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Green Fact Checking

A quick run-through of the arguments against going green.

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By P.A. Castro

The first Earth Day was marked 40 years ago – specifically in 1969, when US Senator Gaylord Nelson called for the establishment of April 22 every year as a day for “nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment”; though the United Nations, in a tradition started by peace activist John McConnell also in 1969, also started Earth Day celebrations on the March equinox, which is often on March 20. The interesting thing is, in the case of environmental awareness, maturity does not come with aging – many beliefs that continue to persist about greening are fallacious.

Writing for the New York Post, Max Schulz cites in Green Myths: Enviro “Facts” That Aren’t a recent survey by Zogby International for the Manhattan Institute, which found that, “when it comes to energy and the environment, the public is more inclined to believe myths than to have a firm grasp of basic facts.”
Thus, especially during Earth Day, while “environmental ecclesiasts will once again call on their flocks to take action. By all means, let us safeguard the environment – but with steps rooted in fact, not myth,” Schulz says.
G Magazine looks at the truths that are not as far as greening is concerned.

Myth 1: Going green is expensive.

Arguably the most often used argument against going green is that it is costly – which is, in a way, true, since you may have to invest more, often quite expensively, and that’s even on something you may already have.
But this is a wrong way of looking at spending for green, according to Ronaldo T. Villon, president of UniSolar Inc., one of the few all-Filipino companies to sell solar panels street lamps (with local government units as the main clients). For its maiden project, the company undertook the exclusive importation and distribution in the Philippines of solar-powered outdoor lighting fitted into a lamp post structure that is aptly called Steel Intelligentized Solar Street Light, which makes use of polycrystalline solar cells to capture the power of the sun, and then stores them in a deep recycle lead acid battery to power compact fluorescent light bulbs to emit light. ISO-certified, the entire fixture and all of its components function in all weather conditions, for up to over 20 years.
While “it is costlier compared to electric outdoor lighting, it is more economical in the long term because of the savings in electricity and maintenance,” says Villon, adding that, even better, “our product has ROI (return of investment), which can never happen in electric lighting, as it also has residual value (through the possible interest money incurred on savings from expenses that using solar lighting cut).”
This way, going green is only expensive to begin with, but more than pays for itself in the long run.
Writing for guardian.co.uk, Dick Strawbridge, BBC TV presenter and green home expert, says that “you don’t have to be wealthy or a tree hugger to make energy efficient changes to your home.” Yes, there are expensive green products; but, yes, there are also cheaper alternatives, so that “if the cost is putting you off doing it, don’t think twice: buy the cheapest.”

Myth 2: Real effect can only be felt by grand efforts, not by small steps.

According to Dana Dratch, a freelance writer based in Atlanta in the US, in 10 Major Myths About Living Green (bankrate.com), “one of your biggest weapons in the green movement is your own wallet. Recent numbers demonstrate that a few smarter buying decisions translate to big changes in the planet. One that’s fairly easy: When you buy household paper goods (like paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, and copy paper), look for products that use high percentages of recycled or post-consumer waste.”
This is because, Dratch says, quoting Jennifer Powers, spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, “a lot of the major paper manufacturers are cutting virgin forests to make the items you use. But some well-known green-label brands… use recycled materials instead. If everyone in the country elected to buy one package of 100% recycled napkins instead of the non-recycled variety, that act alone would save one million trees.”

Myth 3: Most eco-moves take decades to pay back the cost.

“Every time we decide to make an investment in an eco-project, the subject of payback comes up,” Strawbridge says. But while “it is possible to do the sums, and before we spend any hard earned cash, I like to make sure that it’s a good investment.”
A good example, according to Strawbridge, is an investment in a “DIY (do-it-yourself) solar thermal system to heat your hot water (at home. While it may only pay for) itself in four or five years, surely this is missing the point: when it comes to environmentally friendly projects we seem unable to accept the fact that it can be an investment and will add to the value of the house. What is the payback time for a new bathroom or kitchen? If you install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels (now), you can reasonably expect them to easily last 25 to 30 years. Everyone knows a new kitchen makes a house more saleable, but in the current economic climate, how much more saleable is a house that will cost the new owners very little to run or may even generate an income?”

Myth 4: You have to be some sort of a scientist to fully effect environmental strategies.

For Strawbridge, “in the 21st century, there is no excuse for not being able to get stuck into any eco-project. Information is readily available and all the materials you need can usually be sourced within 10 miles,” he says. “Of course, I have to acknowledge that there is some sensible legislation that means you are not allowed to fiddle with mains electricity, or get involved with structural engineering, unless you’re suitably qualified. That does not mean you can’t do most of the work yourself, which is by far the cheapest way.”
Simply, Strawbridge says, “if you have running water and a desire to have a water wheel, all you need is to know that the angle of the bucket is 114°. With a little bit of common sense, anything is achievable.”

Myth 5: There is only one green solution for every green concern.

Not!
Says Dratch: “The paper or plastic debate is the best example of this. Not even the experts can agree which is a more eco-friendly way to carry home groceries. The better answer, of course, is neither: Bring your own cloth bags to the store.”
The problem is that “conflicting information about what constitutes a green choice can leave many consumers stalled with indecision. The best way to break the logjam is to start by trying a couple of solutions that are doable and make sense to you,” Dratch says.

Believing that everyone's perspective is important, Zest Magazine has opted to provide an avenue for these perspectives to be known. care to hear the publication's contributing writers; or better yet, do some contributing yourself by contacting info@zestmag.com.

NewsMakers

How to help children build a growth mindset

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset.

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A new year is a perfect time to consider the habits you want to keep and the ones you’d like to develop. One resolution to consider is helping your children develop a growth mindset this year.

“We know one of the greatest boosts to parents’ confidence over the past year came from knowing their children’s whole selves are being nurtured, and we want to see that trend continue,” said Carter Peters from KinderCare Learning Center’s education team. “A growth mindset helps children try new things despite fear of failure. It’s the kind of thinking that allows inventors and creative thinkers to get excited about trying something new and ensures they have the cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills to work through hurdles.”

Adults can often easily spot when children are engaged in creative thinking and prideful of their work, but that confidence may be lost as failures turn into insecurities. By nurturing a growth mindset and showing children they can learn and develop new skills in any area, it better sets them up for long-term success.

Consider these three tips to help children build a growth mindset:

Photo by Markus Spiske from Unsplash.com

1. Praise effort

It’s easy to fall into the habit of praising successes. However, praising effort encourages children to try new things without the fear of failing. It also teaches children personal growth and achievement are possible, even if their overall effort wasn’t a success.

“Young children often get excited to try something new,” Peters said. “By praising effort and showing children they’ll still be loved and valued despite the outcome, you can reframe how they approach challenges and teach them that difficult doesn’t mean impossible.”

2. Encourage the process

People often withhold praise until there’s a result, which leads children to hurriedly scribble a picture to hold up for a “good job” instead of taking time to focus on their efforts. When children know adults will encourage them during the process, instead of only upon the achievement, they’re more likely to try new things or master a new skill. For example, try providing encouragement such as, “I can see you’re focused on drawing that tree. It looks so lifelike because you’re putting so much thought into what you’re doing.” Once their project is finished, continue the encouragement by hanging up their artwork or school projects in a prominent place.

3. Model a growth mindset

You can model a growth mindset for children by narrating your actions when you are facing a challenge: “I am having a difficult time putting this shelf together, but it’s OK. I’ll take a break then read the instructions again.” Remove negative words from your vocabulary, such as “I can’t” or “I’m stupid.” Even when you are joking, children may not be able to tell the difference. You can also ask your children to join you in problem-solving. Take time to hear their ideas and try them even if you think they won’t work. This not only supports the development of their growth mindset, but the quality time and encouragement reinforces their sense of self-worth and builds confidence.

For more tips to help children develop a growth mindset, visit kindercare.com.

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NewsMakers

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

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A healthy marriage is built on trust, respect, and communication. Couples with these qualities in their relationship tend to be more satisfied with their marriage and overall life. They also report feeling closer to their partner and having stronger well-being. With 2.3 out of every 1000 people in the US experiencing divorce in 2022, it is important to frequently check in on the health of your marriage.

Although there are many different ways to define a healthy marriage, these three qualities are essential for any lasting and fulfilling relationship.

Signs of a Healthy Marriage

A healthy marriage is built on trust, communication, and mutual respect. If you and your partner can effectively communicate and share a mutual level of respect, then your relationship is off to a good start. Trust is also important in a healthy marriage, as it allows you and your partner to feel secure in your relationship and rely on each other.

Many other signs can indicate whether or not a marriage is healthy. For example, couples who can spend quality time together and enjoy shared activities usually do well. Couples who can openly discuss their relationship with each other and work through difficulties together are also more likely to have a happy and healthy marriage. Finally, marriages, where both partners feel like they can be themselves without judgment from their spouse tend to be the strongest and most lasting.

Freedom to be yourself

In a healthy marriage, partners feel free to be themselves. They don’t have to put on a facade or pretend to be someone they’re not. They can be open and honest with each other and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings, and desires.

Both partners should pursue their interests and hobbies without compromising or sacrificing for the sake of the relationship. There’s no need to agree on everything – in fact, it’s healthy to have some separate interests – but overall, both partners should feel like they’re able to be true to themselves within the relationship.

Lots of good communication

In a healthy marriage, partners can communicate effectively. It means expressing needs and wants and listening and responding to what the other person is saying. There are mutual respect’s opinions, even if there are disagreements. Couples in a healthy marriage feel comfortable communicating with each other about both the good and the bad.

Good sex life

A good sex life can be a major sign of a healthy marriage. A lack of sexual activity can be an early warning sign that something is wrong in the relationship. Often, couples who have a good sex life are more connected emotionally and physically. They are also more likely to trust each other and communicate openly.

Trust in each other

In any relationship, trust is essential. Without trust, there is no foundation for the relationship to grow. In a marriage, trust is even more important. Trusting your spouse means you feel confident in their ability to support you emotionally and financially. It also means that you feel safe sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with them.

When you trust your spouse, you know they have your best interests. You feel comfortable being yourselves around each other and sharing your hopes, dreams, and fears. Openness and honesty in your relationship allow you to be vulnerable with each other. This vulnerable honesty creates a deeper level of intimacy in your marriage.

When you trust each other, you can be more forgiving when mistakes are made. You know that everyone makes mistakes and that nobody is perfect. You also understand that your spouse is human and capable of making mistakes like anyone else. If they make a mistake, you are more likely to forgive them because you know they are sorry and will try not to make the same mistake again.

Trust is one of the most important foundations of a healthy marriage. If you want your marriage to thrive, build trust in each other.

A successful, strong marriage takes work, but with communication, trust, respect, vulnerability, and affection as its core components, you can together create a partnership that will be long-lasting.

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NewsMakers

Why hustle culture can do more harm than good to your mental health

Despite the fact that hustle culture causes individuals to increase their working hours and reduce the number of hours they have for sleep, it can actually cause people to become a lot less productive, making the entire culture itself extremely counterproductive.

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Anybody with social media will be aware of the hauntingly popular notion of ‘hustle culture’, which refers to people feeling pressured to work tirelessly, without rest, and to be constantly making money and being productive. 

The research team at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has stressed that this notion can be extremely toxic and can cause a negative impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Stress

One of the many negative impacts that hustle culture can have on an individuals mental wellbeing is with extreme stress. Stress in the workplace can affect people both mentally and physically, it can generate feelings of anxiety and cause depression. In phsycial form, stress can cause heart disease, difficulty breathing, headaches and alcohol and drug dependency. 

Stress caused by heavy work pressures, long hours and workloads can result in burnout. Being burnout can affect everyday tasks at work or in the home, it can make an individual feel less productive and it increase the risk of mistakes. In industries that deal with machinery or are based in dangerous environments, this could have catastrophic consequences. 

Anxiety 

Hustle culture creates a toxic environment for fear, guilt and shame, and the glorification of overworking can lead to severe cases of anxiety. The anxiety makes employees feel that they have failed if they ever take a break. Not allowing yourself any time to relax can be extremely dangerous for your mental health and wellbeing. Anxiety can lead to a plethora of other issues including lack of sleep, fatigue, and exhaustion.

Exhaustion

Working too much, feeling constantly under pressure and having a poor sleep cycle can cause exhaustion. This can lead to counter-productivity later down the line as exhaustion can cause difficulty with concentration, memory and even emotional imbalance. 

There are also instances where the body is able to just shut itself down and fall asleep whilst working, this can be extremely dangerous if a person’s industry involves driving vehicles or operating heavy machinery. 

Fatigue

Fatigue is sometimes compared to exhaustion, however fatigue can be more long term and can cause further damage to a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Symptoms can be much more severe than exhaustion too, individuals will often experience headaches, dizziness and muscle pains and weakness.

Fortunately, with some simple and practical lifestyle changes such as taking more breaks and getting proper sleep, fatigue can reduce over time, but in some cases you may need to see a doctor. 

Decreased Productivity 

Despite the fact that hustle culture causes individuals to increase their working hours and reduce the number of hours they have for sleep, it can actually cause people to become a lot less productive, making the entire culture itself extremely counterproductive. 

This is why hustle culture has a negative impact on both employers and employees, for employers they end up with workers being much less productive and the workers themselves begin to face a plethora of physical and mental health issues that can be entirely avoided.

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