Bring your reef-safe sunscreens when visiting Key West

February 11, 2019 by  
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Key West is taking steps toward promoting reef-safe sunscreens . Officials on the Key West City Commission just approved a ban on sunscreens that have ingredients that are harmful to coral reefs. The new law, which passed almost unanimously, is scheduled to be put in place by 2021. The motion outlaws sunscreens that feature octinoxate and oxybenzone in the city limits of Key West . These two chemicals are thought to be connected to coral reef bleaching. There is some research that suggests these chemicals damage the cellular structures in coral reefs, though several companies in the sunscreen industry have challenged those studies. Related: Maya Bay closes following extensive environmental damage from tourists Even if there is not a strong link between the chemicals and coral bleaching , the Key West City Commission believes banning these sunscreens is worth the price. After all, there is only one coral reef in North America. Keeping it safe is top priority, even if it means turning away business. “We have one reef, and we have to do one small thing to protect that,” Key West Mayor Teri Johnston explained. “It’s our obligation.” Unfortunately, there are few reef-safe sunscreens on the market. According to NPR , most sunscreen products in the U.S. contain octinoxate or oxybenzone. Companies like Aveeno, Johnson & Johnson, Coppertone and Neutrogena all have sunblocks that contain the banned chemicals . These corporations are also spearheading efforts to fight bans on octinoxate and oxybenzone, chemicals that they argue do not cause coral reef bleaching. Instead, they claim that a combination of climate change , ocean acidity and overfishing are the root causes of coral reef problems, including bleaching. Several companies even sent representatives to Key West in an attempt to fight the new ban. Key West is not the first municipality to enact a sunscreen ban, and it will probably not be the last. In 2018, Hawaii introduced a law that bans sunscreens that contain the chemicals in question. Officials hope the new law will protect coral reefs against bleaching, and they are urging companies to develop more reef-safe sunscreens that are better for the environment. Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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Bring your reef-safe sunscreens when visiting Key West

Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100

February 11, 2019 by  
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Asia’s Himalayan mountain range is about to undergo some major changes. New research predicts that global warming will melt at least one-third or up two two-thirds of the glaciers in the region by the year 2100, significantly affecting the 2 billion people who call the mountainous area home. The alarming prediction will come to pass if global carbon emissions continue at their current rates. Even more disturbing is that one-third of the glaciers in the Himalaya and Hindu Kush range will still disappear, even if governments far exceed expectations and dramatically cut emissions. Related: NASA finds cavity the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier According to The Guardian , the threatened glaciers are a life source for the millions of people in the region. They also provide water for around 1.65 billion people who live in China , Pakistan and India. Once these glaciers start melting, communities along the Indus river and waterways in central Asia will experience heavy flooding. “This is the climate crisis you haven’t heard of,” Philippus Wester, who works for the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, explained in the report. “In the best of possible worlds, if we get really ambitious [in tackling climate change ], even then we will lose one-third of the glaciers and be in trouble.” The new report predicts that the majority of flooding will occur between 2050 and 2060. After that point, the excess water will run out, and the rivers in the region will experience a decrease in water flow. This will have severe impacts on the hydrodams in the area, which use water to generate electricity for millions of residents. The melting glaciers also affect the monsoon season, which makes it hard to predict rainfall and water supplies. Farmers are already facing issues as water levels are starting to fall during the time they traditionally plant crops. Monsoons are also becoming more frequent, and the resulting flooding is threatening crop growth. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the glaciers from melting over the next 80 years. Even if carbon emissions are significantly cut over the next 50 years, a large portion of the ice cap will still disappear, leaving billions of people dealing with what could be a global climate crisis. That said, curbing carbon emissions could help preserve over half of the glaciers, which is still a goal worth pursuing. Via The Guardian Image via Pixabay

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Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100

Avoid allergies this spring with these 7 natural remedies

February 11, 2019 by  
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The 2019 allergy season is almost here, and that means many of us will soon be dealing with frequent sneezing and coughing, congestion, runny noses, headaches and watery, itchy eyes. The spring allergy season in the United States usually starts in February and lasts until the summer, thanks to tree and grass pollination.  Climate factors that can affect your seasonal allergy symptoms include things like pollen counts and mold growing in areas of high heat and humidity. Rainfalls and warm, windy days can also cause pollen counts to skyrocket, but don’t run off the pharmacy just yet, here are some natural remedies to combat allergy season. Behavior changes Seasonal allergies (AKA hay fever) can make life miserable, but there are ways to reduce your exposure to those environmental triggers. Staying indoors on dry, windy days can definitely help. Not to mention, avoiding outside chores like gardening and lawn mowing is also a great idea. You also want to skip the clothesline and dry your clothes indoors, so the pollen in the air doesn’t stick to your laundry. If you must be outside for an extended period of time, throw your clothes in the laundry as soon as you get home and take a shower to wash the pollen out of your hair and skin. You should also keep the windows closed in your house and car, and use the air conditioning whenever possible. A dehumidifier can also help keep the air inside your home dry, and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is a must when cleaning your floors. Even if you take all of these precautions, if your local weather forecast is calling for high pollen counts, it is best to take proper precautions and try natural approaches to alleviate the problem. Apple cider vinegar Is there anything apple cider vinegar can’t do? It can be a big part of a healthy diet when added to salad dressings and marinades, but you can also use ACV to clean your bathroom and kitchen and even removes odors from your laundry. When it comes to seasonal allergies, drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or mixing it in a cup of hot water with a squirt of honey) can reduce the production of mucus — the sticky stuff that lines your nose, throat and sinuses. Allergens can make your mucous membranes more productive, and the mucus can contain histamine. This leads to swelling of your nasal passages, and the production of more, thinner mucus that results in a runny nose, sneezing and itching. Related: Toxic smog causes school closures in Bangkok Diet changes Switching to a low-fat, high complex-carbohydrate diet can help reduce allergy symptoms. You want to eat things like leafy, green vegetables , yellow and orange veggies, onions, garlic and ginger. Be sure to avoid alcohol, caffeine, dairy, citrus fruit, sugar, wheat and red meat. Drinking a lot of water every day is also essential. Naturopathic Physicians recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces on a daily basis. For example,  if you weigh 200 pounds, you would want to drink 100 ounces of water. Dehydration can heighten allergy symptoms, so drinking more water will make you feel better. Supplements There are multiple supplements that you can buy to help you with your allergy symptoms. Bioflavonoids and vitamin C are natural antihistamines, Bromelain can reduce swelling, and Butterbur (Petadolex) can be just as effective as Zyrtec according to recent studies . Probiotics can also boost your immune system and you can get those via supplement or through fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles. Herbal medicine Using high-quality herbal medicines at their recommended doses can help with your hay fever. Consider using ginkgo biloba, as it is a bioflavonoid that is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, milk thistle is also very effective and can reduce allergic reactions, and yarrow can help with congestion. Eyebright is a good solution for sneezing and itchy eyes, and stinging nettles are a natural antihistamine. You can make tea with any of these herbs to drink throughout the day or place a few drops of tincture under the tongue. Related: Is a flexitarian diet right for you? Acupuncture According to a study in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, acupuncture can help with multiple health issues, including allergy symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes. The best part is that many find some relief with just one visit. Exercise Research shows that thirty minutes of aerobic activity can soothe allergy symptoms because it will naturally create an anti-inflammatory effect. When you are working out, the blood flow in your body goes to where it is needed most. Since the blood vessels in your nose aren’t on the top of the list, they will constrict and this eases congestion. “The effect typically occurs within five minutes of exercise and can last for several hours afterward,” says Michael Benninger, MD, institute chair of the department of otolaryngology at the Cleveland Clinic. If you must go outdoors to get your exercise, it is best to wait until the afternoon or early evening because pollen levels are usually higher in the morning. Images via rawpixel , ThiloBecker , TerriC , Marzena7 , kaboompics , Shutterstock

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Avoid allergies this spring with these 7 natural remedies

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes may be released in Florida

January 28, 2015 by  
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In an attempt to curb outbreaks of two devastating tropical diseases in the Florida Keys, the FDA is proposing the release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes into the area. Scientists  have bred male mosquitoes with virus gene fragments, so when they mate with the females that bite and spread illness, their offspring will die. This can reduce the mosquito population dramatically, halting the spread of diseases like dengue fever. Local residents aren’t impressed, though: there is no guarantee that  only non-biting males will be released, or that no modified DNA will enter a human’s bloodstream if they’re bitten. Read the rest of Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes may be released in Florida Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aedes aegypti , Brazil , break-bone fever , Cayman Islands , chikungunya , dengue , dengue fever , disease control , fda , florida , florida keys , Floridians , genetically modified , genetically modified mosquitoes , GMO , GMO mosquitoes , insecticide , Key West , killing mosquitoes , mosquito , mosquito larvae , mosquitoes , Oxitec , petition , petitions , tropical diseases , tropical mosquitoes

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Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes may be released in Florida

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