Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Pioneer Passes Away at Age 100

Dr. Aaron Beck changed the world with his unique approach to therapy. His concepts that became the foundation of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are helpful in the treatment of psychological disorders, psychiatric problems, and even depression.

CBT’s goals are to focus on the specific thinking processes and behaviors that lead to potentially unhealthy choices.

Beck is credited with altering how mental health gets treated throughout the world by taking a cognitive approach. His daughter reported that he passed away at home peacefully at the age of 100 in 2021. 

CBT Leads to Significant Functioning Improvements

Numerous research studies on CBT’s processes found that it significantly improves a person’s quality of life while creating functional gains. It’s often as effective, if not more so, than some psychiatric medications or other forms of psychological therapy.

Beck was initially trained as a psychoanalyst. His studies of depression through this lens led to the eventual development of cognitive therapies in the 1960s.

According to the American Psychologist Journal, Dr. Aaron Beck is one of the five most influential psychotherapists of all time.

Over his lifetime, Beck authored more than 600 published works. He received more than 50 academic awards for his contributions and research in mental health fields, including the Albert Lasker Award and the Heinz Award in 2006 and 2001, respectively.

Beck’s work continues to live on through the providers that offer CBT services, talking to people about thinking errors, negative patterns, and other issues that can lead to mental health concerns. He will not be forgotten.

Astronauts Grow Green Chiles on ISS to Make Tacos

Down here on Earth, it’s a novelty to eat freeze-dried space food. Most of us prefer the Neapolitan ice cream, but you can find everything from beef stroganoff to asparagus available to eat.

Freeze-dried foods don’t weigh much, which is an essential quality for blasting materials into space. Every extra pound equates to thousands of dollars in support work.

You’d then take a product like NutriDyn to ensure a complete nutrient profile is available when you’re in a zero-G environment. 

NASA astronauts were recently able to have their own Taco Tuesday with some hatch chiles they grew in space.

Both Red and Green Chiles Were Available to Eat

The recipe for the space tacos was relatively straightforward. Astronauts took some dehydrated beef, added some rehydrated artichokes and tomatoes, and mixed in the fresh chiles grown on the International Space Station.

Once the mix was complete, they stuck everything into a tortilla to have a special treat.

Astronaut Megan McArthur tweeted a picture of the unique tacos with the caption that they were the best ones she’s made since being in space. 

Although the fresh peppers were a treat, they came about because of some serious science. Studying how microbe and plant interactions occur in space makes it possible to grow nutritious food in limited spaces.

The fresh Hatch chiles join Chinese cabbage, kale, and lettuce as crops that astronauts could grow in orbit. With the more prolonged germination and growth times, the peppers are one of the most complicated plant experiments completed successfully.

Weather Disasters Have Increased Five-Fold in the Past 50 Years

It doesn’t matter if you believe climate change is a natural or a human-made occurrence. Over the past five decades, the total number of weather-related disasters has multiplied by five times. 

The only good news from that data is that fewer deaths have occurred while the number of droughts, floods, and storms has increased.

Although better reporting could be partially responsible for the data increase, over 11,000 weather-related disasters occurred between 1970 to 2019. Two million people lost their lives, with over $3.6 trillion in damage requiring repair. 

More than 90% of the deaths have happened in the developing world. 

Droughts Are the Most Significant Weather Problem We Face

The biggest killer from adverse weather events is drought. It’s responsible for over 650,000 deaths.

At the other end of the scale, extreme temperature events have taken almost 56,000 lives during the study period. 

Although the number of deaths has gone down, so has the total number of recorded disasters. A steady increase happened up through 2009, but the next decade showed a decrease. That means a message of hope is out there within the stark statistics.

That’s not to say the costs of climate change are decreasing. In 2017, three hurricanes accounted for 35% of the total losses from the ten worst disasters from 1970 to 2019.

With only half of today’s countries having access to multi-hazard early warning systems, we must expand this technology to help people stay safe. International cooperation is also required to ensure that the people and families displaced by weather events can find a new place to call home. 

Survival Schools See Attendance Rise During COVID

When the influenza pandemic spread globally in 1918, it wouldn’t be until 1920 when things started getting back to normal in many communities.

As we see with the COVID pandemic, the arguments over masks and social distancing were similar. Instead of focusing on one’s health, it became a political argument.

Since there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, many people are turning to survival schools to develop the skills and resources they’ll need for survival.

About 250 million people have contracted COVID since the start of the pandemic, with nearly two million dying from the disease.

What Are Survival Schools?

Survival schools have been around much longer than the coronavirus. These institutions teach people how to survive if they’re stuck in the woods with only their clothing and a couple of tools. 

Some of the skills taught during these wilderness courses include making fire by friction, finding edible food outside, and hunting safely.

Here are some of the best ones that still offer classes today.

1. Ancient Pathways

Founded by Tony Nester in 1989, this survival school focuses on bushcraft. Courses range from four days to two weeks, including a knife-only class.

2. Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School

The most popular course here requires students to improvise their own shelter. You must make your way to a campsite using a compass and topographic map over four days and three nights.

3. Mountain Scout Survival School

You can find single-day survival classes that start from $60. You can learn how to trap, track, and create a fire. If you live in an urban environment, the NYC class in Central Park delivers a fun experience.

Life can throw a curveball at any time. When you know how to survive, it’s much easier to get ready for the next pitch. 

Western Wildfires Create Air Quality Risks Along the East Coast

States like California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington are facing a record year for wildfires. The Caldor Fire in CA is one of the largest in the state’s history, covering over 212,000 acres after starting on August 14.

The Caldor Fire grew to such a large size that it began affecting the South Lake Tahoe basin. Mandatory evacuations began in that area during the first week of September.

Air quality readings in Northern California were unhealthy during these fires, but the smoke wasn’t contained in that area. People along the East Coast were also affected by those particulates.

The Bootleg Fire Burned 600 Square Miles

When fires get as large as the Bootleg Fire in Oregon or California’s Caldor Fire, they generate their own weather events.

For several days during the summer, eastern states were trapped in a smoky haze. Even though the wildfires were over 3,000 miles away, there were mornings when you couldn’t see the city skyline in Philadelphia and New York.

This year marks the second time that wildfire smoke traveled from one coast to the other. 

As air quality warnings increase, it is vital to take steps to protect yourself. The first step is to get masks or respirators that guard against PM 2.5 and PM 10 air contaminants. These items can coat lung tissues, potentially making the body more susceptible to Covid infections.

Another step is to focus on your respiratory health. Products from brands like DaVinci Labs and Plant Therapy might give you the boost you need.

Finally, stay inside when the wildfire smoke lingers. By reducing your exposure, you’ll protect your health. 

Last Refuge for Polar Bears at Risk Due to Global Warming

The Arctic Ocean is critical for the survival of wild polar bears. Parts of the landscape remain frozen all year, with one region expected to stay frozen for longer than any other. 

The Wandel Sea area, which is north of Greenland, typically retains thick ice throughout the year. 

With record melting happening in 2020, researchers fear changing climate conditions could put this beloved species at risk of extinction. 

Sailors Found Large Stretches of Open Water

The Polarstern is a German research vessel that explores the northern seas. When they entered the Wandel Sea last year, they encountered stretches of open water that shouldn’t have been there.

After this discovery, scientists used sea ice models and satellite images to piece together what was happening in the region. 

Strong winds moved most of the sea ice out of the area, with thinner and newer ice working to displace the patches of thicker and older spots. 

Canada was so concerned about the issue in 2019 that the government designated part of this last ice area as a marine protected environment. Although climate models likely need to be re-examined to determine the accuracy of the findings, most surveys didn’t predict that much loss until several decades in the future.

That means polar bears aren’t having much luck finding food. They rely on seals and other sea creatures to appear in holes from the ice to breathe for hunting. Without this advantage, the results could be devastating for the species. 

Opioid Deaths Rose 46% in Washington in 2020

While COVID-19 spun off variants to infect millions of people, many coped with the different lockdown orders by taking opioids.

It was a choice that led to a 46% increase in opioid-related deaths in Washington, D.C., in 2020. Most of the people impacted by this issue were older Black and African-American men.

Although the rates are staggering, the issue isn’t something new to those who live in America’s capital. Fentanyl deaths started rising in 2017, and the figures have kept climbing since that time.

Treatment Options Show Racial Disparities

The United States experiences several ethnic and racial disparities in the healthcare field. The use of opioid disorder treatments, including buprenorphine and methadone, has several barriers to distribution to minority communities.

Buprenorphine providers tend to accept commercial insurance, but they will not take Medicaid.

Medicaid is the medical coverage individuals and families receive when they meet specific low-income thresholds. Minorities in the United States are more likely to use this service, and it is even more likely that someone with an opioid addiction will be on it.

That means the people who need the treatment the most are the least likely to get it. 

What fueled this crisis? We know that about one-quarter of the patients who receive prescription opioids for pain management end up abusing the product. 

We also know that about 5% of the people who misuse an opioid prescription will transition to heroin.

The only way to change these statistics is to stop offering opioids as the first-course treatment for pain. We must also reach out to the communities where overdosing is rampant to deliver some much-needed services. 

J&J Vaccine Protects Against Delta Variant of COVID

Dmitry Stuzhuk worked as a fitness instructor and social media influencer in 2020. He was only 33 years old when he died from complications of COVID-19.

He told his followers on social media that the virus wasn’t real. That all changed when Stuzhuk was rushed to the hospital, unconscious and in grave condition. His heart eventually gave out because of what COVID-19 did to him. 

Before passing away, Stuzhuk shared his experience with over 1.1 million people. He admitted that he thought COVID wasn’t real until he got sick.

That’s why vaccinations are so crucial right now. If you don’t want to wait five weeks to be fully vaccinated against COVID, the J&J vaccine is a one-and-done deal. Published information even suggests that it protects against the Delta variant. 

The J&J Vaccine Improves Over Time

A preprint study submitted by J&J shows that blood samples from a participant subset found that the single-shot vaccine created neutralizing antibody activities against the Delta variant. The results were even better than what it did against the Beta variant that came from South Africa earlier in the year.

The immune responses from the J&J vaccine persisted for a minimum of eight months.

In addition to the vaccine, people can use several tools to help them stave off the coronavirus in any variant. Masking up is a great choice, while maintaining social distancing can limit infection risks indoors.

It is also essential to maintain your health. Adding products from Thorne Research and Irwin Naturals can support your body’s fight to stay strong.

COVID-19 is real, and it is likely to continue beyond 2021. It still kills people every day. That’s why it is up to each of us to take care of ourselves. 

Why Do We Recognize World Wildlife Day?

World Wildlife Day allows us to celebrate the priceless value that plants and animals give to our world today. This life contributes to our planet’s unique diversity, contributing scientific, economic, social, cultural, and educational benefits.

Each World Wildlife Day follows a different theme. For 2020, it was to “sustain all life on Earth.” It looked at how people earn a living while celebrating the biodiversity we enjoy and finding ways to preserve it.

What Is World Wildlife Day?

World Wildlife Day is a UN-sponsored initiative that began in 2013. It is an effort that meets the organization’s sustainability goals while celebrating the various species that make Earth such a wonderful planet.

Although we enjoy the diversity our world offers, about one out of every four species is in danger of going extinct. Human activities are often responsible for this outcome. From logging in the northern forests to clear-cutting in the Amazon, this day is meant to look at the sustainable alternatives that help people earn a meaningful income.

If we don’t have healthy food to eat or clean air to breathe, our lives will not live up to the full potential of who we can be. When we protect our planet, World Wildlife Day suggests we are also helping ourselves.

How to Get Involved with World Wildlife Day

If you like the idea of participating in World Wildlife Day, the best option is to keep sharing what you’ve learned about nature with your friends. When you talk to teens and adolescents, you’re working with tomorrow’s leaders.

When you want to improve conservation efforts, it is the children who will inherit the world that they have decided to improve. Some outreach materials can help this process go smoothly on your various platforms.

If you post online, use hashtags like #WorldWildlifeDay and #WWD2021 to help grow awareness.

Will the World Contain COVID-19 in 2021?

The world has spent the better part of a year attempting to gain control of the COVID-19 virus. At the same time, China has managed to get things under control, New Zealand has been remarkably free of the coronavirus, and Australia dropped below 100 new cases per day since September 2020.

Taiwan is another success story.  After an initial spike in early March 2020, the country hasn’t had ten new cases reported on a single day.

On the other end of the spectrum, the United States reported over 142,000 cases on November 11, 2020.

What lessons could the U.S. learn to help the world contain COVID-19?

New Zealand Went Over 100 Days Without a Local Transmission

Although New Zealand is a small island country with several rural areas, it is the home of about five million people. In August 2020, the country had about 25 active COVID-19 cases after going an entire month without having any.

What changes did New Zealand make to stop the spread of the new coronavirus?

1. The government enacted a pandemic plan.

New Zealand initiated their influenza pandemic plan in February before COVID-19 started spreading globally. This step prepared hospitals for the new patients that would potentially arrive.

2. Border-control policies were immediately started.

New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case was reported on February 26. The government thought the disease would be more like influenza, but it quickly shifted gears once it was discovered to be more like SARS. The nation went into a nationwide lockdown on March 26. Another two weeks at a slightly lower level essentially stopped the viral tracks for good.

3. Empathic leadership brought people together.

In the United States, the leadership approach from states and the federal government created an “us vs. them” environment with the general public. New Zealand (and the other countries that successfully eradicated COVID-19) brought people together. It became a unified approach to defeat the virus.

4. The general population remained consistent.

You won’t find arguments about wearing masks or taking safety precautions in New Zealand as you will in the United States. Even with the fall surge in 2020, everyone stayed consistent with their activities. That’s why the island nation’s biggest number since the lockdowns is 25 new cases, experienced on October 21.

COVID-19 spreads when people stop being vigilant. Taking care of yourself with products from brands like Sunwarrior and Results RNA can give your immune system the boost it needs. The world can contain this virus, but it will take a global effort to make it happen – even with vaccines available.