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globalbriefs


Pass Go Cooperation Rules in New Board Game


Monopoly is a traditional, popular board game that provides fun for the whole family as players ruthlessly strive to outwit each other, form a monopoly and take ownership of all the real estate, houses, hotels and money. If that doesn’t seem like a pastime that teach-


es values of fairness and social justice, there’s a new game in town—Co-opoly. In the 21st-century game, invented by the Toolbox for Education and Social


Action (ToolboxForEd.org), players develop cooperative businesses using a team effort. Sharing knowledge and creating cooperative strategies determine whether everyone wins or loses. Instead of encouraging players to grab up all the wealth and bankrupt others, it showcases the economic success that can result when people work together.


ecotip


Digital Detox Unplug to Cut Stress, Up Success


Whether it’s extreme texting, tweeting, Googling, posting or blogging, the phenomenon of being caught in the web of the Web is real. Rationalizations range from coping with today’s information overload to fear of missing out (FOMO). Yet, detriments of such continual digital connect- edness range from the stifling of family and social bonds to a lack of life skills that only face-to-face communication fosters.


In 2011, The New York University Child Study Center reported that 8-to-18-


year-olds average more than six hours of daily media use and that school grades of a surveyed group that considered themselves “heavy” users were considerably lower than their “light” use counterparts. Stanford Communications Professor Clif- ford Nass, author of The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, remarked in a 2013 NPR interview that people that do extensive media multitasking “can’t filter out irrel- evancy, can’t manage memory and are chronically distracted. They say they are productive and can ‘shut it off’, but can’t keep on task and focus on one thing.” Fortunately, programs to unplug are catching on. More than 400 middle and high schools in 20 U.S. states plus Canada took a Digital Blackout Challenge to refrain from using electronic devices for one week during the 2012-2013 school year (DigitalBlackout.org). From Chief Sealth International High School, in Seattle, Washington, senior Marissa Evans says the experience informed her “there’s a balance between ‘too much’ and ‘just enough’” in being connected, and classmate Alex Askerov terms the Challenge “a breath of fresh air.” For the 2013 documentary film, Sleeping with Siri, Seattle-based journalist Michael Stusser underwent a one-week, self-assessed “techno gorge”, followed by a digital detox of the same duration. During stage one, he said his blood pres- sure went up 40 points after four days. He found, “You’re always waiting for a response.” He subsequently enjoyed being disconnected. Foresters, a Toronto, Ontario-based life insurance provider, asks families to


take a Tech Timeout pledge for at least one hour every day and make Sundays entirely non-tech, packed with family activities and socializing.


Learn more at TechTimeout.com. natural awakenings November 2013 15


Safer Sleep People- and Planet-Friendly Fire Retardants


An ultrathin film that consists of polymers found in crustacean shells could be an environmentally friendly alternative to the flame retardants used in bedding and so- fas. Mattresses and furniture cush- ions are typically made of highly flammable polyurethane foam; to meet fire safety guidelines, manufacturers treat the foam with fire-retardant chemicals. These are typically brominated compounds that studies by the National In- stitute for Public Health and the Environment, in The Netherlands, have shown can act as endocrine disruptors, leading to neurological problems or even cancer. The European Union has banned several of the flame-re- tardant compounds and U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies have started to scrutinize their use. The nano-coating could be sprayed on foam, which would make it easy for mass production; several companies have expressed interest in the material.


Source: Chemical & Engineering News


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