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1. Green Prophet: The GINK Manifesto: Childless, Proud and Loud
There’s a ‘dirty little’ secret that’s now coming to a green light in discussions around the sustainability cooler these days. Children, it turns out, do not guarantee happiness. In fact, the benefits of going childless are actually well documented, and in lieu of the impact of unfettered population growth on the planet, many notable environmentalists are touting the eco-sexy choice to not breed at all. They even have a name: GINKs as is Green Inclined, No Kids. Making love: Great for you and the planet. Making babies: Not so much… In her groundbreaking 2010 blog, “Say it loud: I’m childfree and I’m proud”, Grist writer Lisa Hymas (who we’ve interviewed on Green Prophet) is credited with coining the GINK manifesto. Hymas’ decisive ode to the importance of conscious choice documents the very real benefits of foregoing motherhood, beyond financial relief and increased levels of happiness…
Stefanie Iris Weiss, author of the seminal book, Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make your Love Life Sustainable (2010), discusses the very real issues of sustainable population management in her book as well. She admits it’s a topic that makes folks squeamish, but she doesn’t step back from trumpeting the GINK horn from the environmental point of view. In a Huffington Post blog that generated hundreds of responses, she explained:
“Once I fully wrapped my brain around the relationship of overpopulation to climate change, especially in the West, I made a big decision: I won’t bring more kids into the world. I learned that even if I spent the rest of my life recycling, having even one child would increase my carbon legacy by 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide. I still crawl around on the floor with toddlers when given the chance, and go ga-ga for goo-goos, but my uterus is officially closed for business. I’ll be adopting kids when the time is right.”
Results from screening samples of milk taken in the past week in Spokane, Washington, and in San Luis Obispo County, California, detected radioactive iodine, or iodine-131, at a level 5,000 times lower than the limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, officials said.
At that level, a person would have to drink 1,000 liters of milk to receive the same amount of radiation as a chest X-ray, said Dr. James Cox, radiation oncologist at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The I-131 isotope has a very short half-life of about eight days, the EPA said, so the level detected in milk and milk products is expected to drop relatively quickly.
Currently, Minnesota’s public schools spend approximately $84 million per year on electricity costs, money diverted from the classroom. But a bill to make clean, local energy accessible now (CLEAN) could help the state’s public schools use solar to zero out their electricity bills and add $193 million per year to their operating budgets.
The proposed bill would create a CLEAN Contract for public entities in Minnesota, requiring local utilities to buy electricity from solar photovoltaics (PV) systems on public property on a long-term contract and at a price sufficient to offer a small return on investment. The program mimics the traditional model for utility power development, where the public utilities commission rewards utilities a fixed rate of return on investments in new power generation. If schools maximize their participation in the new program, and cover their available roofspace with solar PV, the 750 megawatts of power would provide $193 million per year for school budgets, create hundreds of local jobs, and make the schools electricity self-reliant.
A new study involving rats suggests that pregnant and breastfeedingwomen who indulge in high levels of fat and sugar are likely to have children who indulge in the same types of food.
According to the research, this happens because the high fat and high sugar diet leads to changes in the fetal brain’s reward pathway, altering food preferences.
Not only does this offer insight into the ever-increasing rate of human obesity, but it may also explain why some people easily resist fatty and sugary foods, while others seem hopelessly addicted.
“These results will help us to better help women about diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding for giving their infants the best start in life,” said Beverly Muhlhausler, co-author of the study from the FOODplus Research Centre in the School of Agriculture Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia.
Four years later, when Mrs. Bungar checked into Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC to deliver her fourth child — Eden, on March 2 — a form she filled out asked her if she wanted to do “kangaroo care.” A nurse explained it was skin-to-skin care and talked about the benefits. Mrs. Bungar wrote yes on the form.
“It sounded real peaceful for me,” she said. “There’s a lot of chaos sometimes after a baby is born. It sounded like a nice focal point.”
It also seemed to her that it was the same thing she had done with Chloe; “I just never called it kangaroo care.”
It’s also called “kangaroo mother care” and “kangaroo mother intervention,” and the concept has its roots in a poor hospital in Colombia, South America. According to published accounts, Dr. Edgar Rey, chief of the pediatrics department, came up with the idea in 1978 to ease shortages of doctors, nurses, and incubators in the neonatal intensive care unit of the Mother and Child Institute in Bogota.
The idea was that a mother’s body temperature could take the place of the incubator — just like a mother kangaroo nurtures her baby in her pouch — while enhancing mother-to-baby bonding. Holding the baby skin-to-skin in an upright or near-upright position around the clock also would encourage successful breast-feeding and allow early discharge of stable babies regardless of weight or gestational age.