Business operations, from production to transportation, all contribute to a company’s environmental impact. Unfortunately, the workplace accounts for a considerable portion of greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon footprint of offices and sites is a major source of greenhouse gases.
As businesses reopen and people resume their daily commutes, now is an excellent opportunity to consider how your company can minimize its carbon footprint. This will not just have a positive impact on the environment but can also lower operational costs and benefit your business.
Fighting climate change through a more carbon-neutral office is attainable with the combined effort and action of your managers and employees. Minimize your carbon footprint at work and encourage your employees to do the same by following these simple measures.
Use energy-saving office equipment
The use of office equipment is a large and growing source of energy consumption. You can help reduce your carbon footprint and other greenhouse gases by utilizing energy-efficient office equipment, appliances, and light fixtures that emit fewer harmful gases into the environment.
Use laptops instead of desktop computers because they consume up to 80% less energy. Choose all-in-one printers, copiers, and scanners that use only half the energy that the individual machines would collectively.
Take advantage of your device’s energy-saving settings, which allow you to adjust the display options, screen brightness, and sleep mode timing to save even more energy and extend battery life. Unless they are required to be left on, always switch off computers and monitors at the end of the day.
Using energy-saving light bulbs is another option to minimize your office’s energy use. LED and fluorescent light bulbs consume less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
Promote a paperless culture
The manufacturing of paper products emits greenhouse gases, which contribute to deforestation and global warming. Recycling can help mitigate some of the adverse effects on the environment, but only to a certain extent. The vast majority of paper eventually ends up in a landfill. By reducing your reliance on paper, your business may contribute to the environment’s health.
Moreover, ink, toners, and ink cartridges contain potentially dangerous compounds that, when incorrectly disposed of, pollute water and soil, contributing to the spread of ecological devastation. It also takes more than three quarts of oil, a nonrenewable energy source, to produce a laser printer and inkjet cartridges.
If you must print, make sure you do it on both sides. Doing so will slash your annual paper consumption by half, as well as the harmful gases produced in the process.
Encourage employees to use note-taking apps to take digital notes. Adopt electronic signatures—make it simple to collect digital signatures on contracts and legal documents instead of printing, signing, faxing, and storing them physically. Use electronic communications such as Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Trello for collaboration, project management, and business notifications.
Participate in carbon offsetting
Join the organizations committing to net-zero by 2050 and identify strategies to minimize your company’s carbon emissions year after year. It’s challenging to reduce your carbon footprint to zero, but there are techniques to offset, or at least try to counteract, any greenhouse gases you do produce.
Various marketplaces provide a wide range of corporate offset options. Your organization can consider financing renewable energy programs and projects that help people in developing countries or tree-planting projects that benefit the environment.
When considering different types of carbon offsets, keep in mind that not all marketplaces and offsets are created equal.
Eat mindfully and reduce office kitchen waste
Food waste and other waste generated in office kitchens contribute significantly to carbon emissions. Wastage also involves squandering all the energy and resources expended to grow, produce, package, and transport food. Furthermore, rotting food that’s been thrown out releases methane, another greenhouse gas.
Buy and prepare food conservatively and consciously. Encourage employees to bring a packed lunch to work every day, reduce food waste by eating leftovers from dinner, or buy food with fair trade labels that ensure the environment and workers’ rights are protected.
Consider setting up a composting bin, supplying reusable dishes and utensils, buying recycled and compostable napkins and other disposables, and replacing water bottles with a tap water filter.
Take public transportation or carpool
Private vehicles are one of the most significant sources of carbon emissions. If everyone in your workplace drives their own car to work, your company’s carbon footprint will increase. Reduce your organization’s carbon footprint by encouraging your employees to take public transportation or carpool with colleagues.
Taking public transportation instead of driving will not only save your employees thousands of dollars annually but also brings considerable environmental benefits. Switching to public transit for a 20-mile round trip commute can reduce your carbon footprint by 4,800 pounds each year.
You can also reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic congestion by carpooling. Employees that carpool may also benefit from less stressful commutes, shared travel costs, and preferential parking at work.
Some (final) thoughts
Sustainable business practices can yield substantial rewards for the environment and your organization. By following the steps outlined above, your business can minimize its carbon footprint, save money and resources, and attract environmentally conscious customers and employees.
Pretty but deadly: Watch toddlers around these houseplants
Here’s what you need to know about these common but poisonous plants that may be in or around your home:
Plenty of families have pots of philodendron scattered around the house, since they’re among the easiest to care for. But beware: While not fatal, eating these poisonous houseplants can cause irritated skin, nausea, burning and swelling of the mouth, tongue or throat, vomiting and diarrhea.
Pothos is another highly popular houseplant, with pointed, heart-shaped leaves in white, yellow or pale green. Taking a bite won’t kill you, but it can prove to be pretty irritating. If you think your child may have taken a nibble, keep an eye out for possible symptoms, including burning and swelling of the mouth, lips and tongue, difficulty speaking or swallowing, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.
A fast-growing climber, English ivy is commonly found in people’s homes, on building exteriors and under trees as a ground covering. But if eaten, these poisonous plants can irritate the mouth and cause soreness. In large amounts, it can cause severe swelling farther down the throat.
Known for their lovely white bulbs, Easter lilies are often brought home in beautiful bouquets. But keep in mind, these poisonous plants can irritate the mouth and throat and even cause nausea or vomiting when swallowed.
Sometimes planted in gardens around the home, this beautiful flowering shrub is known for its white, pink or yellow blossoms—and for being one of the most poisonous plants around the house. It has a lethal cardiac toxin that, if ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting, a slow heartbeat, low blood pressure (which can lead to sleepiness) and even death. If you suspect your child has eaten oleander, head to the emergency room immediately.
These trumpet-shaped flowers may seem perfectly innocent, but they can make your little ones sick. Though they’re not very poisonous, they can do some harm if a lot are eaten. Depending on how much is ingested, they can irritate the mouth and throat and cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Also known as dumb cane or leopard lily, this houseplant’s mix of of green, white and yellow leaves makes it stand out—as does the fact that it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate a child’s skin and mouth and, if eaten in large quantities, lead to nausea and vomiting.
Peace lilies are hardy plants with dark green leaves and white flowers, and are popular among homeowners with less-than-green thumbs. But like dumb cane, these poisonous houseplants also contain calcium oxalate crystals, so ingesting them can lead to the same symptoms of irritated skin and mouth, nausea and vomiting.
It may be a universal symbol of joy and good cheer, but this holiday favorite is actually on the list of poisonous plants. Eating mistletoe can cause gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that comes with diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever. It can also lead to a drop in blood pressure, though the American mistletoe appears to be less toxic than the European species.
If eaten, this common holiday trimming can put a quick end to your family’s merry mood. While the boughs don’t pose a danger, the berries are toxic, and eating even just two can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and drowsiness. To protect your little ones from these poisonous plants, always remove the berries before decorating your home with fresh holly.
Caladium, also known as elephant ear, has leaves shaped like arrows, hearts or lances, in color combinations of pink, red, white, rose, green and chartreuse. Commonly kept in the home, these poisonous houseplants can irritate the mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, throat and stomach, and cause nausea and vomiting.
Thanks to their stunning, colorful blooms, azaleas decorate many home lawns and gardens. It’s unlikely that your child will get serious poisoning from eating a small piece of the plant—mild symptoms, including mouth irritation, nausea and vomiting are more typical—but swallowing large quantities of these poisonous plants, whether it’s the leaves, flowers or nectar, can be life threatening.
Morning glories are a cheerful flower that adorn many backyards. While the blooms aren’t dangerous for kids, their seeds are—which is why they’re on our list of poisonous plants. The culprit? A chemical similar to LSD, and if a child eats enough of them, they can lead to a variety of symptoms that require medical attention, from diarrhea to hallucinations. If you have a fresh packet of morning glory seeds from the nursery, keep the kids away until the flowers start to grow.
Foxglove is a beautiful bell-shaped flower that grows throughout the US, often cultivated in home gardens. Its white, yellow and pink spring blooms can catch the eye of small children—but they’re actually poisonous plants kids should admire from afar. Foxglove is extremely toxic, and eating any part of the plant can cause the heart rate to become dangerously slow or irregular.
Malawi cholera outbreak death toll rises above 1,000
Malawi’s cholera outbreak has claimed more than 1,000 lives, according to the country’s health minister, who warned that some cultural beliefs and hostility toward health workers were slowing efforts to curb infections.
Cholera had killed 1,002 people as of Tuesday, while 1,115 people were hospitalized from the outbreak that started in March 2022, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said. It’s the country’s worst outbreak of the waterborne illness in two decades.
The country of 20 million people recorded 12 deaths from 626 new cases in 24 hours, she said.
Frustration and suspicion over the rising cases resulted in weekend violence. Angry villagers beat up health workers and damaged a facility at the Nandumbo Health Centre in the Southern Region’s Balaka district.
Residents accused health workers of denying them an opportunity to conduct dignified burials. They forced some health workers to vacate the facility, stoned a cholera isolation ward and forced the discharge of 22 cholera patients.
Suwedi said residents alleged the workers were using contaminated syringes to inject people. The Balaka district is one of the worst affected areas, recording 46 deaths from 1,450 cases in the outbreak.
Cultural burial rites are also becoming a source of contention, Chiponda, the health minister, said during a daily briefing Tuesday.
“For example, people who are dying of or who have died from cholera may be washed by family members, who then prepare funeral feasts for family and friends held very soon after death. Outbreaks of cholera commonly follow these feasts,” the minister said.
14 Ways to Eat Less Sugar Without Missing It
This article was made available courtesy of eatingwell.com
A life without any sugar is a life we don’t want to live. And thankfully, experts say you don’t need to eliminate it from your diet. But shaving off some grams here and there is something most of us should be doing. “I’m not of the view that we should be draconian about this,” says Mattes. “Sugars do add palatability. And the most nutritious diet, if it’s not palatable, will have no health benefit—because people won’t eat it.” These strategies can help you find that balance.
1. Utilize the new added sugar line on labels
“Always check the Nutrition Facts panel to see how much added sugar is in a product—like cereal or yogurt—and compare it to other brands,” says University of Thessaly nutritionist and epidemiologist Renata Micha. “Between two or three options, you can aim for the one that has less added sugar.”
2. Target your weaknesses
In the U.S., most added sugar comes from the following five sources: sweetened beverages; desserts and sweet snacks; sweetened coffees and teas; candy and other sugars (jams, syrups, toppings); and breakfast cereals and granola bars. Figure out which category you tend to get the most added sugar from and start cutting back there. You’ll get the greatest reduction in overall sugar and boost in health benefits, says Ewoldt.
3. Look for high-quality carbs
Many packaged products—tortillas, granola bars—fall into a nutritional gray zone. They may be made with whole grains (good) and still contain lots of sugar (not so good). Even more stealthily, the front of the package may declare “no added sugars,” but the manufacturer has replaced this nutrient with something else, such as refined starches that have no fiber and affect your body in ways similar to added sugars. “So it’s important to assess overall carb quality, not just sugar alone,” says Micha.
One simple way to do that: use the 10-to-1 metric. This means for every 10 grams of total carbohydrate that a product contains, 1 gram or more should be fiber. (It’s based on the ratio of total carb to fiber found in whole wheat.) Micha and her colleagues discovered that when they applied this trick to U.S. supermarket foods, it quickly identified items with higher-quality carbs that also happened to be lower in sugar. And they were healthier in general—lower in sodium and higher in protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B , vitamin E, zinc and iron.
4. Don’t drink your sugar
You know that soda is potum non grata, but other sugary beverages may slip past your nutritional radar. Coffee drinks like a bottled Frappuccino can have 34 grams of added sugar, and one 20-ounce sports drink packs as much as 48 grams—which is just about 100% of your daily limit. (For comparison, a can of Coke has 39 grams.) “Sports drinks serve a purpose for elite athletes, or let’s face it, when we’re sick with the flu or prepping for a colonoscopy. But for everyone else, just choose water,” says Nancy Farrell Allen, M.S., RDN, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And let’s not forget cocktails. Alcohol itself contains no or very little sugar, but when you add the coffee liqueur to your ‘tini—that’s when the grams can go through the roof.
By eliminating even one sugary beverage a day and instead sipping water with a squeeze of lime or orange for flavor, you can dramatically reduce your sugar intake—especially given that sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added sugar in the American diet, says Micha. You could also try drinking seltzer in fun flavors, infusing your water with fresh fruit or eating an apple or orange alongside a glass of ice water. We love the Strawberry, Basil & Lime Infused Water pictured above.
5. Take your time
All of our experts recommend weaning yourself off sweetness slowly. Do you add sugar to your coffee or tea? Then use a little less tomorrow. A few days later, dial it back a bit more. Studies show that reducing sugar by 5 to 20%—equivalent to deleting about 4 to 12 grams daily—is not noticeable, and that over time your perception of sweetness intensity changes. In one trial, people who limited their sugar intake for 2 to 3 months rated pudding as much sweeter than those who did not.
6. Be wary of packaged bars
We love the grab-and-go convenience of them, but granola and energy bars supply a lot of the added sugar in our diets. So scan for ones that are low in sugar and as minimally processed as possible (short ingredients list of recognizable whole foods). They often taste just as good and can save you 5 to 15 grams of added sugars (that’s between 1 and 4 teaspoons of sugar) per bar! Even better, put a handful of nuts, seeds and oats, plus some unsweetened coconut flakes and a few dark chocolate chips (11 of them only have 2 grams of added sugar) in a travel container for a snack that’s packed with nutrients, protein, fiber and very little sugar.
If you want to go above and beyond, make your own. It’s a great way to keep sugar in check and customize the flavors to meet your preference.
7. Swap your yogurt for skyr
This Icelandic-style yogurt is made using different types of cultures than the standard kind you may be used to, giving it a thick, creamy consistency and less sour taste. And even the flavored varieties of skyr tend to have about one-third less added sugar than other flavored yogurts—which can be quite high in them.
8. Get enough sleep
The average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours a night—yet more than 35% of Americans get less than that. Missing out on zzz’s can monkey with your hunger hormones, making you crave sugary foods (and salty ones too). However, in a review of seven clinical studies published in the Journal of Sleep Research, participants who increased their sleep duration—by anywhere from 21 minutes to 3 hours a night—had better insulin sensitivity as well as reductions in appetite, sweet cravings and sugar intake.
9. Trick your palate
Studies have shown that sweetness can be amplified by concurrently stimulating your other senses, says experimental psychologist Qian Janice Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University in Denmark. One strategy to try: Sniff cinnamon, vanilla, cherry, almond, caramel, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry or banana before a meal or with your food. It can make you think what you’re eating is 5 to 25% sweeter than it would taste without one of these aromas. “The smell-taste interaction together form this perception of flavor. And that’s because when we smell something, the mind is already forming expectations that it’s a sweet food,” explains Wang. “So if you have cinnamon-vanilla oatmeal every day, and you gradually reduce the sugar, by the end it may be enough to have the cinnamon and vanilla without the sugar.”
10. Avoid sneaky sources
Sugar isn’t just added to make foods taste better. It also acts as a preservative that extends shelf life and prevents staleness, makes pastries tender by preventing gluten formation and encourages fermentation by providing food for yeast, allowing breads to rise, among other qualities. For these reasons, food manufacturers add sugar not just to traditionally sweet foods, but to tons of savory ones, as well. “For example, the other day I picked up a tofu, broccoli and brown rice frozen meal—can you get much healthier than that? But when I looked at the label, it had 17 grams of added sugar, most of it from the sauce,” says Andromalos. Check out our list of sneaky sources that can easily add up. Another reason to read and compare labels!
11. Use less sugar in your baking
“Recipes for things like cookies and cakes often call for more sugar than is necessary— so you can play around and see how much you can simply leave out,” says EatingWell recipe tester and developer Laura Kanya, who suggests removing a small amount and going from there. She was able to use one-third less sugar in the Raspberry Swirl Brownies here compared to a typical brownie recipe. The cocoa and pureed raspberries add richness and natural sweetness. “Sugar does impact the moistness, texture and browning of baked goods, so you may notice a difference there,” adds Kanya.
12. Roast your veggies
Rather than steaming or sautéing vegetables and relying on dressings and sauces (which often contain added sugars) to jazz them up, pop them in a 450°F oven. It caramelizes the natural sugars and makes them taste sweeter and more intense, says sensory scientist and dietitian Sungeun Choi, Ph.D., RDN, an associate professor in the department of family, nutrition and exercise sciences at New York’s Queens College.
13. Add it on top of baked goods
Sprinkling a small amount of coarse sugar on homemade, lower-sugar muffins, quick breads and cookies “delivers that extreme burst of sweetness and crunch with each bite, so you’re less likely to miss the sugar within the cookie or muffin,” says Andromalos.
14. Bake with natural sweeteners
Replace some of the sugar with mashed bananas or other fruits, unsweetened applesauce or blended dates, cooked sweet potatoes or prunes. This will also add moisture. “It’s a great way of getting some extra vitamins and minerals as well,” says Andromalos. “We used pineapple to sweeten our Pineapple Morning Glory Muffins—slashing the sugar content in half compared to similar muffins,” says Kanya. “And grating it incorporates the fruit into the batter.”
15. Trade flavor for sugar
The more taste you’re able to eke out of every recipe, the less sweet stuff you’ll need. “Our Cider-Sweetened Apple Pie contains less than half the added sugar of a typical recipe,” says Kanya. “How did we do it? By reducing already-sweet apple cider into a concentrated syrup.” It counts as added sugar, but the difference is we don’t need to use as much sweetener overall because the syrup’s intense flavor fools your taste buds into thinking the pie is sweeter than it actually is. You can apply this same technique to other recipes—and experiment with reducing different juices.
This article first appeared in EatingWell, September 2021
Grief and Loss, How to Cope with Them
Losing anything of value is never easy. Coping with grief and loss must be done your right way. Sadly, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Regardless of the type of loss you are faced with, the only thing required is that you understand the stages of grief and where you currently are on them. This understanding will provide you with healthier coping options.
WHAT DOES GRIEF MEAN?
When you lose something of great importance, your natural emotional and painful response to it is grief. Sometimes it comes with various reactions such as guilt, disbelief, deep sadness, health disruption, insomnia, inability to eat amongst so many things. Everything i mentioned here is normal when you are faced with grief. Your grief could come as a result of losing your health, a job, a relationship, a loved one, a miscarriage, a career dream, a friendship, a safety net after infidelity or even moving homes amongst many other reasons.
I see many couples and individuals sit across me and narrate their experiences with grief. Despite the many responses to grief, one thing that you cannot take away is that the intensity of your grief is always directly proportional to the significance of your loss.
Due to the personal nature of loss, i do not expect you to grieve like any other person. This means that there is no shame with how you decide to grieve. The only thing i want you to understand is that there are stages to grieving and you must understand what stage you are in to enable yourself transition from that stage, get a new perspective on the matter and then begin to move on from the heaviness you feel.
The Sad Honest Truth About Grief
Be it the loss of a parent, child, partner, spouse, relative, friend or colleague at work, It’s all pain and you may not ever get over this loss. However, time is what truly does the magic for you because your sorrow eases, you face the loss and then gradually begin to move on from that point.
Now that you understand how unique grieving is to every individual, you must also know that what separates everyone in grief are their beliefs, their faith, previous experiences with grieving, their coping styles and lastly their personality. Do not expect to recover immediately with actual loss of a loved one, or try to heal after replacing the job, house or opportunity you lost with a new one. It takes time. While some start to feel better in weeks and months, the measurement for others grieving is usually in years.
THE PROPER WAY TO GRIEVE
You must understand somethings about grief as this gives you an edge;
A) IF you feel pain, do not pretend it does not exists simply because you want to appear strong. This act will keep you trapped in one stage of grief longer than expected. Weakness or Strength are not the consideration at this point. Pain is.
B) Do not try to grieve the way you have seen a sibling, spouse, parent or someone else go about it. That is their own way. Trying to emulate them in this regard may not work for you and could end up doing more damage than good.
C) It’s not time to be alone with yourself and misery. Get the support of your loved ones and others who truly care about your well-being. Staying alone is not the solution to numbing the pain.
D) The feeling of grief will make you laugh, cry, smile, talk to yourself and so on. In extreme cases, clients have mentioned that grief made them romanticize with thoughts around death and suicide. Especially for individuals who lost a spouse.
E) Your emotions are not stable when you are grieving. This is what grief does to you. Forcing yourself to stabilize your emotions is not the key. Recognizing the emotions you feel is the real solution.
Available on Podcast:
Learning about the 5 stages of grief
Denial: This is the phase where an individual hasn’t yet come to terms with what has happened. The associated shock or emotional overwhelm dissociates the victim in such a way that the circumstances look like an unfolding movie plot with them as spectators.
Anger: At this point, a realization dawns on the individual. This comes with an intense anger that has the individual lashing out angrily and questioning a lot of things.
Bargaining: The need to have this happen to distance oneself from the flurry of negative emotions suddenly triggers an emotion that wants to pass on the grief to some other person, place etc. With this comes a negotiation where depending on the spiritual beliefs of the individual sees them bargaining , going on a spiritual deep dive all in a bid to reverse the situation.
Depression: This is a phase characterized by intense sadness that comes once you start to understand the situation isn’t particularly going anywhere or changing.
Acceptance: After healthily negotiating the first phases of grief, the individual now understands that the situation truly occurred. At this point, you come to terms with the pain and truly start to own the emotions you are feeling. It is from this stage that healing starts.
Despite the fact that I have listed these phases, it would be important to note that not everyone navigates grief by following these exact steps. Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist who first intimated us with these stages of grief never intended for these stages to be a rigid framework applicable to anyone mourning. I have seen clients who went straight to acceptance from the denial stage and just when everybody else affected was struggling with denial, these individuals were already available to assist their spouse, partner, siblings or friends with their own grief.
Grieving and loss is a bespoke experience for everyone. The circumstances may be similar but the effect on the mourner is unique. Hence for younger therapists, there is a need to make clients identify what stage they currently find themselves in. As important as this is, it is better to allow them speak first, tell a story, relive their experiences with the deceased and as you listen with your ears and observe with your entire being, you are bound to start discovering for yourself, where exactly they are with the grieving process (even if it doesn’t quite tally with any of the stages.
I truly hope this piece throws a lot more clarity on your current struggles with navigating loss. We are here to support you through your loss and believe that your complete healing is not too far away.
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