Quick Green Reads For The Weekend Volume 113.

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President Barack Obama on Thursday highlighted his ambition for the development of high-speed passenger rail lines in at least 10 regions, expressing confidence in the future of train travel even as he acknowledged that the American rail network, compared to the rest of the world’s, remains a caboose. As a fan of rail travel, this is some welcome news!

We have research and experts that point out to us what those of us in this movement already know: unstructured play is vitally important to child development. It is freely chosen, child-directed, and intrinsically motivated. Children do not do it to get anything , be it a high score, a black belt, a gold star, or an allowance. Children play because they like it , heck, they LOVE it. What could be a better lesson to teach kids than to find pleasure and purpose in doing something for the shear joy of it? As an adult, who couldn’t use more joy or intrinsic rewards?

Could the floral scent of your air freshener contain toxic chemicals known to cause birth defects? NRDC recently tested 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as “all-natural” or “unscented” contained the hazardous chemicals.

These days, we hear a lot about people living outside their means. Most of the time, this refers to people spending more money than they bring in, and I think we can all agree this is a dangerous cycle that needs to stop. But there’s another kind of debt that is arguably even worse, and unfortunately, it can’t be bailed out. A country officially moves into ecological debt each year when it has used up all the resources it can produce in one year, effectively rendering it dependent on other countries for food and energy.

The plastics industry is putting profits over the health of San Francisco Bay. Plastic bag pollution is unnecessary, preventable and costly. Bags clog storm drains and recycling equipment, costing cities millions of dollars, and bag litter lowers property values and degrades recreational areas.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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