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US: Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation donates $20M to support environmental causes
22 September 2017 - The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) has announced their biggest portfolio of environmental grants ever given. LDF is giving $20 million to organizations working for conservation, climate solutions, and indigenous rights, to name a few. LDF will give over 100 organizations grants across six categories: wildlife and land conservation; marine life and ocean conservation; indigenous rights; climate change; innovation, technology, and media; and LDF's California program, targeted to help local communities transition to sustainable infrastructure, energy, and food. (more)

US: From coal to kale -- saving rural economies with local food
21 September 2017 - A new book co-published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says the time has never been better for thriving regional food systems, given Americans' increasing interest in fresh, local food. For example, Delta County, Colorado officials and business leaders have been driven to envision life and business in Delta County after coal. The county is already home to one of the state's largest concentration of organic produce farms and livestock ranches. What they need is more efficient distribution channels. (more)

California condors return to the skies after near extinction
20 September 2017 - Three decades after being pushed to the brink of extinction, the California condor is making a comeback in the wild . . . One of the world's largest birds with a wingspan up to 10 feet, the condor once patrolled the sky from Mexico to British Columbia. But its population plummeted in the 20th century due to lead poisoning, hunting and habitat destruction. There are now roughly 450 condors, including about 270 in the wild in California, Arizona, Utah, and northeastern Mexico. (more)

US: Bird watchers head to Maine for rare bird sighting
20 September 2017 - Bird watchers are traveling to Maine to catch the rare sight of a South American fork-tailed flycatcher. Maine Audubon Naturalist Doug Hitchcox says the bird was last seen in the state in June 2012. (more)

After the hurricane, solar kept Florida homes and a city's traffic lights running
15 September 2017 - By using energy storage with solar panels, some homeowners were able to go off-grid, showing how distributed power could speed future storm recovery. (more)

US: In Amish country, the future is calling
15 September 2017 - A young woman, wearing a traditional full-length Amish dress and white bonnet, stepped away from a farmer's market, opened her palm and revealed a smartphone. She began to scroll through screens, seemingly oblivious to the activity around her. Not far away, a man in his late 60s with a silvery beard, wide-brimmed straw hat and suspenders adjusted the settings on a computer-driven crosscut saw. He was soon cutting pieces for gazebos that are sold online and delivered around the country. The Amish have not given up on horse-drawn buggies. Their rigid abstinence from many kinds of technology has left parts of their lifestyle frozen since the 19th century ... But computers and cellphones are making their way into some Amish communities ... New technology has created fresh opportunities for prosperity among the Amish, just as it has for people in the rest of the world. (more)

US: Now-famous Florida nun used Google to figure out chain saw (+ AP video)
14 September 2017 - The Florida nun who became an internet sensation when video emerged of her -- dressed in full habit -- wielding a chain saw to clear downed trees after Hurricane Irma says she had to look up instructions on how to start the tool. The nun, principal of Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School in Miami, said her mechanical education didn't stop with the Google search. 'Some people have sent me videos on how to use a chain saw because apparently I wasn't using it correctly or as safe as I should've been, so I'm learning, too,' she told The Associated Press in a Skype interview. An off-duty Miami-Dade police officer posted the video of Sister Margaret Ann on social media Monday. The video was picked up by media outlets, including the AP, and quickly became a global sensation. She also said she was glad the video gave the public a different view of nuns. (more)

US: Study finds organic farming better at sequestering carbon
13 September 2017 - A new study shows organic farms store more carbon in the soil and keep it out of the atmosphere longer than conventional farms. The findings of the study by Northeastern University's National Soil Project [Boston, Massachusetts] and The Organic Center suggest organic farming could help reduce one of the causes of climate change. (more)

US: Nebraska sees spike in butterfly population
12 September 2017 - Several Nebraska cities are seeing an abundance of butterflies. Nebraska Extension, a branch of the University of Nebraska, received reports last week of at least 100 painted lady butterflies in some Omaha flower gardens. The gardens usually draw only a few dozen. Painted ladies' migrations could be 9,000 miles and span six generations, said Jody Green, entomologist with Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. (more)

US: Number of organic farms increases in Iowa
12 September 2017 - The number of organic farms in Iowa is growing rapidly . . . Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Iowa has seen a 42 percent increase in organic farms from 2008 to 2015. The state had more than 670 organic farms in 2015, which was less than 1 percent of the farms in the state. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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US: Maharishi School alum wins contest to direct branded content commercial
20 September 2017 - Nathaniel Alexander recently graduated with an MFA degree from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, one of the most prestigious film schools in the US. Nathaniel grew up in Fairfield, Iowa, and attended Maharishi School and Maharishi University of Management, majoring in Media and Communications. 'I was given a lot of freedom to explore my own creativity,' he says. The USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles is very closely connected to Hollywood studios. In his third year, Nathaniel won a $50,000 contest, sponsored by PepsiCo, to write and direct a commercial for one of their products. He is now launching his own production company, 200 Percent. (more)

How these celebrities are helping veterans in a unique way
17 September 2017 - Veterans who battle post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a tough go of it. Now, some celebrities - Tom Hanks, Mary-Louise Parker, and Kyle MacLachlan - are stepping up and participating in an October event to help our bravest deal with their afflictions. The benefit is being put on by the David Lynch Foundation - which is headed by filmmaker David Lynch, whose television show 'Twin Peaks' recently wrapped airing its third season on Showtime. All three actors will speak about Transcendental Meditation and how vital it's been to their successes, both personally and professionally. The goal of the event: to raise enough money to teach it to 1,000 veterans. (more)

Corporate Wellness Magazine features Transcendental Meditation in best practices to reduce employee stress, boost productivity
14 September 2017 - Corporate Wellness Magazine recently published a story on six key ways to reduce employee stress while maintaining efficiency. They report, 'Meditation has been proven to be one of the most effective stress reduction techniques, and can also boost employee productivity by enabling them to remain calm under pressure. Transcendental Meditation, or ''TM'', has long been a perennial favorite of successful companies.' (more)

How transcending optimizes your brain: Revolutionary TM research advanced the science of human potential
12 September 2017 - What happens to the brain when we practise Transcendental Meditation and transcend? Do we experience a new state of consciousness that's different from waking, dreaming, or sleeping? If so, how does that help us realize our highest human potential? 'These were some of the questions that our group of international researchers were trying to answer in the 1970s,' writes David Orme-Johnson, PhD, one of the principal researchers on the Transcendental Meditation technique worldwide, with over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals. 'Based at Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in the Swiss and French Alps, we were on a quest to create a scientific portrait of Transcendental Consciousness' - the state experienced during practice of the TM technique. (more)

Creating 'an army of future farmers' to redesign, restructure food and agriculture systems
9 September 2017 - Students in the Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certificate programme at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA started selling the fruits of their harvest at the Fairfield Farmers Market just a few months after they began working on the student farm. The 10-month programme's purpose is 'to create an army of future farmers who can redesign and restructure the current food and agriculture systems', said Dr. Appachanda Thimmaiah, programme director. 'Graduates will have confidence to farm or start their own business in regenerative organic agriculture.' (more)

Ready, Set, Go: A mini manual for work re-entry
6 September 2017 - For women professionals, the prefrontal cortex - the 'CEO of the brain' - is 'our greatest resource, allowing for intuition, broad planning, and creative problem solving', write Vanessa Vidal and Janet Hoffman, national board members of TM for Women in the USA. 'To enliven its function is the best preparation for achievement, high performance and success. Transcendental Meditation has been shown repeatedly in peer reviewed published research studies to strengthen the prefrontal circuits (keeping our CEO online). This makes us more resilient, allowing us to withstand the high stress and fatigue that many of us encounter, meet challenges successfully and improve our health and happiness. Stress isn't pathological or destructive in the presence of a resilient response when the CEO of the brain is fully awake.' (more)

'Conversations about TM and Creativity': David Lynch Foundation to host October veterans benefit with Tom Hanks, Mary-Louise Parker
3 September 2017 - The David Lynch Foundation - Center for Veterans' Health announces its next gala benefit on 18 October in New York City: 'Change Begins Within Benefit Dinner and Conversation'. The event will feature award-winning actors Tom Hanks, Mary-Louise Parker, and Kyle MacLachlan, who will talk about the benefits of Transcendental Meditation for their health, creativity, acting, and life. The event is a benefit to bring Transcendental Meditation to veterans and active duty military with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. (more)

Nurses' health matters
1 September 2017 - Women become nurses with a genuine desire to help others, but the stress of the profession lowers their resilience and makes them vulnerable to compassion fatigue and burnout. By teaching nurses the Transcendental Meditation technique, TM for Nurses is building teams of resilient and fulfilled nurses in hospitals around the country. (more)

A new collaboration in the fight against Alzheimer's: The Bredesen Protocol and the TM technique
28 August 2017 - Dale Bredesen, MD, Professor of Neurology at UCLA and an internationally renowned expert on Alzheimer's, has just released a bestselling book, The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. Dr. Bredesen documents the effects of a comprehensive treatment - known as the Bredesen Protocol - designed to prevent and reverse the effects of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's. Now, the Transcendental Meditation technique is being integrated into this protocol. This is based on published studies on TM showing improvements in neuro-plasticity and global brain wave (EEG) coherence, associated with improved cognitive performance, intelligence, and memory, as well as significant reductions in stress and anxiety. (more)

The Beatles, Transcendental Meditation and India: Events in August 1967, fifty years ago, made a mark on western culture
25 August 2017 - In August 1967, a wildly popular rock band called the Beatles attended a lecture by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the London Hilton on Park Lane. They were given front row seats and invited to meet Maharishi after the lecture. During their private meeting, Maharishi invited the Beatles to be his guests at a training retreat in Wales. It was there that the band members, who were already exploring ways to expand their consciousness, were initiated into the basics of Transcendental Meditation. The world's ears were tuned to the Beatles, and with the band embracing all things Indian, Western hearts were being transformed by that mystical land's ancient wisdom. That interest continues to grow. In 2016, Forbes reported on the growing popularity of yoga in the U.S., and an increasing number of celebrities attest to practising Transcendental Meditation. (more)


Flops
Short Summaries of Top Stories


What hurricanes don't teach us: AP finds fast coastal growth
16 September 2017 - Rising sea levels and fierce storms have failed to stop relentless population growth along U.S. coasts in recent years, a new Associated Press analysis shows. The latest punishing hurricanes scored bull's-eyes on two of the country's fastest growing regions: coastal Texas around Houston and resort areas of southwest Florida. Nothing seems to curb America's appetite for life near the sea, especially in the warmer climates of the South. Coastal development destroys natural barriers such as islands and wetlands, promotes erosion and flooding, and positions more buildings and people in the path of future destruction, according to researchers and policy advisers who study hurricanes. (more)

Cost of fighting U.S. wildfires topped $2 billion in 2017
14 September 2017 - The costs of fighting U.S. wildfires topped $2 billion in 2017, breaking records and underscoring the need to address a U.S. Forest Service budget that mostly goes to fires, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday, 14 September. Perdue said the funding formula used to earmark money for fire suppression is no longer adequate amid fire seasons that have grown longer and scorched larger swaths of public lands, mostly in the U.S. West. 'We are breaking records in terms of dollars spent, acres of national forest land burned and the increased duration of fires,' Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke said in a statement. (more)

Childhood cancer survivors face lifetime of chronic health conditions
13 September 2017 - People who survive cancer in childhood have almost twice as many chronic health conditions by age 50, on average, as the general population, according to results from the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort Study. Earlier studies have shown an increased risk of chronic health conditions in survivors of childhood cancer, but Bhakta's team [Dr. Nickhill Bhakta from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee] wanted to examine their overall burden in more detail. The researchers looked at 168 chronic health conditions in 48 disease categories among 3,010 survivors over age 18 who were treated for cancer at St. Jude as children. (more)

U.S. Coast Guard, EPA cleaning up a dozen Texas chemical spills after Harvey
11 September 2017 - The U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency are working with Texas state regulators to clean up oil and chemicals spilled from a dozen industrial facilities after flooding from Hurricane Harvey, authorities said. ... The liquid spills come in addition to more than a million pounds of toxic emissions above legal limits that spewed from industrial facilities following Harvey, according to reports from companies filed with the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality. ...The EPA and other authorities had warned people affected by the flood that waters could contain bacteria and toxic chemicals, but have said little yet about the specific origins or quantities of substances. (more)

U.S. tribal patent deal could have big impact on generic drug market
11 September 2017 - A groundbreaking deal between Allergan Plc and a Native American tribe to shield the company's patents in administrative proceedings could also be used be to protect them from challenges in federal court, legal experts said, potentially dealing a blow to generic competition. The deal takes advantage of the fact that the tribe is treated as a sovereign nation immune to civil lawsuits. (more)

Meth, coke, and oil: A drug boom in the Texas shale patch
7 September 2017 - . . . Forsythe's experience and others like it reflect a painful flipside of the nation's shale oil boom -- a parallel increase in substance abuse, drug crime, and related social ills. While drug use is a problem among industrial workers nationwide, it raises particular concern in the oil patch as U.S. production surges to record levels in what is already one of the nation's most dangerous sectors -- with a fatality rate about three times the average for other industries, according to 2015 federal statistics. Drug use is a significant factor in workplace injuries and crimes involving oilfield workers, according to drug counselors, hospital, and police officials and court records in West Texas, the epicenter of the U.S. shale sector. ... Meth and cocaine are stimulants of choice in the oil patch to get though long oilfield shifts, but alcohol and pain killers such as opioids are also widely abused -- often to soften the crash after taking stimulants, drug addicts and counselors said. ... Despite corporate and regulatory efforts to curb drug abuse, many oilfield workers regularly use stimulants on long shifts of grueling work for relatively high pay, said drug counselors, local law enforcement officials, and oil field workers recovering from addictions. (more)

Harvey dilemma: Stay as water rises or risk flooded roads?
28 August 2017 - As floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey keep rising, some Houston-area residents must decide between two dangerous choices: staying in homes with water coming in or venturing out on potentially deadly flooded roads. It's a no-win situation. There's nowhere for the rain or these people to go. And it matters, because water kills. Even though wind is fierce, water is responsible for nearly 90 percent of the deaths in hurricanes, according to a 2014 study by acting U.S National Hurricane Center director Ed Rappaport. (more)

US: Houston told people to stay for Harvey, now they can't get out
27 August 2017 - Houston is slowly being submerged by a natural disaster some are saying could now rival Hurricane Katrina [August 2005]. Even after 2 feet of rain in 24 hours, Tropical Storm Harvey shows no sign of letting up until Wednesday [30 August] at the earliest. When the storm previously known as Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Friday [25 August], it was the strongest storm to batter the U.S. coast in 13 years. The National Weather Service said on Sunday afternoon that the flooding is 'unprecedented'... FEMA administrator Brock Long said Sunday, 'FEMA is going to be there for years. This disaster is going to be a landmark event.' One-quarter of Texas' population, 7 million people, resides in the disaster area declared by President Donald Trump. Already . . . thousands are homeless. (more)

US: Rescuers pluck hundreds from rising floodwaters in Houston
27 August 2017 - Tropical Storm Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into the nation's fourth-largest city [Houston, Texas] Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with the constant calls for help. The flooding was so widespread that authorities had trouble pinpointing the worst areas. As the water rose, the National Weather Service issued another ominous forecast: Before the storm that arrived Friday as a Category 4 hurricane is gone, some parts of Houston and its suburbs could get as much as 50 inches (1.3 meters) of rain. 'The breadth and intensity of this rainfall is beyond anything experienced before,' the National Weather Service said in a statement. Rescuers had to give top priority to life-and-death situations, leaving many affected families to fend for themselves. ... The deteriorating situation was bound to provoke questions about the conflicting advice given by the Governor and Houston leaders before the hurricane. Governor Greg Abbott urged people to flee from Harvey's path, but the Houston mayor issued no evacuation orders and told everyone to stay home. (more)

US: Twenty-eight states make it illegal for counties and cities to pass seed laws
18 August 2017 - More than two dozen state legislatures have passed 'seed-preemption laws' designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. ... Nearly every seed-preemption law in the country borrows language from a 2013 model bill drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The council is 'a pay-to-play operation where corporations buy a seat and a vote on 'task forces' to advance their legislative wish lists,' essentially 'voting as equals' with state legislators on bills, according to The Center for Media and Democracy. ALEC's corporate members include the Koch brothers as well as some of the largest seed-chemical companies -- Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont -- which want to make sure GMO bans, like those enacted in Jackson County, Oregon, and Boulder County, Colorado, don't become a trend. (more)

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