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 1:

Do Things For Others
Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping other people is not only good for them and a great thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also creates stronger connections between people and helps to build a happier society for everyone. And it's not all about money - we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good!
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live them. - John F. Kennedy
Take a Seat, Make a Friend | SoulPancake Street Team
SoulPancake hits the streets to see what happens when two strangers sit in a ball pit... and talk about life's big questions.
Start your New Year out by running (or walking) with us -
5K and 10K options


Event starts at the Yountville Community Center
615 Washington Street, Yountville

can be found at this link: click here

Celebrate the New Year running!

Berkeley Weave by Riccardo La Magna and Simon Schleicher. 
Credit: Photo courtesy Asst. Professor Simon Schleicher


A newly formed research group, Design Innovation From Nature, has launched a research website in response to UC Berkeley's growing interest in biologically inspired structures and systems. The website contains news about current and past research projects, classes that will be taught, dates for a newly launched lecture series, and a blog announcing upcoming events. Visitors to the site can sign up to stay informed about upcoming lectures, reviews, and classes. 

The initiative envisions a growing collaboration at UC Berkeley among the Colleges of Environmental Design, Letters and Sciences and Engineering beginning with the Departments of Architecture, Integrative Biology, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. Its aim is to support the campus-wide Minor in Design Innovation and to foster the Design at Berkeley Initiative. The overarching goal is to strengthen the university’s expertise in different scientific areas by establishing a truly interdisciplinary and mutual knowledge exchange between students and faculty.

Early investigations into this research program include the courses IB32 – Bioinspired Design and Studio One – Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication. In these classes, biologists, engineers and architects investigate natural role models and transfer underlying design principles into new applications, products, and technologies. These courses and research initiatives try to overcome individual disciplinary efforts and aim to establish a dialogue that could enrich both UC Berkeley’s scientific community and creative culture.

Principle Investigators for this research program include: Assistant Professor of Architecture Simon Schleicher, Professor of Integrative Biology Robert Full and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Ronald Fearing. This project is supported by the University of California, Berkeley, Institute of International Studies (IIS) and the Interdisciplinary Faculty Program.


Our January Walk with a Doc event with OLE Health and the Vine Trail will be held Saturday, January 7th at 9:00am. Walk with a Doc is a free health program that brings doctors and patients together to walk, talk and make new friends along the way.

Our one-hour walk will begin at 9:00am starting at the Park 'N Ride in Yountville, on the corner of Solano Ave and California Drive (Click here for exact location). Our featured "Doc" is Dr. Richard Parent, an emerging leader in general and bariatric surgery. 

Enjoy the scenery.
Meet new friends.
Move your body.
Walk with a Doc!

Pantone, an X-Rite company and the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, announced PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery as the PANTONE® Color of the Year selection for 2017; a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals individuals to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.

“While Serenity and Rose Quartz, the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016, expressed the need for harmony in a chaotic world,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute “Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”

The more submerged people are in their own modern realities, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront - it is an omnipresent hue around the world.

PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery, a life-affirming shade, is also emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

“The tangy yellow-green speaks to our desire to express, explore, experiment and reinvent, imparting a sense of buoyancy,” said Eiseman. “Through its reassuring yet assertive vibrancy, Greenery offers us self-assurance and boldness to live life on our own terms, during a time when we are redefining what makes us successful and happy.”

A Color of Innovation:
While often associated with environmentalism and nature, Greenery is also a unifying thread in tech and innovation because of its association with boldness, vigor and modernity. Many new apps, animation iconography and digital-first startups express this energy by using the riveting and attention-getting shade of green in their logos. Conveying progression and a pioneering spirit, Greenery portrays an entrepreneurial essence that aligns with the industries that have embraced it.

Greenery for Home Décor and Architecture:
Open spaces in interior and exterior design and floor-to-ceiling windows allow the green outdoors to become part of a room’s backdrop and ambiance. Adding Greenery through living walls, terrariums, botanically-themed wallpaper, paint, accent furniture and decor provides respite and breathing space. A Greenery-painted wall or piece of furniture delivers a pop of color, with the added benefit of creating the illusion of nature indoors.

Bringing the outside in, the shade - like the plant life it represents - can improve self-esteem, reduce anxiety and heighten awareness of one’s surroundings.

About the PANTONE Color of the Year
The Color of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even up-coming sporting events that capture worldwide attention. For 17 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.


Some species of seabirds, including blue petrels, are particularly vulnerable to eating plastic debris at sea (Savoca et al. 2016)

Eating plastic debris is a major problem for hundreds of species of marine animals, from tiny zooplankton to giant baleen whales. But very little is known about how so many animals mistake plastic for their natural prey.

A new study from the University of California, Davis, shows that marine plastic debris emits the odor of a sulfurous compound that some seabirds use to find food. The study, published in Science Advances, helps explain why plastic consumption is more common in some seabird species, and why it’s important to consider the animals’ point of view in questions like this.

Plastic debris is found in ocean environments worldwide. A 2014 global analysis reported a quarter of a billion metric tons of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. More than 200 species of fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds are known to ingest plastic at sea.

“In the short-term, ingesting plastic makes the animal feel satiated, so they don’t eat,” says lead author Matthew Savoca. “However, plastic provides no nutritional value, so they starve if they eat a great deal of plastic as a component of their diet.

What’s worse, plastic has some nasty chemicals associated with it, and it also adsorbs toxins from the water. It can even block the gut or tear the intestines. There’s nothing good that comes from eating plastic, and yet animals do it so much.”

In ocean ecosystems, a sulfurous compound called dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is produced by marine algae when they are being eaten by animals like krill. Krill are a favorite meal of seabirds, so the odor of DMS draws them in to forage.

Some of the seabirds attracted to DMS are the tube-nosed seabirds (order: Procellariiforms), which includes albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters. Tube-nosed seabirds have a keen sense of smell, which they use to hunt over vast expanses of open ocean. They are also among the birds most severely affected by plastic ingestion.

Savoca and his colleagues analyzed available data on plastic ingestion in seabirds. “After we looked at all this bird data, we found something really shocking,” says Savoca. “The species of bird that use this scent to forage are five to six times more likely to eat plastic than the species that do not use DMS to forage.”

To see if the odor of plastic ocean debris was confusing seabirds, Savoca and his colleagues deployed plastic beads in mesh bags at two locations off the California coast. They collected the plastic after three weeks marinating in the ocean and compared their odor profile to that of clean plastic beads.

They analyzed the plastics at the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, where researchers are more accustomed to testing wines and whiskeys than plastic trash.

The researchers found DMS coating the ocean-exposed plastics, but not the clean ones, in concentrations that seabirds can detect.

The results suggest that patches of floating plastic trash might act as olfactory traps for susceptible marine wildlife such as seabirds. Those species that have evolved to use DMS as a sign of food can be tricked by marine plastic debris that also emits DMS.

Savoca says this finding might apply to other marine animals, like fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals.

“Understanding, from the animal’s perspective, why they might be confusing plastic for food could allow us to make better predictions as to which species are more likely to eat plastic,” he says.

Seven New Industry Associations Join the “Joint Declaration”;
Group Will Operate as the “Global Plastics Alliance” Going Forward


Seven new signatories were added to The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, also informally known as the “Joint Declaration”, in December 2016.

New participants include the American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA), the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BPGMEA), the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), the Ghanaian Plastics Manufacturers Association (GPMA), the Myanmar Plastics Industries Association (MPIA), the Indonesian Olefins, Aromatics and Plastics Association (INAPLA), and the Vietnam Plastics Association (VPA).

“We’re excited to welcome each of these new partners, who bring perspectives from countries in Asia and Africa, or types of plastic not previously represented in our Joint Declaration ” said Steve Russell, Vice President, Plastics, American Chemistry Council, at the 27th Global Meeting on Plastics and Sustainability in Hanoi, Vietnam. At the meeting, delegates also agreed that going forward the group will become the “Global Plastics Alliance.”

Delegates from 17 countries and four continents participated in the Global Meeting – making this the largest and best attended meeting to date.

“Addressing marine litter issues effectively requires that we bring local, regional and global stakeholders together,” said Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope. “Broadening our fold helps us find new partners and opportunities to tackle this very serious problem.”

“Plastic producers from around the world are coming together to keep used plastic out of the environment, and to further improve the sustainability of these energy and resource efficient materials. The strong participation at this meeting demonstrates that this industry is committed to providing solutions to ensure a more sustainable future” said Callum Chen, Secretary General of the Asia Plastics Forum. “Together, as a united, global industry, we’re involved in hundreds of marine litter prevention programs in all regions of the globe,” added Chen. “But there is still much to do. Growing our ranks helps further grow our work.”

The Global Declaration was launched in March 2011 at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference. Today, the Declaration has been signed by 69 plastics associations from regions across the globe. Recognizing their important role in fighting marine litter, these plastics associations have launched and are supporting projects in six key areas aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions. The six focus areas of the Global Declaration are education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment.

In May 2016, leaders from plastics organizations across the globe announced that there were approximately 260 projects planned, underway or completed.
Sustainability is the key to our survival on this planet and we will also determine success on all levels. - Shari Arison
Our ancestors needed cooperate and work together to survive. Adults with a stronger network of friends live longer, and seniors who are more socially active experience less cognitive decline and disability. Meanwhile, lonely people tend to have more stress and higher blood pressure.

Kids who are more socially connected grow up to be happier—connection even seems to have a stronger impact on happiness than academic achievement.
Social connections come in many different forms, from casual acquaintances to lifelong friends. Having a range of “strong” and “weak” ties makes us healthier and more likely to succeed in life.

See the CONNECTION VIDEOFor more on the science of connection, visit the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

Local extinctions have already occurred in 47% of the 976 plant and animal species studied, report researchers

Extinctions related to climate change have already happened in hundreds of plant and animal species around the world. New research, publishing December 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS (Public Library of Science) Biology, shows that local extinctions have already occurred in 47% of the 976 plant and animal species studied.

Climate change is predicted to threaten many species with extinction, but determining how species will respond in the future is difficult. Dozens of studies have already demonstrated that species are shifting their geographic ranges over time as the climate warms, towards cooler habitats at higher elevations and latitudes. The new study, by Professor John J. Wiens from the University of Arizona, used these range-shift studies to show that local extinctions have already happened in the warmest parts of the ranges of more than 450 plant and animal species. This result is particularly striking because global warming has increased mean temperatures by less than 1 degree Celsius so far. These extinctions will almost certainly become much more widespread over time, because temperatures are predicted to increase by an additional 1 to 5 degrees in the next several decades. These local extinctions could also extend to species that humans depend on for food and resources.

The study also tested the frequency of local extinction across different regions, habitats, and groups of organisms. It found that local extinctions occurred in about half of the species surveyed across different habitats and taxonomic groups. However, the results showed that local extinctions varied by region and were almost twice as common among tropical species as among temperate species. This is important as the majority of plant and animal species live in the tropics. The results of this study contribute to our understanding of how plants and animals will respond to global climate change and highlight the need to slow and prevent further warming.

A Fish Adapts Quickly to Lethal Levels of Pollution 
What’s Its Secret? And Can Humans Learn From It?

Evolution is working hard to rescue some urban fish from a lethal, human-altered environment, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis, and published December 2016 in the journal Science.

While environmental change is outpacing the rate of evolution for many other species, Atlantic killifish living in four polluted East Coast estuaries turn out to be remarkably resilient. These fish have adapted to levels of highly toxic industrial pollutants that would normally kill them.

The killifish is up to 8,000 times more resistant to this level of pollution than other fish, the study found. While the fish is not commercially valuable, it is an important food for other species and an environmental indicator.

What makes Atlantic killifish so special? Extremely high levels of genetic variation, higher than any other vertebrate -- humans included -- measured so far. The more genetic diversity, the faster evolution can act. That's one reason why insects and weeds can quickly adapt and evolve to resist pesticides, and why pathogens can evolve quickly to resist drugs created to destroy them.

Not all species are so lucky, however.

A comparison of a normally developed Atlantic killifish embryo, left, and an embryo affected by a group of chemicals called PCBs. The fish on the right has a deformed heart. Killifish that have evolved tolerance to chemical exposure show limited signs of developmental defects. Credit: Bryan Clark/U.S. EPA

"Some people will see this as a positive and think, 'Hey, species can evolve in response to what we're doing to the environment!'" said lead author Andrew Whitehead, associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Toxicology. "Unfortunately, most species we care about preserving probably can't adapt to these rapid changes because they don't have the high levels of genetic variation that allow them to evolve quickly."

The scientists sequenced complete genomes of nearly 400 Atlantic killifish from polluted and nonpolluted sites at New Bedford Harbor in Massachusetts; Newark Bay, New Jersey; Connecticut's Bridgeport area; and Virginia's Elizabeth River. The sites have been polluted since the 1950s and 1960s by a complex mixture of industrial pollutants including dioxins, heavy metals, hydrocarbons and other chemicals.

The team's genetic analysis suggests that the Atlantic killifish's genetic diversity make them unusually well positioned to adapt to survive in radically altered habitats. At the genetic level, the tolerant populations evolved in highly similar ways. This suggests that these fish already carried the genetic variation that allowed them to adapt before the sites were polluted, and that there may be only a few evolutionary solutions to pollution.

The study lays the groundwork for future research that could explore which genes confer tolerance of specific chemicals. Such work could help better explain how genetic differences among humans and other species may contribute to differences in sensitivity to environmental chemicals.

"If we know the kinds of genes that can confer sensitivity in another vertebrate animal like us, perhaps we can understand how different humans, with their own mutations in these important genes, might react to these chemicals," Whitehead said.

"This study shows that different populations of Atlantic killifish exposed to toxic pollution evolve tolerance to that pollution through changes in one molecular pathway," said George Gilchrist, program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the study along with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. "This pathway may play a similar role in many animals exposed to pollutants, with slightly different adaptations in response to different toxicants."


Have You Ever Wondered
What Happens To Your Unwanted Crayons?

Shockingly, we discovered most unwanted crayons are thrown away, ending up in the landfill. Even untouched or crayons used only once at a restaurant are thrown away. Not only is this a waste of valuable resources, but a detriment to the environment. This inspired us to design a process that recycles used crayons and gives them to children in need. The Crayon Initiative was born!

The Crayon Initiative is a Northern California based non-profit with one thing on our mind: promoting the arts for children by providing them access to the resources they need. Crayons are a simple concept…colored sticks of wax.

The mere smell, feel, and colors of the rainbow take us back to our childhood instantly. Crayons are a building block for childhood creativity. What’s simpler than a carton of crayons and a blank sheet of paper? Yet, with the combination of these 2 materials, the possibilities are endless. We can do anything, go anywhere, or be anyone we want to be: ride a dinosaur through a rainbow desert, launch a rocket ship into outer space, battle a fire-headed, purple monster, draw a family portrait. No matter who you are or where you are, imagination provides the ideas and crayons bring those ideas to life.
Generous Store
Generosity is one of the basic elements in human happiness. However, research shows that just 1 in 10 people experience generosity from others. We would like to help change that trend, by doing something more than just giving chocolate.

For one day only, Anthon Berg opened "The Generous Store". It was the world's first chocolate shop where you couldn't pay with cash or card, but the promise of a generous deed to a friend or loved one. If you did not make it to the shop, visit www.facebook.com/anthonberg.dk where the generosity continues.

The music to this film is from the energetic Danish trio of girls Nelson Cam.
For further information and the original song, visit http://www.nelsoncan.com/
Visit Anthon Berg at http://www.anthonberg.com
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 © 2015-2017 Thrive Napa Valley
All rights reserved.

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.
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