SEPTEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER    
Thrive Napa Valley encourages leadership through awareness, education, and outreach. We empower our community to connect and engage through inspired action to promote environmental sustainability, social equity and compassion. To learn more about these types of happenings in the Napa Valley and beyond, click on the links below.
Napa Valley Green Drinks!
Tues., September 1 from 5:30-7:30pm. Join us on the terrace at Grille 29 Lounge at Embassy Suites - 1075 California Blvd., in Napa.
Tonight's Topic: Water-Saving 101, The Drought Edition with Pat Costello of City of Napa's Water Division - a review of state/local water supply status, drought regulations, and a whirlwind tour of technological and behavioral changes that can reduce water use at your home or business, indoors and outdoors. Specific devices will be shown and local incentive programs will be publicized. 
Napa Valley CanDo brings together people from all over the Napa Valley who want to help our communities thrive through volunteerism and community action. Check out their CanDo Spotlight where events & volunteer opportunities from other groups around the valley are listed. Read the latest issue of the CanDo Connection
Monitor Your Bill and Water Meter
An average California home loses approximately 31 gallons of water per day to leaks.
> Check first for toilet leaks, then faucets, shower heads, irrigation systems, and finally, pipes.

> Review your water bill monthly to check for unusually high use. Check water meters at night or on the weekend to detect leaks. There should be no flow when all water-using fixtures have been turned off.
"Kindness Curriculum" Boosts School Success in Preschoolers

Over the course of 12 weeks, twice a week, the pre-kindergarten students learned their ABCs. Attention, breath and body, caring practice - clearly not the standard letters of the alphabet.

Rather, these 4- and 5-year-olds in the Madison Metropolitan School District were part of a study assessing a new curriculum meant to promote social, emotional and academic skills, conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM) at the Waisman Center.

"This work started a number of years ago when we were looking at ways to possibly help children develop skills for school and academic success, as well as in their role as members of a global community," says study lead author Lisa Flook, a CIHM scientist. "There was a strong interest in looking at cultivating qualities of compassion and kindness." 

While mindful-based approaches for children have become popular in recent years, few are backed by rigorous scientific evidence. The research team set out to change that.

The team developed a curriculum to help children between 4 and 6 years learn how to be more aware of themselves and others through practices that encourage them to bring mindful attention to present moment experience. These practices, the researchers hypothesized, could enhance the children's self-regulation skills - such as emotional control and the capacity to pay attention - and influence the positive development of traits like impulse control and kindness. 

Past studies show the ability to self-regulate in early childhood predicts better results later in life with health, educational attainment and financial stability. Flook says early childhood is an opportune time to equip children with these skills since their brains are rapidly developing. The skills may also help them cope with future life stress. 

Teachers reported one of the kids' favorite activities was a practice called "Belly Buddies," in which they listened to music while lying on their backs, a small stone resting on their stomachs. They were asked to notice the sensation of the stone, and to feel it rising and falling as they breathed in and out.

"it's something that's so simple and it allows them to experience internal quietness and a sense of calm," says Flook. They also each received alphabet bracelets to wear, to help them remember their kindness curriculum ABCs.

In addition to improved academics, the 30 students who went through the curriculum showed less selfish behavior over time and greater mental flexibility than the 38 kids in the control group. Flook cautions what while the study was designed as a randomized control trial, additional, larger studies are needed to demonstrate the curriculum's true power. However, the results demonstrate its potential.

"I think there's increasing recognition of how social, emotional and cognitive functioning are intermingled; that kids may have difficulty in school when emotional challenges arise and that impacts learning," she adds. "Can you imagine how this could shift the climate of our schools, our community, our world, if cultivating these qualities was the forefront of education?"
 
Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir

Some people feel a strong sense of kinship with all members of humankind, no matter what differences or distances might exist between them; others have a tendency to keep those feelings closer to home.

The QUIZ assesses how deeply you identify with all of humanity, independent of your identification with your country or community. It is a simplified, adapted version of a scale recently developed
 by Sam McFarland, Matthew Webb, and Derek Brown, psychologists at Western Kentucky University.

For the first 18 items, select the answer that best describes how you feel. There are no right or wrong answers, so please answer as honestly as possible. The last seven questions will be used by the Western Kentucky University research team to better understand how identification with humanity relates to factors like income level and political orientation.

When you're done, you'll get your score, along with ideas for increasing your feelings of connection to humankind. Learn more about the Greater Good Science Center, based at the University of California, Berkeley.
MADE IN THE USA CLAIMS
For most products, unless they are automobiles or items made from textile or wool, there is no law requiring manufacturers and marketers to make a "Made in USA" claim. But if a business chooses to make the claim, the FTC's Made in USA standard applies. Made in USA means that "all or virtually all" the product has been made in America. That is, all significant parts, processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Products should not contain any - or should contain only negligible - foreign content. The Federal Trade Commission's Enforcement Policy Statement and its business guide, Complying with the Made in USA Standard, spell out the details, with examples of situations when domestic origin claims would be accurate and when they would be inappropriate.
A recent study of teen drivers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. Researchers found that drivers manipulating their cell phone (includes calling, texting or other uses), had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash. The researchers also measured reaction times in rear-end crashes and found that teen drivers using a cell phone failed to react more than half the time before the impact, meaning they crashed without braking or steering.

Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel, according the report. In 2013 alone, 371,645 people were injured and 2,927 were killed in crashes that involved a teen driver.

"Teen crash rates are higher than any other age group, and this data confirm that the impact of their crashes extend well beyond the teen who is behind the wheel," said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The eye never forgets what the heart has seen.  - Bantu Proverb
Reading for Pleasure
Builds Empathy and Improves Well-Being

There is strong evidence that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and the risk of dementia, and improve well-being throughout life, new research carried out for The Reading Agency has found.

The report brings together a strong and growing body of research that shows how and why reading for pleasure can bring a range of other benefits to individuals and society. There is already strong evidence to show that reading for pleasure plays a vital role in improving educational outcomes.

The impact of reading for pleasure and empowerment surveys research into the effects of reading for people of a range of age groups and requirements. Among the benefits it finds are improved social capital for children, young people and the general adult population; better parent-child communication and reduction of depression and dementia symptoms among adults.

Another key finding of the report is that enjoyment of reading is a prerequisite for all these positive outcomes: people who choose to read, and enjoy doing so, in their spare time are more likely to reap all of these benefits.
 
Going "Grün" in...LATIN AMERICA

LATIN AMERICAN LEADERS DISCUSS GREEN CITIES

Earlier this year, mayors of Latin America’s largest cities sat down in Buenos Aires to discuss what they can do to fight climate change in some of the most populated cities in the world. The leaders came up with five important measures they need to take to mitigate climate change in their cities.

1 Recognize that green alternatives are not bad for the economy.
Felipe Calderon, the former president of Mexico noted that renewable energy sources actually offer more economic growth than non-renewables. Calderon also pointed out that the prices of sustainable options are dropping, making them an option that every city should consider.

2  Cities need to act sooner rather than later.
It isn’t enough for cities to just say they’ll make changes down the road; leaders need to start implementing these plans as soon as possible. Cities across the world should follow Mexico City’s example. Mayor Miguel Mancera advocated for a program they recently started that aims to cut pollutant emissions by 30% in the next six years. It is crucial for cities to start programs such as Mexico City’s initiative to mitigate climate change as soon as possible.

3 Transportation needs to change.
Transportation is often the leading culprit of pollutant emissions. In Mexico City, one of the world’s most polluted cities, transportation accounts for about 56% of the city’s emissions. Cities need to encourage their residents to cut down on their car usage and switch to the bus and metro whenever possible.

4  Cities need to improve their waste management strategies.
Landfills are known to emit greenhouse gases, and transporting waste to these facilities further contributes to the problem. Many cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, are implementing programs to reduce methane and air pollution caused from their waste systems. Part of this process is to increase recycling by opening more facilities.

5  Encourage compact cities.
Compact cities reduce necessary traveling distances and it would conserve surrounding nature. However, leaders must consider the population of their cities and how feasible this goal is. It is easy to look at a city such as Copenhagen with only two million residents and emulate the city’s walkability, but for a city like Mexico City with around 21 million inhabitants, these goals are much harder to achieve.

Latin American cities are still working out the best way to tailor green initiatives to fit their cities’ larger populations. For now, the steps that they have begun to take are the key to a sustainable future in these cities.

If you would like to have similar items of interest posted in our monthly newsletter, send us a tip or please send a brief description, a photo, logo or link to ThriveNapa@gmail.com
Copyright © 2015 Thrive Napa Valley
All rights reserved

2015 NEWSLETTER
All sources have been reviewed and, where applicable, permission to reprint has been obtained. Active links have been provided and are current at time of publication.
unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences