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Sustainable


Solutions Competition Launched to Measure Ocean Acidification


As part of their mission of “making the impossible possible,” organizers of the XPrize, a global leader in incen- tivized competitions, have launched the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPrize contest. Schmidt is president of the Schmidt Family Foundation, which strives to advance the development of clean energy and support wiser use of natural resources. The program aims to spur inno- vators to transform our understand- ing of ocean acidification—a grave problem associated with the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide—via breakthroughs in ocean pH-sensing technologies designed to monitor and sustain ocean health.


For information and to register, visit xprize.org or Facebook.com/xprize.


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Intuitive Generosity Spontaneity Sparks Altruism


What makes people put “we” ahead of “me”? To find out, a group of Harvard University researchers en- rolled thousands of people to play a “public good” game in which subjects were divided into small groups, given some money and the choice to keep it or contribute it to a common pool that would


grow and benefit the entire group. Researchers discovered that those that made their decisions quickly were more likely to contribute to the common good. Taking it a step further, the researchers applied time pressure to the deci- sion-making process. They then found that those faced with making a quick decision most often chose the “we” option, while those that spent more time deliberating ended up giving less money to the group kitty. The Massachusetts research team, which tested thousands of online world- wide participants, concluded that spontaneity and intuition guide people into rapid acts of kindness.


Arctic Rescue Finland Calls for North Pole Sanctuary


The Finnish government has adopted a new Arctic Strategy that calls for a global sanctuary around the North Pole as one of the key demands of the growing Save the Arctic move- ment, reversing its long-held position of backing corporate interests over the environment. The populace responded strongly to a series of actions taken by Greenpeace against government icebreaker ships aiding corporate oil explora- tion in order to heighten awareness of the issue. The new Finnish policy reflects a mounting world citizenry’s view that the Arctic deserves protection. Greenpeace points out that companies can wreck the Arctic with little pen- alty and the current Arctic Council oil spill agreement does nothing to protect the Arctic or impose liability in this the most vulnerable place on Earth. The hope is that the other seven Arctic Council countries will see the light, as well.


Sign the petition and pitch in at SaveTheArctic.org.


Tagging Toxins Online Database Identifies Safe Products


SafeMarkets.org offers a new clearinghouse of in- formation gathered by advocates investigating toxic chemicals in food, baby products, toys, furniture, construction materials and other consumer goods. Families, municipalities, builders and businesses can use it to identify potentially harmful products and find safer alternatives. Hosted by the Workgroup for Safe Markets (WSM), it’s a one-stop shop to provide information for consumers, retailers and manufacturers that are


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demanding safer products, says Beverley Thorpe, a WSM co-leader and consult- ing co-director for Clean Production Action.


Mia Davis, vice president of health and safety at Beautycounter, who is expecting her first child, sees it as a resource for parents to find a full comple- ment of safe products for their families. “More than ever,” she says, “people understand how important it is to shop with companies they trust and to support businesses working to create truly safe products.”


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