Categories
Wellbeing

Youth crime in the US way down

Some believe that crime is rampant in the United States, but new reports from the US Department of Justice say otherwise: crime among youth has gone down drastically over the last three decades.

The report, which analyzed FBI data, highlighted that youth crime, crimes committed by those 17 and younger, has dropped 78% from its 1994 peak, and has been shrinking even more drastically in recent years. 

Law enforcement agencies made an estimated 424,300 arrests of youth in 2020, a 38% drop from the previous year and half the number from five years earlier. 8% were for a violent crime. One-fourth of one percent was for murder.

“These data reflect an encouraging trend—one that has in fact been developing over the last three decades—and offer a welcome counter-narrative to claims that youth crime is on the rise,” said Liz Ryan, Administrator of the Office of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

“They also give us reason to be optimistic about the course of juvenile justice reform, particularly efforts in many jurisdictions to replace harsh punishments with personal development opportunities and to design programs that build support into accountability.”

Overall the share of violent crime committed by youth has gone down drastically over the last decade. In 2010 youth made up 14% of all violent crimes, now it’s about half that. 

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you want to help support victims of crimes you can donate to Safe Horizon, an organization that helps victims get back on their feet.

SUPPORT: Help support children and the youth in your area. Spend time with your kids. Help support programs in your area to give kids something enriching to do. Programs like that help keep kids out of crime.

Categories
Planet

This EU vote on chargers will reduce waste

The EU parliament has passed a law requiring the USB-C to be the only charger for all smartphones, tablets and cameras from 2024.

This new law was adopted with a vote of 602 in favour, and 13 against. The hope is that the change will not only make life simpler and cheaper for EU citizens but also reduce waste generated by people buying new devices and retiring old cables. 

Companies that produce laptops will also have to follow this new law, though they have until 2026, rather than 2024, to make the switch.

In 2019, the average amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment collected in the EU Member States was 10.0 kg per inhabitant.

The switch to USB-C is expected to save €200 million euros ($195 million) per year and cut out over one thousand tons of EU electronic waste every single year, according to Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition.

“Today is a great day for consumers, a great day for our environment,” said Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba. “After more than a decade; the single charger for multiple electronic devices will finally become a reality for Europe and hopefully we can also inspire the rest of the world.” 

“This future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future, and it will benefit everyone – from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give your old electronics to Recycle Your Electricals to reduce waste and help someone in need.

GET INVOLVED: Get involved with The Restart Project, a people-powered social enterprise that aims to fix our relationship with electronics.

 

Categories
Culture

NASA succeeds first test of its kind

It appears we won’t be going out like the dinosaurs, as NASA sent a spacecraft out to intercept a massive asteroid called Dimorphos 6.8 million miles from Earth to test our capability at blocking future interstellar threats.

The mission – known as DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) – was humanity’s first attempt at moving another space celestial body. The project hopes to expand our defense against asteroids and other bodies that may threaten to impact Earth in the future. 

“At its core, DART represents an unprecedented success for planetary defense, but it is also a mission of unity with a real benefit for all humanity,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As NASA studies the cosmos and our home planet, we’re also working to protect that home, and this international collaboration turned science fiction into science fact, demonstrating one way to protect Earth.”

The program represents a step forward into a new era. 

“[It’s] an era in which we potentially have the capability to protect ourselves from something like a dangerous, hazardous asteroid impact,” said Lori Glaze, Nasa’s planetary science division director. “What an amazing thing. We’ve never had that capability before.”

The project also serves as a symbol that can potentially unify people across the globe. 

The asteroid impact was the first stage of the project and in about two months researchers will know if the attempt at moving the asteroid was a success.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: If you want to help support the love of space you can donate to the Houston Space Center.

SUPPORT: Explore and research space. Cultivate a love of science and discovery. You never know who might make the next great discovery.

Categories
Planet

Quality Street moving to green packaging

Quality Street chocolates are going green, with recyclable wrappers for your favourite Christmas treat.

The range of sweets, owned by Nestlé, attempted to phase in green packaging back in 2008 with a compostable cellulose layer, but found it was still tossed in the bin in most households.

Now, with the climate crisis on everyone’s minds, they are trying again – this time with recyclable paper wrappers.

It marks a switch away from shiny plastic wrappers, in the 86 years since Harold Mackintosh launched the chocolates in 1936. The hope is that it’ll keep 2bn wrappers a year out of landfill.

Nine out of the 11 sweets will make the move to recyclable paper wrappers, rather than their foil and plastic ones that are used currently. The other two, orange crunch and green triangle, already use recyclable foil so they do not need to make the switch.

“With nine different sweets to consider, the transition has been a huge undertaking,” said Louise Barrett, Head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Centre in York. “Each of our existing machines need to be adapted to run paper and then rigorously tested by our packaging experts to ensure we’re still delivering the same quality consumers expect when they open a box of Quality Street.

“We hope the fact that our famous sweets are now recyclable will make finding your own Quality Street favorites even more popular this year.”

These brand new paper wrappers will be covered in a specially designed vegetable-based coating, designed to keep the sweets as fresh as ever, without preventing the recycling process.

The switch will take several months to fully implement, meaning that when you go to stock up your Christmas stash this year you may find a mix of packaging.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to WRAP, to help reduce waste associated with food products.

GET INVOLVED: Get stuck in with Keep Britain Tidy, to help reduce waste, increase recycling and keep rubbish off our streets.

 

Categories
Culture

How to help Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 18; weeks later, the island nation is still reeling. 

The storm was a category 1 hurricane, yet it brought widespread flooding dumping half as much rain as some parts of the country gets in a year. Electrical infrastructure was affected across the country and entire neighborhoods were flooded out. More than 100,000 people across the country are still without power. 

President Biden declared an emergency in Puerto Rico, calling on both the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts for residents.

Here are a few ways to help.

GlobalGiving

GlobalGiving is a non-profit that helps connect other non-profits with donors has launched a Hurricane Fiona relief fund with a goal of $1 million. Consider donating.

Funds raised will help first responders “meet survivors’ immediate needs” for food, shelter, fuel, clean water, and hygiene products, according to GlobalGiving.

Hispanic Federation

The non-profit supports Latin American countries and was quickly on the ground in Puerto Rico. They also have a Hurricane Fiona relief fund if you’re interested in donating. 

“Because Puerto Rico is still rebuilding from the damage of Maria, the flooding and power outages caused by Fiona are already far more severe and life-threatening than they should be,” according to the organization.

Red Cross

Cross deploying to Alaska following a monsoon, Puerto Rico, and now Florida, the Red Cross sends volunteers into disaster zones to provide support to the people there. Consider supporting the organization. 

Taller Salud

Taller Salud is a women-led non-profit and is trying to source items such as nonperishable food, adult and baby diapers, gallons of water, toiletries, and more. They also accept monetary donations if that’s more accessible. 

As with any type of donation or monetary support be sure that wherever you’re donating is an attributed and reputable non-profit to avoid scams that pop up around disasters.

Categories
Equality

Pop-up art raises thousands for rough sleepers

An auction house in Brighton has raised over £3,000 to help support rough sleepers in the area.

The pop-up art sale, called Hand on HeART, had work from 20 different artists, with the funds raised going to support the BHT Sussex First Base Day Centre.

The First Base Day Centre supports rough sleepers by providing them with somewhere to shower and clean their clothes, casework support, as well as IT facilities and help applying for work, benefits and training.

“I have been touched by the generosity of the artist community in Brighton & Hove and humbled by the personal stories about homelessness that have come out in the process,” said Alison Boyce, who organised the exhibition. “All who have donated work want to raise money and raise awareness about an issue that can affect anybody at any stage of their life.”

The exhibition took place Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October, and displayed art from 20 different artists, based in Brighton and beyond. The auction, which included pieces priced from £35 to £800, even displayed four pieces by Fiona Watson, the highest-selling print artist in Scotland who has a family link to BHT Sussex.

“We are very grateful that so many artists have shown their support for our work,” said Jo Berry, Head of Business Development at BHT Sussex. “Money raised from the event will enable us to provide food, hot showers, and clean clothes along with essential advice and support for rough sleepers in our city.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Give to BHT Sussex, to help them to support rough sleepers in Brighton.

GET INVOLVED: Volunteer with Shelter in your area, to help support people in your community.

 

Categories
Planet

First all-electric passenger plane takes off

A mark of progress for renewable vehicles happened on September 27, when the first all-electric passenger plane took off for the first time. The prototype was built with carbon-free aviation in mind. 

The nine-passenger commuter aircraft is called Alice and took off from the Grant County International Airport in Washington State. 

The plane was built by Arlington-based startup Eviation to demonstrate the potential for an electric commercial commuter aircraft flying a few hundred miles between cities at an altitude of around 15,000 feet. It’s powered by over 21,500 small Tesla-style battery cells that make up half the weight of the carbon composite airframe.

“What we’ve just done is made aviation history,” said Eviation CEO Greg Davis. “This is about changing the way that we fly. It’s about connecting communities in a sustainable way.”

“It’s really ushering in a new era of aviation,” Davis added. “This is the first radical change in aerospace propulsion technology, since we went from the Super Constellation to the 707, from the piston engine to the jet engine, and now to the electric motor.”

It could become the “first all-new, all-electric commercial airplane” if the Federal Aviation Administration certifies it to carry passengers, The Seattle Times reports.

The test flight lasted just eight minutes, reaching an altitude of 3,500 feet. Eviation, is targeting commuter and cargo flights between 150 and 250 miles.

“Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,” said Eviation President and CEO Gregory Davis. “People now know what affordable, clean and sustainable aviation looks and sounds like for the first time in a fixed-wing, all-electric aircraft. This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future.”

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: The America Council on Renewable Energy or ACORE is an organization that highlights and supports renewable projects around the country. Consider donating. 

SUPPORT: If you’re interested in the Alice project go ahead and take a deeper look.

Categories
Wellbeing

Dogs can smell when we are stressed

Dogs can smell when their owners are stressed, new research shows – as if we needed any more reasons to love our pups. 

These were the results of a study at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) on four dogs, Treo, Fingal, Soot and Winnie. The pups were given samples from 36 different people to sniff, to see whether they could differentiate between samples of people who were stressed and those who were not.

The samples collected were of sweat and of breath, before and after being given a tricky maths problem, and the participants were asked to self-report their stress levels at the time of collection. 

These clever pups were all able to successfully direct the researchers to each person’s stress sample, with an incredible combined success rate of 94% across all sessions of the study.

According to PhD student Clara Wilson, the research shows that, regardless of whether the dog knows us or not, they are able to detect our stress levels based on smells through our sweat and our breath. 

“The research highlights that dogs do not need visual or audio cues to pick up on human stress,” said Clara. “It also helps to shed more light on the human-dog relationship and adds to our understanding of how dogs may interpret and interact with human psychological states.”

The study has incredible implications for therapy and service dogs, who may be able to be trained to notice when their owners are stressed and intervene, based on this research.

Helen Parks, the owner of Treo, one of the dogs involved in the experiment, said that her dog “thrives on sniffing”. The two-year-old Cocker Spaniel thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the experiment and, according to Helen, seems to have taken his new skills to heart, becoming more intuitive in their home.

“The study reinforced for us that dogs are highly sensitive and intuitive animals and there is immense value in using what they do best – sniffing,” she said. “The study made us more aware of a dog’s ability to use their nose to ‘see’ the world.”

Inspired to act?

DONATE: Sponsor a dog through Service Dogs UK to help provide fully trained service dogs to veterans with PTSD.

GET INVOLVED: Volunteer with Support Dogs UK and help socialise puppies so that they can go on to be trained as support dogs.

 

Categories
Culture Planet

Montreal banning single use-plastics

Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and, starting September 27, they have fully banned all forms of single-use plastic bags from businesses including restaurants, grocery stores, and more. 

The law was accepted last September for grocery stores but has since expanded to all types of business with fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 for a first infraction and $300 to $2,000 for subsequent infractions.

There is an exception for the thin bags at grocery stores that allows produce to be held separately.

“Prohibiting plastic bags demonstrates our administration’s strong commitment to accelerating Montreal’s ecological transition and to embody an environmental leadership plan, locally and internationally,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.

Only about 16% of single-use bags are recycled while the rest end up in the environment, where it can take up to 1,000 years for them to decompose.

Marie-Andrée Mauger, executive committee member responsible for ecological transition and the environment, said modifying the bylaw is part of the plan to make Montreal a zero-waste city by 2030.

“The majority of landfills will be full within 10 years,” she said. “Reducing at the source is crucial to reach our goal and we invite all retailers to follow suit and to encourage their customers to shop with reusable bags — an economical and ecological practice.”

By March grocery stores and restaurants will be banned from having trays (except for those holding meat and fish), plates, cups or glasses, and their covers, stir sticks, straws, and utensils. 

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit committed to cleaning plastic from the ocean. Consider donating if you want to support.

SUPPORT: When you go shopping bring a reusable bag. When out in nature clean up plastic litter. It may not feel like a lot but every little bit counts.

Categories
Culture

How to help post Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian recently struck the Florida Gulf Coast, leaving destruction in its wake. Entire parts of cities like Fort Myers and Cape Coral were decimated, buildings destroyed, and boats ended up in backyards. There was a reported storm surge of over 18ft and now a rising death toll. The region will be recovering for months. 

But help is already on the ground. 

If you want to lend your support, there are a ton of organizations already mobilizing to the region. Find out how to support them below. 

Food for the Poor

Based in South Florida, this organization made a name for itself by putting together meals for those in need, and now they’re making cleaning kits for those affected by the storm. They have a list of items that you can donate to help their cause. 

Florida Ian Response Fund

After Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017 a coalition of groups got together to respond to the crisis. The same coalition is coming back together to respond to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian. Some of the organizations that make up the group are  Florida Rising, Dream Defenders, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Central Florida Jobs With Justice, and Faith in Florida. 

OneBlood

The organization provides blood to over 250 hospitals throughout Florida and the wider southern United States. They’re asking anyone not affected by the storm to consider donating blood of all types. There is a particular call for O Negative and O Positive donors.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue

Big Dog Ranch Rescue will provide pet supplies to shelters and families. You can donate wet or dry dog and cat food, blankets, crates, and/or cash. Beyond their website, you can also make cash donations by calling 561-791-6465.

World Central Kitchen

World Central Kitchen was founded by Chef José Andrés following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They’re supporting those affected by Hurricane Ian and people in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Fiona. In Florida, they’re sending over food trucks to the areas most affected, and they’re opening a test field kitchen in Puerto Rico. Consider donating to support what they’re doing. 

Florida International University

The Miami-based University is working with other state universities to provide resources and support and is also reaching out to its 1,800 students as well as faculty and staff who live or have relatives on the west coast to see how they can help. Consider donating.

As with any other support and donations make sure to do a little background research into whatever organization you’re considering.