Blue Sky recyclable planner helps you organize for 2022

December 22, 2021 by  
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It’s hard to believe, but the new year is right around the corner. Whether you’re looking for a gift or have set a New Year’s resolution to be more organized, having a weekly planner is a great way to keep a record of important dates and documents. While many of us have converted to the digital realm for our calendar, a physical organizer acts as more than a basic schedule. It’s a notebook, a journal, a calendar and a filing system all in one. As you plan for events of the new year, Blue Sky’s got you covered with a 2022 planner that’s not only comprehensive in its format, but environmentally-friendly too.  In 2020, the brand launched into this idea by making $1,000 monthly donations to One Tree Planted to help combat deforestation . The investment then rolled over into a closer look at every aspect of the Blue Sky business and resulted in a new line of 2022 planners that honor the environment from cover to cover. The Blue Sky in Partnership with One Tree Planted collection is an example of this purpose-driven dedication.  Related: Papermelon makes sustainable jewelry from upcycled paper At first glance, the front covers reflect the natural elements and color palettes of the planet. Choose from Hazy Springs, Ombre Blue, Marks and Dyed Stripes in either a 5×8 inches or 7×9 inches size. Inside, the pages are made from paper produced from wood managed in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests. FSC certification ensures forest management with a focus on environmental, social and economic aspects. It means that the area is monitored to maintain biodiversity and replanting schedules. It also provides sustainable opportunities for jobs and economic growth.  Each planner is artistically designed with soy-based inks that avoid harsh chemicals and can be safely biodegraded without harm to the soil. In fact, every component in the planners can be recycled . Paperboard covers and plastic-free tabs allow the entire planner to be separated and disposed of with minimal waste. Check with your local recycling company in regards to the specific types of metal, plastic and paper they will accept.  In a single year, Blue Sky manufactures about three million planners. They are all made from responsibly-sourced paper and other materials. Few businesses are completely carbon neutral, so Blue Sky is committed to offsetting supply transport and other emissions through its tree planting initiative, which has already led to the planting of over 12,000 trees. As a company and through individual employees, the sale of planners also supports a variety of organizations such as Kids In Need Foundation, Wounded Warriors, Make-A-Wish and Breastcancer.org.  Planner Review Blue Sky is very proud of its newest release and offered to send a sample for me to review. For some perspective, I’m a list maker and intrinsically plan and replan everything in my life. My online calendar is color coded to distinguish between deadlines at work, timelines for kids’ activities, appointments, and even fun social events. So I understand the appeal of having an easily-accessible planner to keep things in order. I expected to receive a pocketbook where I could jot down important memos and fill in appointment times. This planner is much more.  My first impression came with the packaging. Let’s face it, I’m an environmentalist, so seeing plastic makes my blood pressure rise. Fortunately there was no deep breathing required since the box and wrapping were all paper based.  The planner itself is gorgeous. The sample I received is the 2022 Weekly Planner 7×9 inches Ombre Blue in partnership with One Tree Planted. The watercolor appearance of the cover is calming and reminds me of a journal . A removable paper tab on the front outlines the sustainable aspects of the planner, so a gift recipient will know at a glance that you considered the planet in your choice.  More than just a calendar on paper, this planner includes pockets for storing receipts, notes or bills. The opening pages provide a space for your contact information in case you misplace the planner. It also opens with a designated space for your yearly goals. From there, it provides a snapshot of 2022 and 2023 in a compressed calendar overview, as well as a list of holidays for both years.  Each month of the year is easy to find with plastic-free tabs that identify them. Within each section, the initial pages offer a calendar of the month with small boxes for each day. There’s also space for notes down the column and a small calendar of the upcoming month for easy reference. For a more comprehensive detailing of activities, a daily calendar with space to outline the specifics of your goals and activities is laid out in the following pages for each month.  Following the December pages, the planner further serves its purpose with a “ Future Planning ” section for the year ahead, along with several pages for additional notes. Overall, the planner covers all the bases for organization, looks great and addresses environmental issues.  + Blue Sky Images via Blue Sky Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Blue Sky. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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Blue Sky recyclable planner helps you organize for 2022

Research finds 30,000 enzymes that can degrade plastic

December 15, 2021 by  
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Microbes across the world and in deep oceans are evolving to eat plastic , according to a new study. The report,  published in the journal Microbial Ecology , found over 30,000 enzymes that can degrade over 10 different types of plastics. The large-scale study scanned over 200 million genes found in DNA samples to arrive at the findings. The study established that one in every four of the organisms analyzed could degrade plastics. More interesting is the correlation between the number of plastic-degrading enzymes found in different locations and the amount of plastic waste in the same area. The researchers say they discovered that the number of plastic-degrading enzymes found correlated to an area’s level of pollution. Scientists concluded that the microbes were evolving based on the type of plastic pollution present in their region. Related: Plastic is threatening animals, too — but this bear survived The findings could be the breakthrough needed to develop alternative ways of dealing with plastic waste . Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, thus contributing to the world’s pollution problem. While some recent studies have highlighted emerging microbes with the capacity to degrade plastics, this line of science is still underdeveloped. Aleksej Zelezniak, a professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and one of the study’s authors, said that the correlation between plastic waste and the presence of biodegrading enzymes proves that nature is evolving based on human activities. “We found multiple lines of evidence supporting the fact that the global microbiome’s plastic-degrading potential correlates strongly with measurements of environmental plastic pollution – a significant demonstration of how the environment is responding to the pressures we are placing on it,” said Zelezniak. The researchers say they started the study by compiling a data set of 95 microbes already known to degrade plastic. Then, they looked at other microbes to find those with characteristics similar to the 95. In the end, the researchers found 12,000 new plastic degrading enzymes in the oceans and 18,000 new enzymes on land. Soil samples were collected from over 38 countries, while water samples were collected from 67 unique locations. Researchers now say they will be conducting further tests to study the enzymes’ properties. “The next step would be to test the most promising enzyme candidates in the lab to closely investigate their properties and the rate of plastic degradation they can achieve,” said Zelezniak. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Research finds 30,000 enzymes that can degrade plastic

High PFAS levels associated with breastfeeding issues

September 17, 2021 by  
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A study of 1,286 pregnant women found that those with high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances ( PFAS ) in their bodies are 20% more likely to stop breastfeeding early. Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, research also found that PFAS affect pregnancy outcomes, growth and development into puberty and other aspects of reproductive health. PFAS are synthetic chemicals commonly used in oil- and water-resistant materials. Common products that may contain PFAS include carpets, textiles and cookware. While common in the manufacturing field, PFAS are dangerous to the human body. These chemicals do not easily break down and thus accumulated over time. Related: Indoor air contains concerning levels of forever chemicals Dr. Clara Amalie Gade Timmermann, a co-author of the study and professor at the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen, Denmark, says that the findings must be taken seriously Almost everyone is exposed to PFAS and the risks associated with the chemical. “Our findings are important because almost every human on the planet is exposed to PFAS. These man-made chemicals accumulate in our bodies and have detrimental effects on reproductive health ,” said Timmermann. In the past, lack of breast milk in the early stages of breastfeeding was associated with stress. The study authors now say that, while mental and emotional health is important, other factors must be considered. “Early unwanted weaning has been traditionally attributed to psychological factors, which are without a doubt important, but hopefully our research will help shift the focus and highlight that not all mothers can breastfeed despite good intentions and support from family and healthcare professionals,” said Timmermann Researchers analyzed blood samples and collected information about each participant’s breastfeeding habits through mobile phone questionnaires. The researchers found that those with high levels of PFAS in their system were more likely to stop breastfeeding early. “Because breastfeeding is crucial to promote both child and maternal health, adverse PFAS effects on the ability to breastfeed may have long-term health consequences,” Timmermann said. Via Newswise Lead image via Pexels

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The Gulf Stream may be near collapse

August 6, 2021 by  
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The  ocean  current commonly known as the Gulf Stream is hurtling towards a terrifying tipping point, according to scientists in an article published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Its collapse could threaten civilization as we know it. The strong current, which scientists call the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), has been compared to a conveyor belt bringing warm surface water from the Gulf of Mexico north into the  Atlantic Ocean . It simultaneously sends cold, deep, low-salinity water southwards. Related: Ice melt releases ‘forever chemicals’ into Arctic Ocean “The study method cannot give us an exact timing of a possible collapse, but the analysis presents evidence that the AMOC has already lost stability, which I take as a warning that we might be closer to an AMOC tipping than we think,” said Levke Caesar, a postdoctoral researcher at Maynooth University in  Ireland . Caesar was not involved in the research. The AMOC influences the climate of the east coast of North America and the coasts of northwestern Africa and western Europe. If it failed, sea levels would rise on the U.S.’ Atlantic coast, threatening cities. This could also decimate the world’s food supply, as it would affect rainfall from South America to  India  and West Africa. Additionally, the Antarctic ice sheets and the Amazon rainforest would be in even more trouble than they already are. Niklas Boers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in  Germany  was surprised by what he found in his recently published research. “The signs of destabilisation being visible already is something that I wouldn’t have expected and that I find scary,” he said, as reported by The Guardian. “It’s something you just can’t [allow to] happen.” As the title of Boers’s paper states, “Observation-based early-warning signals for a collapse of the AMOC.” Boers analyzed ice-core data from the last 100,000 years and discovered that the AMOC has a fast, strong state and a slow, weak state. For millennia, AMOC moved fast. But as global temperatures rise, the AMOC could suddenly go sluggish. This might happen in 10 years. Or maybe 50. Nobody knows, because how much CO2 is necessary to destroy AMOC is unknown.  “So the only thing to do is keep  emissions  as low as possible,” said Boers. “The likelihood of this extremely high-impact event happening increases with every gram of CO2 that we put into the atmosphere.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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The Gulf Stream may be near collapse

Amazon deforestation threatens harpy eagles

July 1, 2021 by  
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A new study published in the journal  Scientific Reports has found that young harpy eagles are dying in the Amazon due to deforestation. The harpy eagle, one of the world’s largest eagles, has almost “zero” chances of surviving if Amazon deforestation continues. The study has established that harpy eagles are dying of starvation in areas where significant deforestation has occurred. The Amazon is the last remaining hope for the survival of harpy eagles, with almost 90% of the birds currently residing there. The study warns that the geographical range of the eagle is continuously being limited by continued deforestation. Related: Monarch butterfly population declines due to climate change and logging Professor Carlos Peres of the University of East Anglia, U.K. and co-author of the study said, “Considering that harpy eagles have the lowest life cycle of all bird species , their chances of adapting to highly deforested landscapes are nearly zero.” The adult harpy eagle females grow to 10 kilograms, making them one of the largest raptors in the world. They are native to the tropical forests of Central America to northern Argentina. Unfortunately, due to human interference and widespread deforestation, the eagles have disappeared from large parts of their native range. Currently, the biggest threat to the survival of the birds is deforestation . However, other factors, such as hunting, are also threatening their existence. In some countries, including Brazil, Panama and Suriname, the harpy eagle has legal protections. Unfortunately, enforcement of the laws in these regions has remained a big challenge. The study was led by Everton Miranda of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In their study, the researchers monitored 16 nests in the Brazilian Amazon using cameras. They found that eagles in the region mainly feast on two-toed sloths, brown capuchin monkeys and grey woolly monkeys. From bone fragments observed around nesting areas, the researchers established that the eagles could not find alternative food where there was deforestation. The most alarming observation was that in areas with 50% to 70% deforestation, at least three eagles died from starvation over the period of the study. In areas with deforestation over 70%, there were no nests to be found. Via BBC Image via cyrusbulsara

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Amazon deforestation threatens harpy eagles

Amazon deforestation threatens harpy eagles

July 1, 2021 by  
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A new study published in the journal  Scientific Reports has found that young harpy eagles are dying in the Amazon due to deforestation. The harpy eagle, one of the world’s largest eagles, has almost “zero” chances of surviving if Amazon deforestation continues. The study has established that harpy eagles are dying of starvation in areas where significant deforestation has occurred. The Amazon is the last remaining hope for the survival of harpy eagles, with almost 90% of the birds currently residing there. The study warns that the geographical range of the eagle is continuously being limited by continued deforestation. Related: Monarch butterfly population declines due to climate change and logging Professor Carlos Peres of the University of East Anglia, U.K. and co-author of the study said, “Considering that harpy eagles have the lowest life cycle of all bird species , their chances of adapting to highly deforested landscapes are nearly zero.” The adult harpy eagle females grow to 10 kilograms, making them one of the largest raptors in the world. They are native to the tropical forests of Central America to northern Argentina. Unfortunately, due to human interference and widespread deforestation, the eagles have disappeared from large parts of their native range. Currently, the biggest threat to the survival of the birds is deforestation . However, other factors, such as hunting, are also threatening their existence. In some countries, including Brazil, Panama and Suriname, the harpy eagle has legal protections. Unfortunately, enforcement of the laws in these regions has remained a big challenge. The study was led by Everton Miranda of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In their study, the researchers monitored 16 nests in the Brazilian Amazon using cameras. They found that eagles in the region mainly feast on two-toed sloths, brown capuchin monkeys and grey woolly monkeys. From bone fragments observed around nesting areas, the researchers established that the eagles could not find alternative food where there was deforestation. The most alarming observation was that in areas with 50% to 70% deforestation, at least three eagles died from starvation over the period of the study. In areas with deforestation over 70%, there were no nests to be found. Via BBC Image via cyrusbulsara

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Amazon deforestation threatens harpy eagles

Amazon deforestation threatens harpy eagles

July 1, 2021 by  
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A new study published in the journal  Scientific Reports has found that young harpy eagles are dying in the Amazon due to deforestation. The harpy eagle, one of the world’s largest eagles, has almost “zero” chances of surviving if Amazon deforestation continues. The study has established that harpy eagles are dying of starvation in areas where significant deforestation has occurred. The Amazon is the last remaining hope for the survival of harpy eagles, with almost 90% of the birds currently residing there. The study warns that the geographical range of the eagle is continuously being limited by continued deforestation. Related: Monarch butterfly population declines due to climate change and logging Professor Carlos Peres of the University of East Anglia, U.K. and co-author of the study said, “Considering that harpy eagles have the lowest life cycle of all bird species , their chances of adapting to highly deforested landscapes are nearly zero.” The adult harpy eagle females grow to 10 kilograms, making them one of the largest raptors in the world. They are native to the tropical forests of Central America to northern Argentina. Unfortunately, due to human interference and widespread deforestation, the eagles have disappeared from large parts of their native range. Currently, the biggest threat to the survival of the birds is deforestation . However, other factors, such as hunting, are also threatening their existence. In some countries, including Brazil, Panama and Suriname, the harpy eagle has legal protections. Unfortunately, enforcement of the laws in these regions has remained a big challenge. The study was led by Everton Miranda of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In their study, the researchers monitored 16 nests in the Brazilian Amazon using cameras. They found that eagles in the region mainly feast on two-toed sloths, brown capuchin monkeys and grey woolly monkeys. From bone fragments observed around nesting areas, the researchers established that the eagles could not find alternative food where there was deforestation. The most alarming observation was that in areas with 50% to 70% deforestation, at least three eagles died from starvation over the period of the study. In areas with deforestation over 70%, there were no nests to be found. Via BBC Image via cyrusbulsara

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

July 1, 2021 by  
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The U.S. has long prized personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of sparkly stuff to set on fire come the Fourth of July. But this year,  fire  chiefs in some cities across the West Coast are saying no to fireworks. Excessively hot and dry conditions plus amateur pyrotechnics equals a terrifying  wildfire  season for western states. Fireworks have started major wildfires in the past, including the 2017 Eagle Creek fire outside Portland, which was started by a 15-year-old boy and burned 50,000 acres. A 2020 gender reveal party in California started a wildfire that killed a firefighter. Related: Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year Portland , Oregon, broke heat records last Monday with a sizzling 116 degrees. In response, the Portland Fire Department has prohibited all fireworks until further notice. Fire departments in nearby Tualatin, Oregon, have banned fireworks through July 9. “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” said Portland fire chief Sara Boone in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national  holiday , but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.” City officials in Yreka,  California , which is only thirty miles from the currently raging Lava Fire, have also banned fireworks until further notice. Some Utah, Washington and Montana towns have banned private fireworks this year. Steamboat Springs, Colorado, canceled its official public fireworks show. Clark County, in southwest Washington state, banned the sale and use of fireworks from June 29 through midnight on the Fourth of July. “We recognize that this decision will cause some hardship to some residents’ celebration plans as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that sell fireworks,” said Eileen Quiring O’Brien, the county council chair, according to KATU. “We empathize with all who are affected, but we must follow county codes. They are in place to protect the welfare and  safety  of Clark County residents.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

July 1, 2021 by  
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The U.S. has long prized personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of sparkly stuff to set on fire come the Fourth of July. But this year,  fire  chiefs in some cities across the West Coast are saying no to fireworks. Excessively hot and dry conditions plus amateur pyrotechnics equals a terrifying  wildfire  season for western states. Fireworks have started major wildfires in the past, including the 2017 Eagle Creek fire outside Portland, which was started by a 15-year-old boy and burned 50,000 acres. A 2020 gender reveal party in California started a wildfire that killed a firefighter. Related: Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year Portland , Oregon, broke heat records last Monday with a sizzling 116 degrees. In response, the Portland Fire Department has prohibited all fireworks until further notice. Fire departments in nearby Tualatin, Oregon, have banned fireworks through July 9. “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” said Portland fire chief Sara Boone in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national  holiday , but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.” City officials in Yreka,  California , which is only thirty miles from the currently raging Lava Fire, have also banned fireworks until further notice. Some Utah, Washington and Montana towns have banned private fireworks this year. Steamboat Springs, Colorado, canceled its official public fireworks show. Clark County, in southwest Washington state, banned the sale and use of fireworks from June 29 through midnight on the Fourth of July. “We recognize that this decision will cause some hardship to some residents’ celebration plans as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that sell fireworks,” said Eileen Quiring O’Brien, the county council chair, according to KATU. “We empathize with all who are affected, but we must follow county codes. They are in place to protect the welfare and  safety  of Clark County residents.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

Scientists just discovered evidence of a hidden chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza

November 2, 2017 by  
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Legend says that there are undiscovered chambers hidden within the Great Pyramid of Giza — a monument which has existed for over 5,000 years. Scientists recently announced a startling discovery supporting this notion, which was previously passed off as myth. Using cosmic rays, researchers confirmed the presence of a large empty space — a void which might signal the presence of a hidden chamber. The Great Pyramid of Giza was built around 2500 B.C. and is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Until now, no one knew the hidden void even existed — which his why scientists are so baffled. The void is located above a tall, cathedral-like room known as the Grand Gallery. According to a report in the journal Nature , the room is about 100 feet long. Said Peter Der Manuelian , an Egyptologist at Harvard University who did not take part in the research: “All we know is that we have a void, we have a cavity, and it’s huge, which means possibly intentional and certainly worthy of further exploration .” He noted that it is unknown whether or not there is more than one chamber. “In that sense it’s obviously frustrating,” Manuelian added. “On the other hand, as an architectural discovery, something we didn’t know about the interior of the Great Pyramid, it’s absolutely big news.” This is the first significant internal structure found within the Great Pyramid since the 19th century. Related: Ancient papyrus scroll offers insight into Great Pyramid of Giza mystery Mehdi Tayoubi , with the HIP Institute in Paris, said that the goal was to investigate the pyramid using non-destructive analytical techniques. He and his colleagues settled on a type of imaging that involves muons, tiny particles similar to electrons . NPR reports that muons are formed when cosmic rays from deep space hit the atoms of the upper atmosphere. As they rain down, they pass through materials — like the thick stones of the pyramid — and lose energy. When the researchers placed muon detectors in strategic locations, they were able to create a kind of picture that reveals whether the material above is dense — like stone — or an empty space. Said Tayoubi, “The first reaction was a lot of excitement, but then we knew that it would take us a long, long time, that we needed to be very patient in this scientific process . The good news is the void is there. Now we are sure that there is a void. We know that this void is big. I don’t know what it could be. I think it’s now time for Egyptologists and specialists in ancient Egypt architecture to collaborate with us, to provide us with some hypotheses.” The researcher is eager to see if small robots might somehow enter the space through tiny cracks or holes to reveal more information. + Nature Via NPR , Gizmodo Images via ScanPyramids Mission

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Scientists just discovered evidence of a hidden chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza

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