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, logos or photos below.
THRIVING: a state of being characterized by balance, belonging, and harmonious relationships with other people and with Nature
COMPASSION: a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
Definition from Merriam-Webster Incorporated
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
SUSTAINABILITY: involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources
Definition from Merriam-Webster Incorporated
ENVIRONMENT: conditions and influences that affect our growth, health and progress
Definition from Merriam-Webster Incorporated

Everyone's path to happiness is different. Based on the latest research, 10 Keys to Happier Living have been identified that consistently tend to make life happier and more fulfilling. Together they spell "GREAT DREAM".

The Ten Keys to Happier Living are based on an extensive review of the latest findings from the science of wellbeing. They are all areas which research shows tend to make a big difference to our happiness and are within our control. For each of the ten you'll find information, questions, resources and suggested actions to help apply them in your daily life. Listed below is Key Number 3:

Take Care Of Your Body

Our body and our mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as being good for our physical health. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of a depression. We don't all need to run marathons - there are simple things we can all do to be more active each day. We can also boost our well-being by unplugging from technology, getting outside and making sure we get enough sleep!
Nationwide, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents ages two to 19 years are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nearly 30 percent of adults are obese, according to United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings® Annual Report. During the holiday season, Americans of all ages tend to gain weight, which may contribute to obesity later in life, according to a report by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Studies indicate that "exergaming" has the potential to reduce the growing obesity epidemic among children and adults. A study by George Washington University found exergames "spurred students to move enough to meet the recommended intensity criteria for vigorous activity," and that these games are "a useful alternative to traditional physical education."

UnitedHealthcare launched a national initiative featuring Hasbro's NERF products this past holiday season to encourage young people to become more active through "exergaming." More than 1,500 Boys & Girls Club members across the country will receive NERF ENERGY Game Kits, a limited-release game that tracks physical activity and rewards kids for being active. 

Children are able to pick their own method of being active with the NERF ENERGY Game Kits, which include an activity tracker (NERF ENERGY Game Band), a soccer ball (NERF PRO FOAM soccer ball) and a mobile game (NERF ENERGY RUSH). As children participate in physical activity, they earn "energy points" that are tracked by the activity band, and these points turn into screen time to play the mobile game on a smartphone or tablet. The Nerf Energy RUSH mobile game is an "endless runner" game that requires players to turn, jump and avoid obstacles to complete courses and earn power-ups to continue playing. 

As part of the initiative, UnitedHealthcare will visit nearly a dozen Boys & Girls Clubs across the country to demonstrate how to use the NERF ENERGY Game Kits throughout the holiday season, a time when children tend to be more sedentary. UnitedHealthcare will donate more than 1,500 NERF ENERGY Game Kits to Boys & Girls Clubs in Arizona, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

The donations are part of a national rollout of the game to schools and youth organizations. Throughout 2017, UnitedHealthcare will deliver a total of 10,000 NERF ENERGY Game Kits to elementary schools and community organizations across the country, enabling children ages six to 12 to receive the kits at no cost.

"This generous donation from our partners at UnitedHealthcare is a wonderful complement to our Healthy Lifestyles programming that emphasizes healthy living, good nutrition and regular physical activity," said Penney Ainsworth, president/CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi, one of the first clubs to receive the kits. "By using this new game, we will help young people in our community develop healthy habits and learn that exercise can be fun."
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. - Dalai Lama
Colorado Rockies spread kindness in schools
The next several months will be exciting ones for the Town of Yountville. On February 16, 2017, the Yountville Community Center hosted the first of five engaging community events that are all about discovering what makes Yountville - "Yountville!" 
Featuring speakers from throughout our community as well as nationally respected planning experts who will delve into our "Community Character."

This session will include representatives from local transportation agencies and coalitions discussing how we move throughout our Town. Topics will include public transportation, bike and pedestrian access, parking and overall traffic management.

Yountville has a thriving local economy and is world renown for its restaurants, shops and lodging choices. We also have a eclectic residential community with diverse types of housing and residents. This session will explore how we achieve balance so that our businesses continue to bolster the sustainability of the programs and services provided by the Town without negatively impacting our residents quality of life.
All events will be held held at
The Yountville Community Center
6516 Washington Street in Yountville
​6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

All meetings will be recorded and made available via the document library on our website for future viewing.
For more information:
Save the date for the Awards Ceremony and Luncheon: Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Napa Valley Expo, 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration is open — purchase your tables or seats here

Excellence In Leadership

The Excellence in Leadership Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an executive director who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and whose vision has inspired meaningful and lasting change benefiting the organization and community.

Alissa AbdoOn The Move
Kathleen DreessenNapa Valley Community Housing
Tony FletcherEnchanted Hills Camp for the Blind
Tracy LambNEWS
Peg MaddocksNapaLearns
Sonia TolbertFestival Napa Valley
Janet ToddGirls on the Run Napa & Solano

SPONSOR: Redwood Credit Union

WILD American Canyon
The WILD Series has gone stream!

March 15
 at 6:30pm
American Canyon Library
300 Crawford Way - American Canyon

Alex Greene

Napa-Solano Audubon

California provides an abundant variety of wild edible plants. Many, like acorns, are important food sources used by Native Americans. Other edible plants are non-native or invasive species that we often call weeds. All of them provide exciting opportunities to gather food in your own backyard! Join local forager, Alex Greene, to learn how to identify, gather, and use wild edible plants right here in Napa County. You'll never look at a weed the same way again!
Many business leaders are seeing the relationship between long term success and sustainability, and that's very heartening. - Jacqueline Novogratz

Climate Action Plan

The Napa County Department of Planning, Building, and Environmental Services (PBES) has been working to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for the County for several years.  The CAP is intended to quantify and reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions in unincorporated Napa County, and its adoption would implement an “action item” from the County’s 2008 General Plan Update.

A proposed CAP was recommended for adoption by the Planning Commission in early 2012 and later considered by the Board of Supervisors, who sent the document back for further review.  Among other things, the Board requested that the CAP be revised to better address transportation emissions, and to “credit” past accomplishments and voluntary efforts.  The Board also requested that the Planning Commission consider “best practices” when reviewing projects until a revised CAP can be prepared and adopted.

The Commission’s current list of best practices was developed with stakeholder input during the spring of 2013 and can be found here. Project applicants are requested to consider these best practices and submit this checklist along with applications for discretionary approvals (e.g. use permits and use permit modifications).

In July 2015, a contract was awarded to Ascent Environmental to assist PBES staff in completing a CAP which addresses the concerns with the previous effort, is legally defensible, and meets all applicable State requirements.

The first step will be to review and update existing information related to GHG inventory, methodology, and forecasts.  

Please see the project events, for times and location of public meetings. In addition to the formal public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, four community meetings are planned.

Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend or to contact Jason Hade at if they wish to provide their input or to be added to the interested parties notification list.


Yes, you read that right. Leather made from pineapples. Pinatex is a new textile which is made with pineapple leaf fibers. And that uber funky shoe is a prototype made by Puma. The new textile provides a sustainable alternative to leather, and is created using mechanical and chemical processes to treat the pineapple fibers. It can be used for bags, shoes, furniture - anywhere where leather is used.

According to Carmen Hijosa, the creator of Pinatex, the new leather isn't just about providing a vegan alternative to traditional leather. It's about being conscious consumers - standing up and taking responsibility for the consequences that come behind the products that we buy and use every day.
HEALTH LINE SURVEY REVEALS MOST AMERICANS ARE NOT AWARE OF AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION'S RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCES FOR SUGAR CONSUMPTION, the #2 health information website, has completed a survey of over 3,000 Americans on their attitudes, habits and knowledge on the effects of sugar on the body. Using the American Heart Association's recommended daily allowances for sugar consumption—men (36 grams/9 teaspoons/150 calories) and women (24 grams/6 teaspoons/100 calories) —as a reference point, Healthline's survey, found that most people are eating too much sugar but don't know how to cut back. Although the American Heart Association was the first to create a practical guideline on sugar for consumers, the Healthline survey showed that most people were not aware of those recommendations - the vast majority (76 percent) were not aware of the American Heart Association's daily recommendation for added sugar intake.

Drawing from the Healthline survey on sugar, the American Heart Association published an article with its take on the data.

The amount of sugar that is considered "too much" has not been engrained into the minds of most consumers as it has for other nutrition facts such as total calories, carbs, and fat. Two out of 3 survey respondents said that sugar was their main concern (over fat and carbs) and admit they need to reduce their sugar intake. Many told us they feel guilty about eating sugar but their answers show that they don't fully understand how much sugar is contained in their foods, nor do they fully comprehend the role of sugar in physical addiction.

The survey serves as the centerpiece for the website's #BreakUpWithSugar campaign, which includes articles, infographics, animated shorts, and videos. Guest contributors included prominent nutritionist Keri Glassman, who will be appearing on "The Doctors" to talk about sugar in relation to Valentine's Day; and New York Times bestselling author Gabby Bernstein, who will be appearing on "The Doctor Oz Show" to talk about breaking up with sugar in her indomitable Spirit Junkie way. For the campaign, Glassman contributed her "12-Step Guide to Breaking Up with Sugar," and Bernstein recounted her personal experience quitting sugar in "Sweet Talk: Gabby Bernstein's Big Breakup with Sugar,".

"The survey revealed to us that just letting people know about the facts around sugar's dangerous effects to our health is not enough," said Tracy Stickler, editor in chief. "That's why our campaign offers both everyday tips as they relate to the supermarket or kitchen as well as emotional and spiritual advice for cutting back on sugar, which is highly addictive." 

The survey showed few have succeeded in achieving a healthy relationship with sugar; most of us seek to eat less sugar but fail. The majority of those surveyed admit to eating too much sugar yet 3 out of 4 do not know the recommended amount of added sugar to take in on a daily basis. Two out of 3 guess wrong on sugar contents of popular foods and 70% don't know how many grams are in a teaspoon of sugar nor the calorie equivalent.

"Scientific research has shown that along with obesity and tooth decay, sugar is linked to serious illnesses including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, fatty liver disease and insulin resistance. It also can contribute to skin issues, the aging process and be highly addictive," said David Kopp, CEO of Healthline Media, Inc. "Our readers depend on our guidance to help them navigate through the complexities of health issues. With sugar, it's not just about our changing our actions, it's also about shifting our mindset, which we address in our coverage."

The Healthline survey did reveal a high percentage of people seek foods labeled as having little or no sugar. More than half, 56 percent, said while shopping, they prioritized the label designating "no sugar added" and 32 percent looked for "sugar free" foods. Only 10 percent said they don't look at food labels, but for those who do, over 1 in 3 (38%) don't trust food labels.

By July 26, 2018 the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods are required to change including listing "total sugar" and "added sugars." Americans are in for quite a surprise as to the actual amount of total and added sugar packaged food items really contain as today significant amounts of added sugar are hidden in the ingredients listing and not the Nutrition Facts. There are over 60 different names for sugar -- most unrecognizable to the average consumer.

Additionally, there seems to be a misunderstanding when it comes to foods that contain a high amount of sugar that aren't perceived to be as sugar-laden as categories that overtly contain sugar as a central ingredient, such as cake, ice cream, and sweetened cereal. For example, when respondents were asked to select the food item with the most sugar in pairings, they incorrectly assumed common baked goods and dessert contained more sugar than a yogurt with fruit or an energy bar.


Decades ago Mexico City's air pollution was so poor, birds would fall out of the sky -- dead. Locals said living there was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, according to one report. In response, Mexico City took several steps to try to improve air quality including restricting driving one or two days during the weekdays. The program has had negligible results.

In 2008, the city added driving restrictions on Saturdays in hopes of moving the needle but according to new research by Lucas W. Davis, an associate professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, extending the program one more day also isn't working.

"Saturday driving restrictions are a flawed policy. It's a big hassle for people and does not improve air quality," says Davis, who is also the faculty director at the Energy Institute at Haas.

The study, "Saturday Driving Restrictions Fail to Improve Air Quality in Mexico City," published in Scientific Reports, is the first to examine the effects of restricted driving on Saturdays. It compares pollution levels of eight major pollutants before and after the program went into effect. Having fewer motorists on the road on Saturdays led to close to zero impact. Proponents of the Saturday program had estimated vehicle emissions would be reduced by 15% or more.

Mexico City has the worst air quality in the Western Hemisphere with particulate levels that are three to four times higher than in New York, Los Angeles, São Paulo, or Buenos Aires, the paper states. Mexico City has tried many different approaches to improving air quality, including the city's well known driving restrictions, which were first introduced in 1989.

The program works like this: restrictions are based on the last number of a vehicle's license plate. For example, vehicles with license plates ending in "5" or "6" cannot be used on Mondays. The ban is in effect from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. for both personal and commercial vehicles.

To determine the impact of Saturday restrictions, Davis analyzed hourly air pollution data from 29 monitoring stations around Mexico City from 2005 to 2012. He studied emission levels for carbon monoxide; nitric oxide; nitrogen dioxide; nitrogen oxide; ozone; large particulates; small particulates; and sulfur dioxide. None of these pollutants decreased as a result of Saturday driving restrictions.

Trying to figure out why pollution did not decrease, Davis next examined ridership data from Mexico City's public transportation systems. From city buses, to light rail, to electric buses, he found no discernible increase in Saturday riders.

"People have found other ways to get around the driving restrictions," says Davis. "Some purchase multiple cars, others take taxis or Uber."

Davis argues that as Uber and other taxi-like services become increasingly available, driving restriction policies will continue to struggle to improve air quality. Instead, he suggests that Mexico City and other cities plagued by dangerous pollution need to require stricter vehicle emission tests.

"Test every car, test every year. If you have a car that's polluting the air, you can't drive it. Period," says Davis.


China's rapid ascent to global economic superpower is taking a toll on some of its ancient ways. For millennia, people have patterned their lives and diets around the vast fisheries of the East China Sea, but now those waters are increasingly threatened by human-caused, harmful algal blooms that choke off vital fish populations, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Irvine.

"There has been massive growth in emissions from China's factories and cars over the past few decades, and what comes out of the smokestacks and tailpipes tends to be richer in nitrogen than phosphorus," said Katherine Mackey, assistant professor of Earth system science at UCI and lead author of the study, published recently in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Mackey and colleagues at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, China's Fudan University and Nanjing University, and UC Santa Cruz studied the deposition of particles in the ocean downwind of China's enormous industrial and population centers. They found that the winds carried an overabundance of nutrients offshore, where they fell into water to be taken up by marine organisms. That, together with runoff from rivers flowing into the sea, is causing changes to the region's ecology. Certain aquatic plants and plankton thrive on the extra nutrients, for instance, crowding out others and wreaking havoc among ocean-dwelling species' normal ratios.

"When you start having changes in the food web, you can see differences in the fish catch," Mackey said. "Harmful algal blooms and nuisance species that are cropping up can produce toxins or just aren't the type of food fish prefer to eat, so people have been noticing changes in the ecosystem in recent years."

One example: Metals that are the product of combustion and other industrial processes tend to dissolve more quickly than those carried out to sea in dust from such natural sources as deserts, she said. These human-generated substances give certain species of phytoplankton a competitive edge over others, leading to increasingly frequent and more intense algal blooms.

The researchers reviewed satellite data and government records dating back decades and found a clear correlation between the expansion of the country's industrial output and the growth of unwanted algae blooms.

In addition, they conducted experiments in a makeshift lab on the Shengsi Islands off coastal Shanghai at the mouth of the Yangtze River. Plying the waters of the East China Sea on a rented fishing vessel, team members collected samples and incubated them in the lab to determine how certain conditions could lead to a plankton imbalance.

The study concluded that adverse changes in the ocean ecosystem can be traced back to industry and agriculture and that the only way the process can be reversed is for humans to start addressing land-based pollution.

Mackey noted that climate change could play a growing role in the transformation of the East China Sea.

"As the climate warms, we might start seeing more of these nuisance blooms," she said. "It's like a double whammy. If you have higher temperatures favoring certain types of phytoplankton and you're monkeying with their nutrient supply, there are going to be unintended consequences."

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Katherine Mackey / UCI

The Kindness Rocks Project


GOAL #1: Inspire others through randomly placed rocks along the way . . .

GOAL #2: Recruit every person who stumbles upon it to join in the pursuit of inspiring others through random acts of kindness.

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