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Cracking the Perfect Natural Easter Egg Dye
By Sydney Swanson
With April hopping along and Easter just around the corner, it's time for dyeing eggs (and inadvertently, dyeing hands.) It's easy to grab an egg-dyeing kit at the local supermarket or drug store, but those dye ingredients are not pretty.
Typical kits contain dyes loaded with artificial colors, like FD&C Yellow #5, FD&C Red #40 and FD&C Blue #2. Although these colors are appealing, Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives highlights the many questions that have been raised about their safety, especially for kids.
The scientific community continues to debate the potential health impacts linked to artificial colors. Some studies show a correlation between them and increased hyperactivity in children.
According to a 2010 report from the Food and Drug Commission's Food Advisory Committee, "Certain food additives may exacerbate hyperactive behaviors (inattention, impulsivity and overactivity) in some groups of children." Scientists from the University of Southampton, in the UK, have also found that artificial colors and sodium benzoate, a preservative used in some egg kits, resulted in elevated hyperactivity in 3- and 9-year-old children.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy organization focused on food safety, an estimated half-million U.S. children show adverse behavioral reactions after consuming food dyes. CSPI also reports an association between artificial colors and hypersensitivity reactions, including urticaria, sneezing, sweating and a variety of other symptoms.
So if you're dyeing eggs this season, we recommend avoiding artificial colors, if possible, and choosing natural alternatives instead — especially if you plan to eat the eggs. Look for a natural egg-dyeing kit or, for more fun, try making your own dye. To make egg-cellent natural egg dye follow the recommendations below:
What you'll need: Eggs, food for the dye, water, vinegar, pots, a strainer and bowls.
Assembling Dye Ingredients
- Orange: 2 cups yellow onion skins, water to cover skins by an inch, 1-2 tablespoons vinegar.
- Yellow: 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon turmeric, 1-2 tablespoon vinegar.
- Light green: 2 cups red onion skins, water to cover skins by an inch, 1-2 tablespoons vinegar.
- Blue: 2 cups purple cabbage, water to cover cabbage by an inch, 1-2 tablespoons vinegar.
- Pink: 2 cups water, 2 cups peeled, chopped beets, 1-2 tablespoons vinegar.
Making the Dye
- Bring water and dye ingredients to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-60 minutes or until the desired color is reached. Deeper water color will produce darker eggs.
- Let the water mixture cool, then strain the liquid into dyeing bowls. Add one tablespoon of vinegar for every cup of liquid.
Dyeing the Eggs
- Place hardboiled eggs into the dye and let them soak in the refrigerator until they reach the desired shade. Soaking them overnight will result in richer colors.
- Retrieve the dyed eggs from the dye and place them on a drying rack or in an egg carton.
- Admire your work!
For extra credit, wow your friends at your next Game of Thrones viewing party, and use these dye recipes to make deviled dragon eggs!
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Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
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