Microplastics have made their way into human poop

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Each year, the world produces about 882 billion pounds of plastic waste, and about 80 percent of it ends up in landfills or other parts of the environment. Now, scientists are beginning to study the effects of microplastics on humans, and it turns out that they are showing up in human waste.

Microplastics are the smallest particles of plastic waste, and they are so tiny that they are invisible to the human eye. They are found in most bottled and tap water, soil, and sea, rock, and lake salt.

A… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building



One-third of the world’s protected areas face ‘shocking’ human impact

2.3 million square miles — or around twice the size of Alaska — of protected areas around the world face human pressure from activities like road building, urbanization, or grazing, according to a new study. Lead author Kendall Jones, a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland, said in a statement, “We found major road infrastructure such as highways, industrial agriculture, and even entire cities occurring inside the boundaries of places supposed to be set aside for nature conservation… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Scientists discover a huge new human organ hiding in plain sight

Researchers have revealed their unusual discovery of a new human organ, the interstitium, which consists of a series of fluid-filled, shock-absorbing compartments that shield body tissues. The interstitium was previously thought to be dense layers of connective tissue. However, Dr. David Carr-Locke and Dr. Petros Benias identified it as an organ while scanning a patient’s bile duct for signs of cancer. The doctors collaborated with New York University pathologist Dr. Neil Theise to further explore… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

UAE unveils plans for massive city simulating human settlement on Mars

Before humans move to Mars, there’s much research to be done, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is getting in on the effort on a large scale with a 1.9 million square foot city. The Mars Scientific City will simulate conditions for life on Mars. The research city could be a step on the path towards the UAE’s goal of a city on the red planet itself in 2117.

Related: The UAE joins race to build first city on Mars View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Doctor warns falling sperm counts could lead to human extinction

Will our lifestyle lead to our extinction? New findings from an international team of researchers indicated sperm counts in men from North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe have halved in under 40 years. Lead author epidemiologist Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem told the BBC, “If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future.”

Sperm count studies… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

These minimalist prefab cabins are designed for human “recharging”

Related: MUJI to sell eagerly awaited $27k minimalist tiny homes this fall

+ Vipp

Via Dezeen

Vipp, vipp cabins, prefabricated shelters, cabin design, recharging cabins, off grid cabins, prefab housing, energy efficiency, of grid living, nature retreat, View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Stay in the world’s largest human birdhouse for free

Planning to attend SXSW but still searching for a place to stay? You may be in luck—HomeAway is opening up its human-sized Birdhouse in downtown Austin to two lucky groups of SXSW attendees for free. The vacation rental website teamed up with West Elm to transform the quirky space in their headquarters into comfortable and stylish bedrooms that sleeps six. Keep reading to take a tour inside of the world’s biggest human-sized birdhouse.

Perched in the middle of downtown Austin at 5th… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Thousands of San Franciscans form human chain across Golden Gate Bridge in peaceful demonstration

Donald Trump’s inauguration might be unstoppable, but that doesn’t mean people are about to sit around and normalize hate and bigotry. Across the nation, communities are seizing January 20th as an opportunity to demonstrate the power of unity in overcoming darkness, and from inspiring Post-it-covered walls to the eleven-year-old offering “emotional-advice therapy” in the NYC subway, many are doing so in creative and unprecedented ways. To prove that #LoveTrumpsHate and that we are #StrongerTogether,… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Row after row of wooden pinwheels demonstrate the power of human energy

Constructed out of bamboo, stainless steel rods, timber, and polished aluminum, the self-supporting structure measures approximately 2.75 meters in height, with an area of 62 square meters and a weight of 9 metric tons. The designers are the youngest practice to win the Triumph Pavilion Architecture and Design Award and be selected to create the year’s pavilion.

Related: Top of FormBottom of FormNonScale’s Sky Pavilion looks like a beautiful fallen North Star in London

The Triumph Pavilion… View full post on Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green BuildingEco funeral – Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building

Maine’s Death with Dignity Bill Clears the Joint Standing Committee for Health and Human Services

This is a report from last Friday’s working session at the Maine Joint Standing Committee for Health and Human Services by our long-time supporter and volunteer, Valerie Lovelace.

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Valerie Lovelace is the executive director of the nonprofit It’s My Death, which she founded to honor a promise to her sister Dee, dying of cancer, “to teach others how to be with dying, how to speak and listen to one another the way we had learned to speak and listen, and how to go on even when afraid.” She is an inter-faith minister, ordained by calling, studying and practicing in the traditions of her elders and teachers, who are Native American, Christian, and Buddhist. She is a hospice volunteer, artist, and the parent of three adult children. She is also a homeopathic practitioner and a Reiki Master, retired from the U.S. Navy, and a trained EMT. She lives in Maine.

The 127th Maine legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services approved LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient Self-Directed Care at End of Life, on May 22, 2015 by a vote of 7 to 5 in a working session lasting less than one hour. Twelve of the committee’s thirteen members were present for the session.

The week prior, the Committee heard verbal testimony for several hours and received 44 pieces of written public testimony.

The bill, which will allow qualified terminally ill patients to ask for and ultimately receive a life-ending prescription medication from a physician, was first introduced April 7, 2015, and referred to the Joint Standing Committee for public hearing. Having passed that wicket, the bill must now pass sessions with the House and Senate.

Something quite special about LD 1270: it is the product of four bills independently introduced by different sponsors: Senator Roger Katz (R, Kennebec), and Representatives Roberta Beavers (D, District 2), Stephen Wood (R, District 57), and Patricia Harlow (D, District 36). None knew the others were working on a bill for patient self-directed end-of-life care. The four sponsors soon joined forces to submit a single bill, and the result of that effort is LD 1270, a strongly bipartisan proposal endorsed by six additional co-sponsors: Representatives Erik Jorgensen (D, District 41), Richard Campbell (R, District 130), Kathleen Dillingham (R, District 72), Brian Hubbell (D, District 135), Diane Russell (D, District 39), and Senator Dawn Hill (D, York).

“Ultimate Civil Liberty”

A particularly strong sentiment behind this bill is that of liberty. Two committee members spoke passionately about the end of our lives being a place of intimate privacy where “ultimate civil liberty” ought to prevail. That sentiment echoed through the room and I spoke with a number of folks afterward who repeated those words.

I have to be honest: the expression brought tears to my eyes, too. Having sat by the bedside of a number of dying people who spoke of the need for such a freedom, it was music to my ears hearing it from members of the committee.

Here in Maine, like other rural states, our legislators split their time between representation and full-time occupations elsewhere. Among committee members who supported LD 1270 are a physician, a family nurse practitioner, a healthcare program manager, a real estate broker, a human services provider, and a program manager for a statewide hunger relief organization.

Apprehension arising from testimony and the working session revolve around two central themes: conscious, voluntary choice for anyone participating (including pharmacists whose beliefs may be in conflict), and concerns for placing vulnerable populations at risk, including those whose health insurance may want to opt for the least expensive options.

Refuting Opposition Arguments

Insurance concerns arise from allegations that LD 1270 will ultimately lead to slippery slopes. Yet, 17 years of data and a lot of research say that isn’t so. Cases often cited in the argument are that of Randy Stroup and Barbara Wagner, both of Oregon and both of whom were initially denied on-going treatment for cancer by their state-operated health insurance plan. The two were notified by letter that their diagnoses qualified them in Oregon for all end-of-life services, including palliative/hospice care, home services, and/or an end-of-life prescription. The allegations, truthfully, point to problems in the 2008 administrative limitations of Oregon’s Health Plan, and not to problems in Oregon’s Death with Dignity law. The cases are typically cited out of context and generally don’t share the entire story. It is absolutely unconscionable that these two people felt harmed by their insurance company’s limitations. In both cases, the individuals did receive the treatments they sought after contacting media. And well they should have.

The obvious safeguard in these laws, of course, is that there is a lengthy, formal process that must be initiated by a qualifying patient’s request to their physician for a life-ending medication. Neither Mr. Stoup nor Ms. Wagner made such a request, either verbally or in writing, nor were they ever at risk for being forced to choose life-ending medication.

It feels certain that concerns will always arise with legislation like Maine’s LD 1270. I certainly hope so. Having the discussion is an integral part of the process to crafting careful legislation that ultimately will provide an end-of-life prescription choice for those who wish to have it available, and safeguarding for those who want to choose otherwise.

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