Being Green II

ATT-Samsung-EvergreenWhat is now the greatest source of “E-waste” in the world? The answer is: Computers, monitors and… cell phones. With the average American upgrading to a new cellular model every 1.5 to 2 years, cell phones are now the fastest growing source of manufactured waste in the country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans are now getting rid of 125 million phones annually, producing 65,000 tons of garbage. Furthermore, discarded cell phones are particularly hazardous to the environment, as the toxins many of them contain, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, flame retardants and arsenic, leak into the landfills and pollute our air and water nationwide.

The good news is: There are now a few ways you can upgrade your cell phone without downgrading the quality of the planet. When you’re ready to trade in your mobile, try one of the following:
1. Visit the Call2Recycle website. Put your zip code into the designated place on the website and they’ll direct you to the nearest location in your area where their drop-box is located. Many major electronics stores, like Radio Shack and Office Depot, host Call2Recycle drop-boxes in their stores.

2. Contact CollectiveGood; they’ll take your old cell phone, refurbish it, and sell it to companies who distribute them in developing countries to help open communication to the world’s poor. You can even direct the profits from the sale of your phone to the charity of your choice.

3. Contact your local government to find out what the law is for cell phone recycling in your area. While there is no federal law mandating cell phone recycling, some states and Canadian provinces are filling in the gap. California passed the Cell Phone Recycling Act in 2006; in New York, legislation S-8182-A requires New York cell phone providers to accept your old cell phone at no charge and then recycle or dispose of it properly.

4. Look for the “green phones” on the market. The new AT&T Samsung Evergreen, for example, is made up of 70% post-consumer recycled materials and comes with an Energy Star 2.0 certified charger. What this phone does not have is PVC, BFR and Beryllium. What it does have is a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.4 inch QVGA display, a 2.0 megapixel camera with video screen and 3G support with Bluetooth. So thanks to AT&T’s new Samsung Evergreen – you can now have your (organic) cake and eat it too!

Decoding of Cocoa Genome Saves Chocolate

Cocao-TreeDr. Yana-Shapiro, a researcher from Mars, has claimed that if higher-yielding cacao trees are not engineered, the chocolate demand would overcome the supply within the next fifty years. He also stated that strains such as these could help farmers’ welfare in the appropriate regions. Luckily, the genome of the cacao tree has been released to the public this past September. The accessibility of the genome will probably lead to better tasting, healthier chocolate.

The genome sequencing was a joint effort between Mars, IBM, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and various universities. Dr. Shapiro described the date of the release “the greatest day of my life” while speaking at an event in IBM’s research labs in Zurich. He went on to explain that Cote d’Ivoire is the largest cocoa producer in the world, and that Mars has bought cocoa from there for sixty years. He eventually began to understand the ecological and environmental conditions, as well as the productivity, and realized that this region was at a moment of crisis.

The genomes of rice and wheat have also been decoded, however these crops are generally grown on large, industrial farms. Cocoa, on the other hand, is mostly grown on small farms and sold in more private markets.

Fearless Behavior Linked to Lack of Empathy in Pre-Schoolers

Fearless-ChildrenThe faculty at the Haifa Faculty of Education in Israel has just revealed that pre-school age children who are characterized as ‘fearless’ also show more aggressive behavior towards children around them and less empathy.

“The results of this study show that fearless behavior in children can be identified and is related to neurological and genetic predisposition. This type of behavior has less correlation — at least in infancy — with standards of educational processes or parenting practice,” says Dr. Inbal Kivenson-Baron, who carried out the study as part of her doctoral thesis.

The study examined the relationship, if any, between fearless behavior in 3-4 year-olds and physiological and social-emotional characteristics. The researchers also looked at parenting, socioeconomic status, birth order and parental well-being, child-rearing and other parameters in the children’s lives.

“Since fearless behavior correlates with genetic and neurological characteristics, it is important to find the most effective ways — through education at the preschool and at home — to assist these children in developing the ability to recognize and value social prohibitions. As a society, we must discern the optimal stimulation that can be provided in the child’s natural surroundings, in order to awaken those emotions that are necessary for the development of empathy toward another and for refraining from aggressive behavior,” Dr. Kivenson-Baron concludes.

Being Green I

paper-recyclingBeing Green is not just for Kermit the Frog. Most Americans now feel a commitment to improving the environment and trying to keep the planet safer and healthier for the next generation. One of the most important changes you can make in your lifestyle is to recycle. There are many materials that can be recycled and a number of methods for assuring that that maximum number of household items are recycled. We’ll go through these different elements one by one, beginning with today’s focus: Paper Recycling.
To recycle paper, you’ll need to have the following:
1. Brown Paper Bags
2. Old Newspapers
3. Recycle Bins
4. Twine
You’ll need to do the following:
1. Find out if your community has a local curbside recycling program or a local drop-off center. You call your country department of public works, check online, or call 1-800-CLEANUP for state recycling information
2. Divide your paper into three groups: white office paper, newspaper and mixed-color paper. That’s how most curbside programs collect it
3. Put newspapers into brown paper bags and tie them into bundles with twine. Make sure to remove rubber bands, paper clips and other non-paper items
4. Combine mixed-color paper, including magazines and junk mail
5. Combine plain white office paper
6. Place your three groups of paper outside on curbside pick-up day or bring them to your community drop-off center.
Remember – for every ton of paper we recycle, 17 trees will live!

Fish Pedicures

You may have heard of “Doctor Fish,” or “fish pedicures,” and wondered what exactly that implies. Interestingly enough, it is exactly what it sounds like. The tradition originated in Turkish spas, where Garra Rufa fish were bred in large outdoor pools. The Garra Rufa are also known as nibble fish, kangal fish and doctorfishen. These fish are similar to comb-fishes; they eat dead and affected skin cells, while leaving the healthy skin exposed to grow. These spa treatments are often used to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis and eczema. The afflicted spa-goers immerse their bodies in the pools for some time, and relax as they allow hundreds of the fish to clean and remove dead skin from their bodies. The treatment is not meant as a cure, and patients usually revisit the spas on a monthly basis, although some have claimed to be completely healed after undergoing repeated treatment. The fish can also be used for pedicures, to clear callouses from heels and other tough areas of the foot. In 2006, similar spa resorts began to open in other countries across the globe.

The Garra Rufa fish are naturally found in the river basins in the Northern and Central Middle East, primarily in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. These fish are quite hardy.