of chemical waste buried below the neighborhood was the source of high rates of birth defects, miscarriages, and other health issues in her community.

          Gibbs later went on to create the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, an organization that supports grassroots movements like the one at Love Canal. Gibbs continued to serve as the Executive Director of CHEJ until 2021. You can read more about her work in her book Love Canal The Story Continues.

          Sources: https://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/lois-gibbs/, https://www.fredonia.edu/academics/convocation/gibbsbio

          Rachel Carson

          In her 1962 book, Silent Spring, author and marine biologist, Rachel Carson challenged the use of pesticides and helped inspire major social and political changes including a nationwide ban of DDT and the formation of the EPA. Her writings reflect the deep love she had for the natural world as well as call her readers to act as stewards of the environment.

          Carson faced major push back from chemical companies after publishing Silent Spring. She stood her ground and continued to speak out against pesticide usage until she died from breast cancer two years after her book was published. Her work was widely validated by the scientific community and Carson’s work stands as a catalyst of major environmental movements to regulate the use of harmful chemicals.

          Sources: https://www.rachelcarson.org/Bio.aspx, https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/rachel-carson, https://www.silentspring.org/

          Dolores Huerta

          A champion for farm workers’ rights and safer working conditions for laborers, Huerta leaves a legacy as one of the most influential labor activists. As the co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, she spent her life organizing and advocating for agricultural workers, including the elimination of exposures to harmful pesticides.

          Additionally, Huerta led many boycotts, negotiated contracts, and fought for benefits for workers. Despite the adversity she faced as a Latina woman, Huerta continued to stand up for and lead the movement for agricultural workers for over 60 years. As of 2019, at the age of 89 she was still the president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, an organization that advocates for civil rights all over the country.

          Sources: https://doloreshuerta.org/doloreshuerta/, https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/dolores-huerta

          Winona LaDuke

          As an Indigenous American woman of the Ojibwe tribe, Winona LaDuke has made it her life’s work to advocate for issues in sustainable development, renewable energy, and better food systems. She has advocated for the return of indigenous lands, for the protection of fragile watersheds, and established organizations to support and advocate for Indigenous Peoples of America.

          LaDuke continues her work through support of her organizations, White Earth Land Recovery Project and the Indigenous Women’s Network. She also led the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The majority of her work today is in farming hemp and spreading awareness of its advantages as an alternative to heavily water-dependent materials like cotton or petroleum based synthetics.

          Sources: https://humansandnature.org/winona-laduke/, https://www.winonaladuke.com/, https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/winona-laduke

          Wangari Maathai

          Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which led to the planting of over 30 million trees by women and community members all across the African Continent. The Green Belt Movement was key in counteracting widespread deforestation that threatened subsistence farming in Maathai’s home country of Kenya.

          These efforts plus other contributions to sustainable democracy and peace made her the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Maathai was the first African woman ever to receive a Nobel prize, the first East and Central African woman to earn a doctoral degree, and the first female professor to teach in Kenya.

          Sources: https://www.greenbeltmovement.org/wangari-maathai/biography, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2004/maathai/facts/

          Erin Brockovich

          In 1992, while working as a legal clerk, Erin Brockovich, a mother of two, uncovered evidence that over 600 residents in a small California town were exposed to high levels of hexavalent chromium in the drinking water. The pollution was the result of a Pacific Gas and Electric plant. Brockovich’s efforts on the case led to the rectification of the issue and the largest settlement of its kind in U.S. history.

          Now as president of Brockovich Research and Consulting and an environmental activist, she continues her legal work on numerous international groundwater contamination cases, is an author and speaker, and media personality. You can watch Julia Roberts star as her in the Oscar winning dramatization of her story, Erin Brockovich (2000).

          Sources: https://www.biography.com/activist/erin-brockovich, https://www.executivespeakers.com/speaker/erin-brockovich/

          Peggy Shepard

          Peggy Shepard is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of WE ACT, the first environmental justice non-profit in Northern Manhattan, that empowers people of color and low income residents to participate in the policies and practices that affect their environmental health. Their impact on that community has been immense from building green space on the West Harlem waterfront to implementing bus pollution standards that reduce tailpipe emissions by 95%.

          Shepard started her career as a journalist and found her way into politics as a speech writer. Throughout her career she was a co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the first female chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council for the EPA. Today she continues her work with WE ACT as the Executive Director.

          Sources: https://www.weact.org/person/peggy-shepard/, https://cehn.org/about/advisory-council/peggy-shepard/

          Sandra Steingraber

          Sandra Steingraber is an ecologist and author who has written many books about how environmental issues reflect and go hand in hand with public health issues. A cancer survivor herself, Steingraber’s work is a personal exploration of how the quality of our water, air, and food affect things like reproductive health, fetal development, and cancer related issues.

          Beyond her scientific and written work, Steingraber is also an outspoken activist against fracking and the industrialization of natural resources. She has been arrested multiple times for acts of civil disobedience as well as received many accolades for her work including the Rachel Carson Leadership Award.

          Sources: https://steingraber.com/dr-sandra-steingraber, https://www.ithaca.edu/news/featured-experts/environmental-science-and-sustainability/sandra-steingraber

          Life

          Why does your activewear stink and what can you do about it?

          The scientific reason behind your bad smelling activewear and easy DIY solutions

          Do you ever take your laundry out of the dryer and realize that your activewear still smells bad? Sometimes it feels like no amount of laundry detergent or scented fabric softener will get rid of that funky smell that lingers in all of your workout clothes. The reason this happens isn't because your washing machine isn't strong enough to get rid of the sweat from your run or all the burpees you did, but it's actually the fabric. Most workout clothes are made from synthetic fabrics or cotton, two materials that are great for working out in, but really bad at getting clean. Luckily there are a few ways to get rid of that smell that doesn't involve lots of harmful chemicals. So instead of throwing those smelly clothes away, check out some of our easy non-toxic cleaning methods and DIY solutions!

          Why do workout clothes trap smell?

          Most people think that the reason their workout clothes stink is because there is sweat trapped in them, but that is only partially true. Sweat by itself actually has no smell at all, but when it comes into contact with the bacteria on your skin, the sweat gets broken down and releases the typical body odor smell (1). So that means there isn't excess sweat trapped in your clothes, it's bacteria, along with dead skin cells and natural particles that are all contributing to the bad smell (2).

          There is also a difference in how natural and synthetic workout clothes are affected by this bacteria. Natural fibers like cotton are more affected by sweat and bacteria compared to synthetic fibers because the bacteria that becomes trapped within the fabric can actually start to break down and degrade your clothes. The fibers of cotton are made completely of cellulose, a natural component of plants, and the bacteria can consume this substance and break down the clothes. Cotton is really good at absorbing sweat, so that means there is bacteria deep inside the cotton fibers and the bacteria can quickly multiply due to their massive food source i.e. your clothes. So not only will the bacteria in your sweat make your natural workout clothes smell bad, it will also degrade them over time until they fall apart (2).

          Synthetic fabrics, on the other hand, are man-made fibers that are derived from petroleum products. Think plastic threads. Fabrics like spandex, polyester, and nylon are all made of synthetic materials and they are often marketed as sweat wicking or having a cooling effect. These types of fabrics collect bacteria in the space between the fibers, but does not absorb the sweat or bacteria in the fibers. These small spaces where the bacteria are trapped are really hard to access with standard cleaning products making the smell linger (2).

          What makes it worse?

          To get rid of the smell a lot of people use more detergent or heavily scented fabric softeners, but this only temporarily covers up the smell. These products coat the fibers and fill up the space between them, creating more and more build up the more you wash the clothes. Having build up on your clothes can trap the bacteria and every time you work out more bacteria will start to grow on your clothes.

          Traditional detergents were made for traditional fibers like cotton, so when trying to get spandex or polyester fabrics clean, these detergents often aren't strong enough to penetrate deep into the synthetic fabric. Also sometimes your washing machine might be too big or too full and isn't able to clean the clothes effectively. The good news is that there are some non-toxic products and DIY methods that will really deep clean your clothes and make them smell brand new!

          What can you do?

          First things first, before you get into the products and DIY solutions, try some of these simple ways to avoid having stinky workout clothes in the first place. Sometimes all it takes is changing the temperature or washing your clothes a little sooner. But if none of these work, check out the special products and DIY solutions that are sure to get your clothes squeaky clean!

          1. Don't overfill your washing machine.
          2. Don't use extra laundry detergent.
          3. Stay away from fabric softener.
          4. Wash clothes as soon as possible after working out, don't let them sit wet.
          5. Always wash workout clothes in cold water.
          6. Use a powdered detergent to prevent buildup.

          Products and DIY solutions


          non toxic laundry products to eliminate odors

          a) Biokleen Bac-Out Stain remover. Uses natural enzymes to get deep in fabrics and kills bacteria. Spray and let sit for 5 minutes and then wash as normal.

          b) Molly Suds Activewear Laundry Detergents. Powdered laundry detergent that uses enzymes and baking soda that penetrates deep within fabrics.

          c) Defunkify Liquid Laundry Detergent. Specifically designed to break down odor and get deep into fibers.

          d) Branch Basics Oxygen Boost. Strips odors and brightens clothes. Add a scoop in addition to detergent.

          e) White Vinegar- Add 1 cup of vinegar to your laundry drum in place of the normal detergent. This helps break down residues that make odors worse.

          f) Baking Soda- Add half a cup to your laundry drum. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer!

          If the smells are really not going away, you can try laundry stripping! Laundry stripping is a way to remove built up oil, dirt, bacteria, and other detergents. Check out our article on stripping and how to do it!



          Sources

          1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17865-sweating-and-body-odor
          2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4249026/
          3. https://hexperformance.com/pages/about-hex
          Life

          Snow Jackets with PFC-Free DWR

          Stay warm and dry on the slopes without the harmful chemicals

          Updated for 2021!

          A lot of weather-proof jackets contain harmful forever chemicals otherwise known as PFC or PFAS. That's why we found the best winter and ski jackets that are waterproof with PFC-free Durable Water Repellent (DWR) for your next trip to the mountains! DWR is a coating added to fabrics to make them water-resistant. The traditional DWR treatments were made of PFAS chemicals that wear off over time, leaving these chemicals to pollute the great outdoors and wherever else you are. In fact most jackets will say that they need re-treatment at some point in their life. That's why we are so excited that the outdoor industry has started to use DWR without PFAS chemicals. Usually you will see them labeled as PFC-free DWR. A couple of years ago, there were almost no jackets without PFCs, so we are happy to have found so many PFC-free DWR jackets. These jackets will keep you nice and warm without these pesky forever chemicals coatings slowly wearing off.

          But, there is something a little bit tricky. We can't say that all of these jackets are completely PFC-free. Durable water repellents are commonly used in conjunction with a waterproof membrane, which is basically a waterproof fabric. Waterproof membranes are oftentimes made with PFAS (PFC) chemicals like Teflon, the most famous of which is GORE-TEX. While GORE-TEX has recently announced that they have a PFC free waterproof membrane in the works, they have not committed to phasing out their current PFC materials. We note below which jackets still use a GORE-TEX membrane and urge companies and consumers to push for completely PFC-free products in the future. If you would like a jacket completely free of PFCs, please read the notes below.

          a) The North Face Powderflo Jacket Women's and Powderflo Jacket Men's

          b) Marmot Spire Jacket (This jacket has a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) but is still made with a GORE-TEX membrane that is made of PTFE, aka Teflon.)

          c) Paramo clothing Women's Jackets and Men's Jackets

          d) Picture Women's Weekend Jacket and Men's Styler Jacket

          e) Fjallraven Bergtagen Eco-Shell Jacket Women's⁠ and Bergtagen Eco-Shell Jacket Men's

          f) Jack Wolfskin Winter Jackets

          g) REI Co-op First Chair Jacket (This jacket has a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) but is still made with a GORE-TEX membrane that is made of PTFE, aka Teflon.)

          h) Burton Jackets (This jacket has a PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) but is still made with a GORE-TEX membrane that is made of PTFE, aka Teflon.)

          i) Houdini Women's Rollercoaster Jacket and Men's Weekend Jacket (Bluesign®-certified, PFC free membrane and PFC free DWR)

          Spooky snacks are so fun, whether you're having a Halloween party or just want to make snack time special. But so many Halloween treats use artificial dyes and food colorings, are filled with refined sugars, and/or are highly processed with lots of unnecessary plastic packaging.

          Today we're sharing our two favorite super easy Halloween spooky snacks. These healthier Halloween treats are really fun to make with kids or just because it's fun to get in the spooky spirit. Both of them use homemade edible googly eyes made from mini-marshmallows and mini chocolate chips. Try them out for your next snack time or for a fun holiday gathering!

          Mummy Graham Crackers with Easy Googly Eyes

          Ingredients

          • Graham Crackers
          • Hazelnut chocolate butter (like Nutella or Justin's) or sub almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter
          • Coconut strips
          • Mini-marshmallows
          • Mini chocolate chips

          Instructions

          1. Spread hazelnut chocolate butter on a graham cracker.
          2. Add two marshmallows near the top edge of the graham cracker.
          3. Squish an upside down mini chocolate chip in the middle of the marshmallow.
          4. Arrange coconut strips to make the rest of the cracker look like a mummy.



          Apple Monster Mouths with Easy Googly Eyes

          Ingredients

          • Apple
          • Nut butter (almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter)
          • Sunflower seeds
          • Mini-marshmallows
          • Mini chocolate chips

          Instructions

          1. Cut the apple into thick wedges. Then cut out a sliver on the outside of the slice for the mouth.
          2. Add nut butter into the cut out mouth.
          3. Arrange sunflower seeds to look like teeth.
          4. Add a dab of nut butter onto the sides of 2 marshmallow and slice on top of the slice for eyes
          5. Squish an upside down mini chocolate chip in the middle of the marshmallow.



          Life

          Shopping For Costumes? Keep an Eye Out for These Toxics in Kids Costumes

          When it comes to a kid's dress up, costumes can disguise more than a child!

          Imagination is a huge part of a child's development and dressing up in costumes can help foster creativity. Whether it's Halloween or year round dinosaur or princess costume, kids love costumes! However, before you purchase your next costume, you might want to know about some harmful materials that are often present in commercially available costumes. You might be wondering how toxic substances are even allowed in kids costumes, or already thinking about what to look for instead. We've got you covered from which toxic substances to avoid, to costume ideas that won't spoil the fun but will keep your kids safe!
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          Life

          What is Climate Justice?

          Everything you need to know

          We know that the effects of climate change are happening, but we often don't see these effects in our own country. Or when something does impact us, our country has the wealth and resources to fix the problem. However, climate change usually impacts poor and marginalized countries with more frequency and with greater impact.

          This is where the climate justice movement comes in - read on for more information about this important topic and for ways you can help!

          What does climate justice mean?

          You may have come across the term when you were reading about climate change, or when you heard a speech from Greta Thunberg, or even when you were learning how to speak to your children about climate change.

          In short, "climate justice" is a term with an associated social campaign that acknowledges climate change can have differing social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts on underprivileged populations. These at-risk underprivileged populations (and nations) are not as equipped as wealthier populations (and nations) to adapt to the rapidly changing climate and the catastrophic events it brings.

          The movement aims to frame the climate crisis through a social, human rights lens. The ultimate goal is to shift the discourse from greenhouse gas emissions, numeric temperatures, and melted ice caps to that of a civil rights movement. Once you look for it, connecting the dots between civil rights and climate change are easy to see.

          The climate justice movement shines light on the notion that the worst impacts of climate change will not be shouldered equally or fairly. There are specific communities and populations that are likely at the highest risk, and it is often these communities that are the least able to adapt to the environmental change. The way to do this is through what's known as a "just transition"

          The just transition is "a vision-led, unifying and place-based set of principles, processes, and practices that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy (1)." The just transition means managing both the positive and negative social and employment implications of climate action across the whole economy. It means thinking ahead and involving both developed and developing countries, and focusing attention on the decentralization of energy systems, and the need to prioritize marginalised communities.

          Which populations will be hit the hardest?

          As a United Nations article describes it: "The impacts of climate change will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations (2)."

          For certain communities and populations, the climate crisis will exacerbate inequitable social conditions. Here are a few examples:

          • Communities of color are at more risk for air pollution. Many toxic facilities, like coal-fire plansIn the United States, race is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities hit by climate change (3,4).
          • Senior citizens and those with disabilities may have a difficult time living through periods of severe heat (and would be at a disadvantage evacuating from major storms or fires) (5).
          • Women are more vulnerable than men globally due to economic, social, and cultural disparities (6). Seventy per cent of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women, including in many communities dependent on local natural resources for their livelihood. And worse, women in these populations are less involved in decision-making at the community level, which means they are unable to voice their needs to adapt to the hardships that climate change brings.
          • The economically disadvantaged are at extreme risk:
            • Those living in subsidized housing may have more trouble with floods as the subsidized housing is often located in a flood plain (7).
            • It has also been shown that inequality can grow in the aftermath of hurricanes, disregarding the poor and powerless communities (8).
          • Globally, the warming of the planet by 2˚C (we're above 1˚C already) would put communities around the world that depend who depend on agriculture, fishing, forestry and conservation - which includes over half of Africa's population - at risk of undernourishment (9).

          The Global Climate Risk Index developed by Germanwatch quantifies the impacts of extreme weather events – both in terms of the fatalities as well as the economic losses that occurred. Eight out of the ten countries most affected by the quantified impacts of extreme weather events in 2019 belong to the low- to lower-middle income category (10).

          So, what can we do to help?

          Organizations working on solutions to these issues

          The first way to help is to spread the word. Educating yourself on these issues and talking to others about them can go a long way.

          Another simple way to help is by donating (money or your volunteer time) to some of the fantastic organizations working for climate justice solution:

          1. The Climate Justice Alliance works to bring race, gender, and class considerations to the center of the climate action discussion. You can join them in many different ways: donate, host a party or dinner to support them, volunteer time, or even find a career with them!
          2. The NAACP is working to fight environmental injustice as well. You can donate or roll up your sleeves and join a local NAACP unit.
          3. Climate Generation is a nonprofit dedicated to climate change education and innovative climate change solutions through youth leadership and community engagement. You can donate, host a workshop, teach students about climate change, or attend one of their fundraising events.
          4. Solar Sister invests in women's clean energy businesses in off-grid communities in Africa. You can donate to them as a monthly supporter, invest in a specific entrepreneur, or even join the team.
          5. Greta Thunberg's Fridays For Future organization seeks to combat the lack of action on the climate crisis in general. You can connect with other climate activists throughout the world to join those striking for climate action.


          References

          1. https://climatejusticealliance.org/just-transition/
          2. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/climate-justice/
          3. https://naacp.org/know-issues/environmental-climate-justice
          4. https://www.lung.org/clean-air/outdoors/who-is-at-risk/disparities
          5. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/09/how-extreme-weather-threatens-people-with-disabilities/
          6. https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/womenin-shadow-climate-change
          7. https://furmancenter.org/files/NYUFurmanCenter_HousingInTheFloodplain_May2017.pdf
          8. https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/07/how-inequality-grows-in-the-aftermath-of-hurricanes/
          9. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/climate-justice/
          10. https://germanwatch.org/sites/germanwatch.org/files/Global%20Climate%20Risk%20Index%202021_1.pdf
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