Daily Digest 7/31 – Good News Friday: A Blue New Deal For The Ocean, Three Steps To Consider For A More Pre-Pandemic Normal

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header “Good News Friday.” We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


Hedonism Leads To Happiness (tmn)

They found that certain people get distracted by intrusive thoughts in moments of relaxation or enjoyment by thinking about activities or tasks that they should be doing instead. “For example, when lying on the couch you might keep thinking of the sport you are not doing,” says Becker. “Those thoughts about conflicting long-term goals undermine the immediate need to relax.” On the other hand, people who can fully enjoy themselves in those situations tend to have a higher sense of well-being in general, not only in the short term, and are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, among other things.

What Vermont and Its History Might Teach the Nation About Handling the Coronavirus (jdargis)

covid-19 took a toll on the state fairly early—the first two deaths were confirmed on March 19th—and it soon became clear that terrible outbreaks were under way at a couple nursing homes. But action came early, too. Governor Phil Scott began closing things down that week—it wasn’t long before bars and restaurants were shut, followed by schools and pretty much everything else. Even construction jobs quieted, as the state shut down nonessential work.

Three steps to consider for a more pre-pandemic normal (jdargis)

First, move everything outdoors — as much as possible and much more than has been done already. Many buildings in this country are oversupplied with parking lots, so let’s use that stockpile. With the addition of a simple high roof, you’ve got a farmers market, a sidewalk cafe or an open-air cathedral.

Every Faculty Member on This Campus Can Teach Outside (tmn)

Elizabeth A. Forys, one of the leaders of Eckerd’s outdoor-instruction initiative, is an experienced outdoor instructor, having taught environmental biology and ornithology classes outside for years. So when her campus closed because of Covid-19 in the spring, she began thinking ahead to reopening. Knowing outdoor-transmission rates for the virus are significantly lower than indoor ones, Forys said, she’d simply move all her classes outside. Many of her colleagues, even those whose material didn’t naturally lend itself to teaching outdoors, might want to do the same.

D.C. Strangers Banded Together To Help A Struggling Squirrel And Her Babies (TourGuideDC)

“When I got close up on it, I realized that what I thought was its insides was really a baby,” she continues. “I realized the squirrel was alive, and so that’s when I instantly started freaking out.” Peele looked around for help and posted a video of the scene on Twitter.

In response to her tweet, friends, strangers, and even D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh referred Peele to two animal-welfare organizations based in the District: the Humane Rescue Alliance and City Wildlife. Meanwhile, a small group began gathering around the squirrel, including a man who told Peele that he had experience helping cows give birth but “squirrels were out of his wheelhouse.” (The members of the group were wearing masks, according to Peele.)

King County Council Unanimously Adopts Bold Regulations to Stop New Fossil Fuel Projects Before They Start (Bill M.)

“Low-income and communities of color in King County already bear the brunt of negative health outcomes from exposure to the burning of fossil fuels and this will only be exacerbated with the deepening climate crisis” said Matt Remle, co-founder of Mazaska Talks. “The first step in addressing the climate crisis is by not making it worse. With today’s vote, King County is showing that all communities deserve clean air, water, neighborhoods and futures.”

How a Blue New Deal charts a course for a sustainable sea change (Bill M.)

The Ocean Climate Action Plan (OCAP), produced by the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute and the nonprofit Blue Frontier, aims to fill the shortcomings of the Green New Deal, offering a four-part set of policy recommendations that, it says, “contains both conservative and liberal economic philosophies that are mutually reinforcing.”

There’s a pool of insights for companies, too.

Small crustacean can fragment microplastics in four days, study finds (tmn)

“When I started studying this three years ago, it sounded so crazy that such small animals could be fragmenting plastics but our research shows that plastic fragments comprised nearly 66% of all observed microplastic particles accumulated in the guts of these animals.”

Mateos-Cárdenas used spherical microbeads of polyethylene, the common polymer found in plastic bottles. Each microbead had been tagged with a fluorescent dye so ingestion and fragmentation could be tracked using a microscope.

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