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Costa Rica has banned styrofoam a major win for the environment
25 June 2019 - After rolling out a national strategy to drastically reduce plastic use by 2021 last year, Costa Rica is now taking its environmental protection efforts a step further by banning the use of styrofoam containers. (more)

US: Trader Joe's listens to customer feedback, making big changes
25 June 2019 - Trader Joe's grocery chain announced it will be taking more steps to reduce plastic and other packaging waste. The retailer said it's been listening to customers' feedback on the issue, and, in response, has stopped offering single-use plastic carryout bags in stores nationwide (already banned in all large stores in California). In addition to that, Trader Joe's said it has replaced plastic produce bags with biodegradable and compostable options . . . (more)

US: Trader Joe's makes massive commitment to phase out plastic in its stores
25 June 2019 - Trader Joe's said it will eliminate 1 million pounds of plastic from its stores in 2019 and will invest in sustainable alternatives for product packaging across a wide range of categories. The announcement builds on the company's previous efforts to reduce plastic. For example, the company doesn't provide single-use plastic bags at take-out, uses compostable bags for produce, and replaced styrofoam components with sustainable alternatives. (more)

Music playlists could help dementia patients
24 June 2019 - Personalized music playlists that rekindle memories of childhood and happy moments may bring joy to dementia patients, because music can activate parts of the brain not affected by the disease, experts say. A recent article in The Lancet Neurology describes a presentation earlier this year by Lowndes and University of Edinburgh psychiatrist Dr. Tom Russ at the Edinburgh Science Festival. (more)

Teens with strong connections at home and school may become healthier adults - US study
24 June 2019 - Teens who feel understood by their parents and teachers may grow up to be healthier adults, a U.S. study suggests. Higher levels of family connectedness were linked to lower odds of emotional distress, all exposures to violence ... [and] drug abuse, the study also found. (more)

European consumers back businesses supporting refugees
23 June 2019 - European consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product if it was sold by a business helping refugees ... according to a study published on Thursday [20 June]. Some European companies have started hiring refugees directly or using profits to help refugees start their own businesses. (more)

London named Europe's top 'tech for good' hotspot
23 June 2019 - London has been named the best European city for developing technology to solve environmental and social problems, according to E.U.-funded research unveiled on Tuesday [18 June]. London had a 'significant lead' over other cities for nurturing 'tech for good' ventures, with Amsterdam ranked second, followed by Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Paris, according to Nesta, the British-based innovation charity that conducted the research. (more)

Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing
22 June 2019 - People who experience nature for at least 120 minutes per week are more likely to report good health and psychological wellbeing, a large UK study suggests. Researchers found that it didn't matter how participants achieved their total time outdoors, whether in one long stretch or several short visits, but the greater the weekly 'dose' of nature exposure up to about 300 minutes, the bigger the benefit. (more)

International Yoga Day 2019: Celebrations across India
21 June 2019 - International Yoga Day is marked every year on June 21 since its inception in 2015. The concept of yoga day was formally proposed by [India's] Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2014. (more)

International Yoga Day: 'Surya Namaskar' poses light up UN Headquarters
21 June 2019 - The United Nations headquarters [New York City] was lit up with postures of 'Surya Namaskar' and the message of 'Yoga for Climate Action' as India's Permanent Mission to the UN kick-started its celebrations for the 5th International Day of Yoga [on Wednesday, 19 June]. The North Facade of the UN Secretariat building was awash with 'Surya Namaskar' or 'Sun Salutation' postures projected against a colourful background. (more)

The best images from India's global celebration of yoga
21 June 2019 - On submarines and on mountain tops, in schools and in parks, by the dozens and by the thousands, Indians celebrated an ancient tradition that grew into a global phenomenon. Friday [21 June] marked the fifth International Day of Yoga, a yearly event created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to highlight yoga [asanas] both within India and around the world. (more)

Yoga Day: Thousands of Indians celebrate the day
21 June 2019 - Indians across the country celebrated the fifth international yoga day on Friday [21 June]. Temperatures are soaring in many cities, including the capital Delhi, but that didn't stop people from gathering outdoors and stretching and bending their way through at least an hour of yoga. ... Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is known to be a yoga enthusiast, also practiced along with a crowd of some 40,000 people in Jharkhand state. (more)

World Refugee Day: How you can help refugees in the UK
20 June 2019 - On Thursday [20 June], people around the world mark World Refugee Day -- a day that aims to raise awareness of the struggles refugees face around the world and encourage people to take steps in solidarity with them. [The Independent writes how to help them.] (more)

Canada becomes first G20 country to ban trade in shark fins
19 June 2019 - Canada passed a new law banning the import and export of shark fins, which also includes a requirement to rebuild depleted fish populations. ... [Josh Laughren, executive director of Oceana Canada, a private conservation group said] that Canada is the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia. (more)

Factbox: Coding to cooking - the businesses helping tackle the refugee crisis
19 June 2019 - From virtual banking to flower arranging, businesses seeking to help refugees are multiplying as the number of people forced from their homes around the world grows. There are now 25.9 million refugees globally, according to the United Nations, and some have found innovative ways to earn a living while helping their adopted communities or others like them. On World Refugee Day, here are 10 social enterprises -- businesses that seek to do good as well as turning a profit -- with refugee connections. (more)

Indonesia to restore 200,000 hectares of peatland this year
19 June 2019 - Indonesia's Peatland Restoration Agency said on Wednesday [19 June] that it aims to restore 200,000 hectares of peatland in 2019, as it races to reach a 1 million hectare restoration target by the end of next year. ... Up to 2018, the agency had restored around 679,000 hectares of peatland, Nazir Foead, head of the Peat Restoration Agency, said. (more)

Momentum builds for EU leaders to agree carbon neutral 2050 pledge at summit
19 June 2019 - A push by Germany, France and other EU nations for the bloc to go carbon neutral by mid-century looks likely to be endorsed by EU leaders on Thursday [20 June], despite resistance from eastern European nations worried it could cost jobs. Their support underscores the growing political prominence of the fight against global warming. (more)

US: New York state nears passage of aggressive law to fight climate change
19 June 2019 - New York state lawmakers could pass as early as Wednesday [19 June] one of the nation's most ambitious plans to slow climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. That would make it the second U.S. state to aim for a carbon-neutral economy, following an executive order signed by former California Governor Jerry Brown last year to make that state carbon neutral by 2045. (more)

EU issues 'green' investment guide to help combat climate change
18 June 2019 - The European Commission sought to boost the flow of private money to tackle climate change on Tuesday [18 June] by publishing guidelines on what qualifies as environmentally friendly investment, in a move welcomed by the financial industry. (more)

South Korea fires up on renewables, to close more coal plants
18 June 2019 - As renewable energy powers up in South Korea, coal-fired generation, long the bedrock of the country's electricity supply, is being tapped to give up room. South Korea began its transition to cleaner energy in a 2017 power supply plan that aimed to boost the share of renewables from about 6 percent to 20 percent by 2030, while scaling back coal and unpopular nuclear. (more)

U.S. solar installation outlook brightens on falling costs: report
18 June 2019 - The U.S. solar energy industry lifted its installation outlook for this year and beyond thanks to robust demand for large-scale projects by utilities buying the clean energy source for its low cost, according to a report published on Tuesday [18 June]. In 2019, installations are expected to be up 25 percent from 2018 to 13.3 gigawatts, the report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie said. (more)

A simple online system that could end plastic pollution
13 June 2019 - Poorer communities in the developing world bear the brunt of plastic pollution. Could a new digital payment system spark a clean-up revolution? (more)

Cymru am byth! - How speaking Welsh became cool
13 June 2019 - 'Cymru am byth!' means 'Wales forever!' The number of speakers is growing fast, while bilingual TV thrillers and Welsh language rock songs are reaching a new audience. What's behind the resurgence? (more)

Two-hour 'dose' of nature significantly boosts health - study
13 June 2019 - A two-hour 'dose' of nature a week significantly boosts health and wellbeing, research suggests, even if you simply sit and enjoy the peace. (more)

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