CSREnergy Conservation

HUAWEI IDP INTERVENTION REPORT

It is December, just when the wind was getting chilly, with most people taking a deserved break from work to travel and be with loved ones. When the exchange of gifts becomes commonplace, it’s quite easy to overlook a few things, especially those that matter.

But, in the spirit of giving and community awareness, HUAWEI teamed up with Friends of the Environment (FOTE) to show love and care for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Abuja.

Nigeria is ranked 8th among the 9 countries in the world with the highest number of displaced persons (1.2million) and 4th in Africa, trailing DR Congo, Sudan and South Sudan.

IDPs are simply people who are on the run from home, facing, as in the case of Nigeria, multi-faceted complex and often over-lapping issues like insurgency, communal conflicts, flooding and violence between pastoralists and farmers.

These people flee from their homes in search of basic human needs, food, shelter and clothing; and they live in little colonies or camps with aid from the government, organizations and individuals.

Huawei, showing a high level of social responsibility and empathy, visited two IDP camps namely Area One IDP Camp and New Kuchingoro IDP Camp with a combined population of just a little over 4,200 persons.

The donations made to the camps comprised solar lamps in particular, food items, clothing, and sanitary pads for women.

Speaking at the handover of the items, the Huawei representative reiterated their commitment to connect with people, not just on a technological level but also on the human and humane level.

While socially responsible organizations are reaching out to help IDPs, the surface in reality has barely been scratched. The Chairman of the New Kuchingoro IDP Camp remarked with glee that this was the first time they were receiving any form of aid since 2014.

According to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in the first half of 2019, about 142,000 new displacements were recorded in Nigeria, 140,000 by conflict and 2,000 by disasters.

Huawei has a tradition of caring for the less privileged, and it would go a long way if other organization would set their moral compass right and take a cue from the Asian tech giants.

Friends of the Environment remains committed to advocacy for the needy in society, while ensuring the use and application of energy efficient tools and practices at home and in the workplace.

Training

VINJOK LANGUAGE TRAINING PROGRAM

Learning a language allows students to think the unthinkable. It allows us to think, feel, speak, listen, read and write in new ways we never thought possible. We learn new things about ourselves. Intercultural understanding has always been an important part of language learning.

Therefore VINJOK is positioned to help you broaden your outlook and become more open-minded to learn other languages. VINJOK will also broaden your scope in diverse language by integrating new personality in your mind, which occurs every time you dig deeper into a new language

Register at https://forms.gle/52g4WgHzPbUXzADt6

Chinese is now considered as an important language worldwide because of its increase in presence in the business world. Chinese are involved in many businesses throughout the world Learning their language would be the best way to open the doors to a lot of other business opportunities

WHY LEARN CHINESE

Important For Travelling
It’s a fact that the mandarin language in spoken in a lot of areas. From Beijing to Singapore, there are many people who use this language. So, if you want to make your journey entertaining, you must learn this language. On top of that, by learning their language, it would be easier for you to communicate with the locals.

World’s Biggest Language
Chinese is considered one of the biggest languages in the world. You would be surprised to know that around one-fifth of the entire world population speaks Chinese as their native language. By learning this language you would be able to cover a fair bit of the whole world. Learn this language and enjoy the benefits of it.

Economically Important
One of the most important reasons to learn Chinese as a second language is that it is very important in terms of the economic factors. Look at the countries who use Chinese as their language, they include Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, it will be so much easier to gain access to this big share of business if you can converse in Chinese.

Useful In Business
Another thing about learning Chinese as a second language is that it is very useful in business. If you are doing business with Chinese people and you are unable to understand Chinese, then it would be impossible for you to understand the deal without translators. If you can understand and converse in Chinese, there would be significant chance to make this deal successful.

Ancient Culture
Another thing which can attract you towards learning Chinese as a second language is that it is a very ancient culture. By learning this language in depth, it will help you a lot in learning and delving into the most ancient literature

 

French is a major language of international communication. It is the second most widely learned language after English and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the second most widely taught language after English, and is taught on every continent.

More than 220 million people speak French on all the five continents. French is a major language of international communication. It is the second most widely learned language after English and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the second most widely taught language after English, and is taught on every continent. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, is made up of 77 member States and governments. France also operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language course for close on a million learners

WHY LEARN FRENCH

A career asset
The ability to speak both French and English is an advantage for finding a job with the many multinational companies using French as their working language, in a wide range of sectors (retailing, automotive, luxury goods, aeronautics, etc.). France, as the world’s fifth biggest economy, attracts entrepreneurs, researchers and the cream of foreign students.

An introduction to an incomparable cultural universe
France is often considered the language of culture. A French lesson is a cultural journey into the worlds of fashion, gastronomy, the arts, architecture and science.

An advantage for studying in France
Speaking French opens up opportunities for higher education at some of France’s best-known universities. Students with a good level of French may be eligible to apply for a French government grant to enroll on a postgraduate course of their choice in France, leading to an internationally recognized postgraduate degree.

Visiting Paris and the rest of France
France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 79,5 million visitors a year. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.

The language of international relations
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. Proficiency in French is essential for anyone considering a career in any international organisation.

A language that opens up the world
After English and German, French is the third most widely used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all over the world

The language of the Enlightenment
French is the language of the universal ideals advocated by the philosophers of the 18th century Enlightenment, who helped to spread the idea of human rights throughout the world.

A language that is fun to learn
Contrary to popular belief, French is not a difficult language to learn. It is a language that requires a certain precision but is also capable of expressing great subtlety. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable, starting with the first years of school. French also appeals to students because it is a soft, melodious, romantic language.

 

Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language worldwide, with 222 million native speakers — mostly in Portugal and Brazil, but also in several African countries. There are also almost a million native-Portuguese speakers in the USA.

WHY LEARN PORTUGUESE

large number of people speak Portuguese
Portuguese is very widely spoken, so it is not some old, unnecessary language you will never use. World language resource Ethnologue estimates that there are over 236 million Portuguese speakers in the world, including a whopping 222 million native speakers.

Portuguese is spoken in a lot more places than you may think
When you think about Portuguese, chances are you immediately think of Brazil and Portugal.

While the language is most well-known for being spoken in these countries, you can find it in some other, more unexpected places. Portuguese is also widely spoken in Sri Lanka, Goa, India and Macau, China. So you might find yourself needing your Portuguese skills in Europe, South America, Africa or even Asia!

Learning Portuguese opens up worlds of travel opportunities
Portuguese is spoken in some very popular tourist destinations.

If you enjoy beautiful beaches or enchanting rain-forests, learning Portuguese can help you on your next trip to Brazil.

Environmental NewsPollution

Nestlé Nigeria and Wecyclers To Tackle Waste Pollution In Lagos

There is growing concern around the quantity of plastic waste entering the natural environment, harming wildlife and damaging ecosystems globally. It is estimated that 70% of all ocean litter is plastic. The environmental impact is so enormous that the United Nations (UN) has described it as a planetary crisis that is causing irreparable damage. In Nigeria, we see the problem growing all around us. Due to the increasing usage and indiscriminate disposal of single use plastics, we are witnessing a surge in plastic waste pollution. Lagos alone produces about 10,000 metric tonnes  of waste daily, most of which end up in landfills and in waterways, exacerbating health and environmental hazards.

Tackling this plastics situation is an urgent priority which requires multi sector collaboration. Nestle is committed to working together with governments, NGOs and the other private sector and industry stakeholders to develop a circular plastic economy, where plastic is collected, recycled and reused efficiently. The company is a founding member of the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) whose mission is to build a self-sustaining recycling economy around post consumer packaging waste in other to stimulate employment, wealth creation and innovation.

L-R: Kemisola Ajasa, Regional Regulatory & Scientific Affairs, Nestlé Nigeria; Rabie Issa, Business Executive Officer, Nestlé Waters Nigeria; Mauricio Alarcón, MD/CEO, Nestlé Nigeria; Olawale Adebiyi MD Wecyclers, Bolanle Olowu, Head Business Development, Wecyclers; Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Nigeria.

In addition to this, Nestle has today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wecyclers, a social enterprise that helps households in low income communities capture value from their waste, to accelerate the process of recovering and recycling post-consumption plastic packaging waste in Lagos State. The agreement enables Wecyclers to extend plastics waste recovery systems to more communities through the establishment of collection points across 5 more communities. The project will also help to create 40 direct jobs for collection point operators and sorters, and empower an additional 15,000 Wecycler subscribers.

Signing of the MOU between Nestlé Nigeria and Wecyclers on Friday, 20th September 2019 at the Nestlé HO, Lagos State.

Speaking at the signing, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestle Nigeria said, “one of our ambitions at Nestle is to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations as we strive towards a waste free future. A key part of achieving this goal is to make 100% of our packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025. Another important element is our vision that none of our product packaging, including plastics, should end up in landfills or as litter in our environment, in our seas, oceans and waterways. Tackling plastic pollution is an urgent priority which requires multisector collaboration, so this MoU with Wecyclers is another step towards achieving our shared objectives of a waste-free future and building thriving communities.”

“In with the belief that producers and consumers need to change behavior and habits to manage the menace, we are taking actions with other industry members or FBRA and are also engaging our people, our consumers and business partners to play their part in tackling the plastics problem. At Nestle, we are passionate about protecting the environment where we work and take action to protect and improve it.”

Tackling plastics pollution

Mr. Olawale Adebiyi, CEO of Wecyclers said “this partnership is an avenue to extend the plastics collection and recycling process by setting up more collection sites across Lagos. We are indeed pleased to partner with Nestle to achieve our objectives of helping to create a plastics recycling ecosystem in Nigeria. We are also happy that in addition to tackling the plastics menace, the project will also help to create 40 direct jobs for collection point operators and sorters , while empowering an additional 15,000 Wecyclers subscribers.”

Centre: Olawale Adebiyi MD Wecyclers

The recycling exchange programme since it’s inception in 2018, has diverted over 400 tonnes of plastics from the landfills into productive reuse. Wecyclers will handle the construction and deployment of each recycling kiosk, with coverage areas including Ajah, Ikeja, Mushin, Lagos Island and Magodo.

Environmental News

How to keep the Environment Clean

A wise man once said, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

A clean environment is nothing short of a necessity. It is common knowledge that unclean and filthy surroundings can breed disease-causing microorganisms galore. However, we all seemed to have learned to turned deaf ears to anyone who mentions cleanliness out of sheer hopelessness.

To keep your surroundings clean, here are a few more reasons why you need to keep more than just dustbins to ensure proper cleanliness:

To Increase the Aesthetic Value

A clean and tidy environment is bound to look better than a filthy, smelly one with unbearably unhygienic conditions. An environment that is clean is bound to be aesthetically pleasing to look at as well.

To Address Health Concerns

If a place has flies, filth and foul stinks, can diseases be far behind? Any area with lack of proper waste disposal facility is going to harbour germs, bacteria and microorganisms that do anything but good to the human inhabitants.

To Kill Mosquitoes

Untended garbage can consist of decaying pots and discarded tyres. The garbage often gets stacked to such an extent as to form heaps that can cause water to stagnate. Stagnant water is the breeding ground for mosquitoes. Diseases like dengue and malaria might be commonplace in neighbourhoods with un-disposed garbage.

To Better Livelihood

A cleaner city can mean improved livelihood. Tourists, especially foreigners, have a strong inclination for cleaner and hygienic destinations. Keeping your city clean can mean more tourists and better standards of living for the locals.

To Breather Pure Air

Ever passed a garbage dump and stopped inhaling altogether for the duration just to avoid breathing in the witheringly obnoxious odour? You don’t need to do that anymore! All you need to do is keep your city clean!

To Enhance the Appeal of Your City

A cleaner place will not only attract tourists but also attract big-shot companies, corporate giants and multinationals and create more job opportunities in your area! Why move the cities to look for jobs when you can stay and work in your own?!

To Preserve Nature

Preserving Mother Nature is the need of the hour. The first step to working to working towards it is to keep the city you live in as clean and tidy as possible. It is your obligation as to be a socially responsible citizen.

Besides using dustbins to segregate recyclable waste from the non-recyclable one, you ought to stop littering around and ensure that the garbage dumps are emptied timely and disposed in the right manner.

 

Energy ConservationEnvironmental NewsPollution

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2019 – BEAT AIR POLLUTION

Just like yesterday, another year has rolled in to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED) which usually holds on the 5th of June, every year.

Friends of The Environment (FOTE), in collaboration with the Conservation Club of Federal Science and Technical College(FSTC), Yaba and West African Seasoning Company Limited organized a symposium to commemorate the world environment day.

The World Environment Day was first held in 1974 and has grown to become a global platform for public outreach with a view to stimulate global awareness on the need to protect and preserve the Environment for Sustainable Economic Development.

This year’s theme is– ‘Beat Air Pollution.

the sub-theme adopted by FOTE is the ‘Use of LPG as a Sustainable Fuel’.

Engr. (Mrs.) Joanna Olu. Maduka – Chairperson of FOTE, says there is a need for more Nigerians to embrace the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, if the plan to reduce air pollution and further cut down on the carbon footprint coming from firewood must be actualized. During the Welcome Address.

According to her, at present, we have discovered that many of our schools still use wood fuel for cooking. We therefore, have invited secondary schools with their teachers to this event, there will also be a cooking competition, while the efficiency of LPG will be compared to that of firewood, kerosene and charcoal as fuel for cooking.

She said, “This event is to launch the campaign for the creation of awareness and sensitization of our youths and women on the usage of LPG”.

Besides, despite the health and environmental issues attributed to the use of charcoal and firewood to cook, many Nigerians are yet to embrace other cleaner alternatives. Read more…

Environmental pollution: Group seeks transition from firewood to gas

Energy ConservationEnvironmental News

Why A Retreat To Nature Can Be So Therapeutic

Psychotherapist and philosopher Erich Fromm (1900-1980) called the longing for nature biophilia. This is people’s love for nature, for the living. The term comes from the Greek and literally means “love of life or living systems.”

After Fromm’s death, the evolutionary biologist and professor at Harvard University, Edward O. Wilson, adopted this term and introduced the “biophilia hypothesis.” Wilson spoke about the “human urge to affiliate with other forms of life,” in other words, about our connection with nature. It is a connection that has evolved over millions of years. Human beings come from nature. We evolved and interacted with nature. We should therefore be considered a part of nature, just like all other life forms. The same life force in us is also in animals and plants. We are a part of the “web of life,” as Wilson expressed it.

The biophilia effect stands for wilderness and the conception of nature, for natural beauty and aesthetics, and for breaking free and healing.

The lessons of wilderness

Scientists call what goes on in humans when they’re in the wilderness an immediate conscious experience (ICE). The main focus here is on the psychological aspects of the experience of nature and wilderness. It’s about what individuals experience personally when they come into contact with nature, about what’s going on inside, what states of consciousness they are experiencing, what new ways of thinking and seeing they develop, how they find new solutions to problems or learn to deal with physical or psychological stresses. Whatever happens in the consciousness when a human being is immersed in the wilderness, environmental psychologists call it an immediate conscious experience in nature.

On top of perceiving the physical reality of our environment with our five senses, we humans also tend to derive additional meaning from the impressions we see, hear, smell and feel. This is true for our social environment as well, which we analyze, trying to make sense of everything that goes on around us. In general, the human species is the only one on this planet that searches for so much sense and meaning in life — and in nature. We can interpret nature and find metaphors and symbols that “tell” us something. It’s a very individual process. Depending on our background or our current state of mind, reading nature can differ completely from person to person and moment to moment.

A seedling can, for example, symbolize our own desire for children, a growing business idea, or a new life plan. A mighty tree standing in a wild place, defying wind and weather, can trigger associations with steadfastness. I recently saw a perennial growing out of a sidewalk grate. It took root in a small handful of soil that had collected there, and it was in full bloom. I suddenly thought how it’s possible to make so much from so little, when there is a will. This association came to mind while I was looking at the determined perennial.

Or think of a sprouting willow tree after a clear-cutting. The tree defies its destiny, revitalizes itself even after a radical interference in life, and attempts a new beginning. It grows above and beyond the harm done. Those who are in a similar situation, wanting to leave old wounds behind and to feel revitalized, might find solidarity with this unfaltering willow and feel inspired to find new energy. The willow may be whispering, “You’re not alone. I made it. You can rise again, too.” The symbolism of a damaged, downright mutilated tree that defies its destiny and maintains its will to live is intense. It may also be relevant in cases of physical trauma — for example, if a person has to cope with a physical impairment or negative physical changes and wants to say yes to life, just as the mutilated willow does.

The value of retreating into nature

Nature offers us impressions that we can see and interpret as symbols and, at the same time, it offers us a place of retreat, where self-reflection is accessible. It thus supplies us with the material and, at the same time, the space to reflect on it. The value of the wilderness experience lies in the “being away;” that is, being elsewhere. When we get out of the usual everyday experiences and find ourselves in a completely unfamiliar, inspiring environment, we gain a little distance from our problems.

Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, environmental psychology professors at the University of Michigan, identified “being away” as one of the most important mechanisms through which our nature experience affects our psyche and gives our soul space. These conclusions came from their numerous studies with test subjects who found a retreat in nature and then reported on what the wilderness did for them. “Being away” also means having a time-out from society, escaping human civilization for a while, alone or in selected company. It represents being away from consumerism, away from the digital world, away from the expectations of others, away from the performance pressure and the corset into which modern life often squeezes us. It signifies being far away from a world in which we must constantly fit a certain image and in which we are force-fed what it means to be a “good” person, a “well-adapted” person, a “hardworking” person, or a “productive” person.

“Being away” means we are in an environment where we can be as we are. Plants, animals, mountains, rivers, the sea — they are not interested in our productivity and performance, our appearance, our paycheck, or our mental state. We can be among them and participate in the network of life, even if we are momentarily weak, lost, or bubbling over with ideas and hyperactivity. Nature does not send us utility bills. The river in the mountains does not charge us for the clear, clean water we get from it when we wander along its banks or camp there. Nature does not criticize us. “Being away” means freedom from being evaluated or judged, and escaping from pressure to fulfill someone else’s expectations of us.

“Being away” is the ideal way to experience the therapeutic biophilia effect of nature.

CSREnergy ConservationEnvironmental NewsPollution

The Reality Of Carbon Footprint

If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, have fewer kids and ditch your car…!

Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.

The most common way to reduce the carbon footprint of humans is to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse. In manufacturing this can be done by recycling the packing materials, by selling the obsolete inventory of one industry to the industry who is looking to buy unused items at lesser price to become competitive. Nothing should be disposed off into the soil, all the ferrous materials which are prone to degrade or oxidize with time should be sold as early as possible at reduced price.

This can also be done by using reusable items such as thermoses for daily coffee or plastic containers for water and other cold beverages rather than disposable ones. If that option isn’t available, it is best to properly recycle the disposable items after use. When one household recycles at least half of their household waste, they can save 1.2 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Another easy option is to drive less. By walking or biking to the destination rather than driving, not only is a person going to save money on gas, but they will be burning less fuel and releasing fewer emissions into the atmosphere. However, if walking is not an option, one can look into carpooling or mass transportation options in their area.

Choice of diet is a major influence on a person’s carbon footprint. Animal sources of protein (especially red meat), rice (typically produced in high methane-emitting paddies), foods transported long distance and/or via fuel-inefficient transport (e.g., highly perishable produce flown long distance) and heavily processed and packaged foods are among the major contributors to a high carbon diet.

Finally, throwing food out not only adds its associated carbon emissions to a person or household’s footprint, it adds the emissions of transporting the wasted food to the garbage dump and the emissions of food decomposition, mostly in the form of the highly potent greenhouse gas, methane.

The carbon handprint movement emphasizes individual forms of carbon offsetting, like using more public transportation or planting trees in deforested regions, to reduce one’s carbon footprint and increase their “handprint.”

Furthermore, the carbon footprint in the food industry can be reduced by optimizing the supply chain. A life cycle or supply chain carbon footprint study can provide useful data which will help the business to identify critical areas for improvement and provides a focus. Such studies also demonstrate a company’s commitment to reducing carbon footprint now ahead of other competitors as well as preparing companies for potential regulation. In addition to increased market advantage and differentiation eco-efficiency can also help to reduce costs where alternative energy systems are implemented.

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash – Having fewer children, eh? In Africa? That’s a tough call.

The most significant way individuals could mitigate their own carbon footprint is to have fewer children, followed by living without a vehicle, forgoing air travel and adopting a plant-based diet.

Having one fewer pair of small human feet padding around your home can help the environment, at least those were the findings of a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Looking at 39 peer-reviewed articles and governmental reports, the researchers determined that the best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions was to have one fewer child.

In reality though, shrinking one’s carbon footprint is difficult, and conscious choices have to be made to do it.

Researchers are aware of this, advocating that textbooks shift away from advocating for the low-impact solutions, like plastic bag reduction, and put forth possible solutions that are more radical, or at the very least, will have a bigger impact.

“Though adolescents poised to establish lifelong patterns are an important target group for promoting high-impact actions, we find that ten high school science textbooks from Canada largely fail to mention [high-impact] actions (they account for 4 percent of their recommended actions), instead focusing on incremental changes with much smaller potential emissions reductions.”

Of course, high impact and low impact choices can vary depending on where a person lives, something else the study points out.

For instance, switching from a gasoline automobile to an electric car still emits the equivalent of 1.15 tonnes of CO2 a year, but this number can go up if the electricity used in your area doesn’t rely heavily on renewable sources of energy.

“We provide mean values for our recommended actions,” the researchers write, “but we do not suggest that these are firm figures universally representative of each action, but instead best estimates.”

Still, taking bigger swings to help the planet may have enough of a spillover effect to save it, the researchers believe. At least until we’ve all gone vegan and are walking everywhere.

Take an action today to help the environment.

CSREnergy ConservationEnvironmental News

How nature can help us heal from grief

Here’s how you can help friends and family during somber times.

Death is a part of life.

It’s a cliché. But clichés exist for a reason.

The fact is we are surrounded by dying each and every day. Every time we step out in our yard, we are seeing an abundance of life. But we’re also seeing the results of the death, decay and rebirth that is inherent in the cycles of life.

It makes intuitive sense, then, that a closer connection to nature may help us better come to terms with death and the grieving process.

That help may take many forms, and with debate still raging over whether grief should be treated as depression, any early restorative and healing interventions should be considered an important tool in preventing more severe problems from developing that may require medication.

Teaching us the facts of life (and death)

On one level, nature provides an intellectual frame of reference for death and dying — reminding us that death is a natural phenomenon that we can neither escape nor ignore. That context should not be underestimated, particularly in a culture that often seeks higher meaning in, or a reason for, a loved one’s passing.

The regenerative powers of nature

The allegorical role that the natural world plays in our grieving doesn’t just end in teaching us that death happens. Nature also provides undeniable physical evidence of another age-old cliché – life goes on.

In an article on nature awareness as a healing therapy, Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, explains this key healing quality of nature as it pertains to grief:

“Being in nature one becomes aware of the infinite circle of life. There is evidence of decay, destruction and death; there are also examples of rejuvenation, restoration, and renewal. The never-ending cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth can put life and death into perspective and impart a sense of constancy after experiencing a life changing loss or a death.”

Emotional connections

On a purely emotional level, too, nature can provide solace in grief, which at its heart is a response to the loss of someone or something to which we’ve formed a bond. Such emotional support may take the form of new bonds with animals, plants or natural landscapes — or it may involve finding comfort by visiting sites or scenery that were dear to both the deceased and the grieving party.

Nature-based solutions for general health

It shouldn’t be forgotten that nature plays a supportive role in nurturing our overall well-being and health, a key factor in helping somebody move on from grief and avoid the risks of prolonged depression.

In an article on biophilia (a posh term for our natural affinity to nature), Neil Chambers describes the growing field of research into a nature-based approach to heath care, the benefits of which include better recovery times in hospitals, improved concentration and fewer behavioral disorders in school age children, and increased emotional and mental well-being:

“Our mental and physical health is directly connected to biophilia. As a species that exists within nature, we are incredibly affected by its absence and presence. Yet, we function in cities and buildings that largely lack a connection to the environment. Studies indicate that this disconnect has caused myriad issues that we now expect to be corrected with modern medicine and drug therapy. Since the early 1980s, studies have explored how biophilia affects our physical health, and the findings are eye-opening. The act of simply reconnecting people to the natural elements brings about faster recovery rates, reduced stress, and eased symptoms of physical and mental disorders.”

How, then, can we consciously use nature to aid in the healing process? Below are a few starting points for exploration.

Explore nature-based rituals

Flowers and plants have long been a symbolic part of our rituals surround death, but there is a growing movement that seeks to create more profoundly nature-based ceremonies and processes. From woodland burials to grief walking retreats, there are a myriad of options for incorporating nature into the rituals we adopt.

Get outside more

Simply setting a routine to get out more in nature can be a great way to keep moving after the loss of a loved one. That might take the form of a regular walk you take alone, walking with friends, or even seeking out a walking group that is specifically tailored to those who are grieving, as described in this Globe and Mail story. In the video below, Maureen Hunter, a former nurse who began writing and speaking about grief after the death of her son, reflects on the importance of one of her regular walking spots:

Use visualization

Dyer also reminds us that simply holding images of nature in our minds, and in particular images of nature’s healing and regenerative properties, can provide a powerful inspiration to keep going when it feels like our world has been destroyed:

“Nature’s healing forces can serve as powerful recuperative images for those who have experienced a death or other significant loss. Images of the rebirth in nature can be useful as symbols for the strong internal forces, bringing hope of surviving the loss. From monumental newsworthy events to ordinary insignificant occurrences, one can witness the incredible destructive power and the amazing healing capabilities of nature…”

Start a garden

From opportunities for exercise to providing healthy food, gardening has many potential therapeutic qualities. For those who are grieving, it can also be a great way to both get motivated and to form a direct, intimate connection with the kinds of healing processes we have discussed in nature. IdeaStream reports on one community in Ohio which took this concept to a logical next level, starting a Grieving Garden with the intentional purpose of coping with an unforeseen tragedy.

Be creative

There is no “right” way to experience grief, and there is no “right” way to use nature to deal with it. Each of us has our own view of nature, our own opportunities to connect with it, and our own needs in terms of our emotional and physical well-being. If you are experiencing grief, or seeking to help someone who is experiencing grief, take some time to seek out ideas, activities and rituals that work for you.

Energy ConservationEnvironmental NewsPollutionTraining

WHAT IS EARTHING?

Can getting in touch with the Earth’s electrons improve your well-being? We look at the science.

 

The concepts are ones that we all can understand. Celebrating nature. Improving health. Getting a good night’s sleep. Strengthening the primordial bond between humans and the planet on which we live.

The science of it all? Well, that’s a little harder to grasp. Which is why earthing — the practice of physically getting in touch with Mother Earth to better your health — remains fact for some and fiction for others.

 

In Defense Of Earthing

Backers of the practice of earthing — also known as grounding — often point to a 2012 study in the Journal of Environmental and Public Heath entitled “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons” to prove their point. (There are other studies, too, that earthing proponents tout, but the JEPH one is their touchstone.)

The article concludes that, “Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth — whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems — may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, [autonomic nervous system] dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed [heart rate variability], hypercoagulable blood and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”

Picture by Pixabay

How does one “earth?” Well, it can be as simple as the act of walking barefoot outdoors. There, with bare skin on bare earth — this, again from the JEPH article — “Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.”

It is, earthing proponents state, all in the electrons. The Earth’s surface is electrically conductive, enabling free-ranging electrons to jump into the human body. That is, providing nothing else — say, that pair or rubberized sneakers — gets in the way.

Once at one with the body, the electrons “rebalance” the electrical state of the body and create, according to the article by Gaétan Chevalier, Stephen T. Sinatra, James L. Oschman, Karol Sokal and Pawel Sokal, “a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems.”

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OK. But what about indoors, sleeping or working or eating? Can you get your electrons on indoors?

Many earthing products — sheets, pillowcases, mats for the floor, etc. — are sold (red flag! red flag!) so that you can get all that good earth energy with a roof over your head. The products all have some kind of energy conductive material — metal strips of some kind — woven into the product. The product is plugged into the grounding hole of any electrical outlet. That ground, of course, should have a direct line to the earth.

So, from ground to your king-sized bed on the second floor — you’re earthed. All you need are a couple grounding products, sold on several websites. These sites, it must be pointed out, have direct ties to some of the the authors of the aforementioned study (red flag!).

 

Speaking Out Against Earthing

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Dr. David Gorski, on the blog Science-Based Medicine, leaves no earth unscorched in his assessment of the practice.

“Basically, it’s the overlaying of ‘science-y’-sounding terminology to earth worship, where the power of the earth somehow maintains and protects us, and the cause of all illness is because of man’s ‘disconnectedness’ from the earth,” writes Gorski, a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit. He’s also chairman of the board of directors for the Society for Science-Based Medicine, a group which is dedicated to promoting good science in medicine and opposing pseudoscience in medicine.

“Basically,” Gorski writes, “it’s magical thinking on par with homeopathy.”

The Wall Street Journal did a look into earthing in a 2014 article entitled, “Will Getting Grounded Help You Sleep Better and Ease Pain?” and found it lacking in credibility, too. Author Laura Johannes interviewed professors and electrical engineers who confirmed that, yes, walking barefoot outdoors, or inside on a grounded mat, can cause the body to absorb electrons.

But, they point out, that happens all the time. Plus, they say, nothing is special about the Earth’’ electrons.

Johannes writes that there is “little credible proof of health benefits,” according to the experts the Journal interviewed.

Dr. Andrew Weil is the founder, professor and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He’s also a best-selling author of books on holistic health.

In a 2013 article on his site, DrWeil.com, he addresses the controversies surrounding earthing.

“We’ll need additional studies of better design and with more participants before we can know whether it is really possible to derive health benefits from earthing,” Weil wrote. “While the studies done so far are intriguing, some of the hype for earthing is over-the-top.”

In the end, there are proponents of earthing who are steadfast in their belief that it works, and that the science-based community (along with some journalists and other unsavory characters) are out to get them. And there are hard-nosed skeptics who look at earthing as a scam, as a bunch of scientific hooey and, at worst, as a capitalistic enterprise designed to take money from sick people.

As Weil suggests, more studies are never a bad thing. Until then, though, most would probably agree that a little barefoot walk in the park now and again can’t hurt.