In 2018, the EU widened a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides because of their impact on bees and other pollinators. At the time, the UK government pledged to keep the ban in place after leaving the EU, The Guardian pointed out. But on Friday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) approved the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam for emergency use on sugar beets in 2021.
The decision was made in response to requests from the National Farmers' Union (NFU) and British Sugar to give sugar beets extra protection from a virus causing an ailment called virus yellows disease, The Guardian explained.
"Virus yellows disease is having an unprecedented impact on Britain's sugar beet crop, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80%, and this authorisation is desperately needed to fight this disease. It will be crucial in ensuring that Britain's sugar beet growers continue to have viable farm businesses," NFU chairman Michael Sly told The Guardian.
Other countries still currently in the EU have also allowed emergency use of the product, including Belgium, Denmark and Spain.
But environmental advocates argue that any use of the pesticide is too risky at a time when insect populations are in peril. A 2020 study found that land-based insects had declined 50 percent in the last 75 years. The UK alone lost a third of its bees in the last decade, according to The Independent. The decline of UK bees since 2007 coincided with the introduction of thiamethoxam, according to The Guardian. Studies have shown that the pesticide can weaken bees' immune systems and harm the brains of young bees, making it harder for them to fly.
"Insects perform vital roles such as pollination of crops and wildflowers, and nutrient recycling, but so many have suffered drastic declines. Evidence suggests we've lost at least 50% of insects since 1970, and 41% of all insect species are now 'threatened with extinction'", the Wildlife Trust said in a Twitter thread responding to the news.
Bad news for bees: The Government has bowed to pressure from the National Farmers Union to agree the use of a highl… https://t.co/W8k7Tl9p4J— The Wildlife Trusts (@The Wildlife Trusts)1610127990.0
Other outraged citizens launched a petition calling on the government to reverse its decision.
"This pesticide is lethal to bees and other pollinators which our environment desperately needs to pollinate flora and fauna. Bees pollinate up to 3/4 of crops which makes the use of this pesticide incredibly counter-intuitive," the petition stated.
The petition earned signatures from celebrities including comedienne Sue Perkins, The London Economic noted.
2017: ‘The principal public good we will invest in is environmental enhancement.” Gove 2020: Introducing banned pe… https://t.co/uUS9Cz3feo— Sue Perkins 💙 (@Sue Perkins 💙)1610275182.0
In its statement, Buglife said it was especially concerned about a provision allowing farmers to destroy wildflowers around the beets and a lack of information about plans to keep the pesticide from polluting rivers. It noted that a similar application for emergency use was denied in 2018 due to its potential impacts on bees.
"Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018, they are still going to harm the environment," Shardlow said.
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After a year of learning from behind a screen, it's time for some outdoor play this summer.
It's widely accepted that spending time in nature has unparalleled benefits for children; kids who play outdoors are happier, more attentive, and less anxious than those who spend more time indoors. Being in nature builds confidence and creativity, reduces stress, and teaches responsibility to children – and, that time outdoors can also incorporate educational activities that help children feel excited about science and the wonders of the natural world, instilling in them a lifelong environmental ethic. Hands-on activity and play will teach them about our planet in ways not possible from merely learning in a classroom (or a Zoom screen).
This summer, take the opportunity to educate your children about the natural world, environmental conservation, and how to be stewards of the planet with a few simple, educational nature activities that will keep them entertained at home.
1. Build a Bee or Bug Hotel
dies-irae / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By providing a place for bugs to nest, insect hotels bring critters into your yard – or front porch, deck, or communal space – fostering a healthy, biodiverse backyard ecosystem. Make your own insect hotel to teach your kids about food chains, biodiversity, and pollination.
These structures can be made entirely with found or repurposed materials. Send the kids on a mission to find the filler material: twigs, pinecones, woodchips, bark, or hollow reeds – like bamboo – or roll up scraps of paper yourself. Use a wooden box or an open bird house as the frame, and pack the space strategically with the filler items. The goal is to create small openings for a variety of insects to nest; ladybugs, hoverflies, spiders, millipedes, and beetles all might make their homes here. You can create several small insect hotels, or build comparts within one larger structure, filling each with different materials.
As global bee populations diminish due to climate change and habitat destruction, teach your child about the importance of protecting pollinators by making room for the bees in your insect hotel. Solitary bees – that is, those who are not part of a hive – like to make their nests in small holes, which they protect with a mud "door" once an egg has been laid inside by a female. For this section of the hotel, drill holes of varied sizes in a block of wood (taking care not to drill entirely to the other side) at least 3/4" apart.
Watching the bees settle into their homes and alight on flowers in the garden provides the opportunity to teach children about pollination, and the importance of preserving bee populations.
2. Plant a Native Garden
A native plant garden is the perfect accompaniment to an insect hotel, and helps build a healthy, cohesive backyard ecosystem for kids to explore.
Teach children about native plants by planting some of your own, and watching as different species thrive in your yard. Even with only a small space, you can still grow native flowers in the ground, raised beds, or containers. To attract butterflies, plant shrubs and a mixture of annual and perennial flowers of varied heights; check out your local Native Plant Society to learn what flowers are native to your area. Demonstrate how the flowers, insects, birds, and small mammals all need each other to survive as crucial parts of the food web.
Consider alternatives to traditional turf grass – most of which is not native to North America – for your lawn as well, such as thyme, clover, and flowering perennial groundcover plants, which will attract and delight pollinators.
3. Grow Vegetables
Thomas Barwick / DigitalVision / Getty Images
It's easy to watch produce come back from the grocery store without knowing where it really comes from; take advantage of the summer weather by growing a couple undemanding vegetables. Tending to a few crops – especially high-interest plants that your kids can easily identify, like tomatoes or lettuce – is a hands-on way to teach children about the proper watering, sunlight, and healthy soil (especially if you're able to use your own compost) needed for growing, and how they're crucial for all the food that's brought to the table. Snap peas, zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce, and spinach are all easy to grow and very rewarding with high yields.
You don't even need a big yard to teach your kids about gardening: most vegetables can be grown in containers, or in pots on the windowsill. Start by creating your own starters by planting seeds in small pots in a sunny spot, tending to them frequently. Once they're large enough, help your child transfer them to the garden or containers on the sidewalk, patio, or balcony. Encourage them to water the plants, make sure they're getting proper sunlight, and watch them grow. When it's time to harvest, cook a meal together with the fruits of your labor to show them the whole process of producing food, and how we rely on our environment to feed us.
4. Propagate Plants
For those without a garden space, bring nature indoors with a few different houseplants, or propagate your own from clippings.
Monsteras, philodendron, aloe, pothos, and spider plants are all resilient, rewarding plants that thrive inside and require very little maintenance. Putting children in charge of watering and caring for houseplants not only teaches them responsibility, but shows them how to nurture a living thing (one that is relatively low stakes) for perhaps the first time.
Like watching vegetables grow in the garden, propagating new plants is a very illustrative process. Most house plants can be grown from a clipping – although research the preferred methods for whatever plant you have on hand – which, when left in water for a few weeks, will grow roots and can be planted in soil, creating even more plants for your home or to be given away to friends and neighbors.
5. Mushroom Logs
Not only houseplants can be grown inside. Available for purchase online – including from small farms like Willow Bend Farm – mushroom logs are freshly inoculated and packed with mycelium, which will eventually produce a flush of mushrooms on the outside.
Waiting and watching for the mushrooms is exciting, and, when paired with an educational book about fungi, demonstrates for older children how mycelium works under the surface of the log to produce mushrooms. The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel or We Are Fungi by Christine Nishiyama are excellent entryways into the fascinating world of mycology.
Although specifications for maintenance vary, logs should generally be soaked overnight in filtered water once or twice a month, and left in a cool, shaded area. If cared for correctly, you could harvest shiitake, lion's mane, or oyster mushrooms from a single log for several years!
6. Bird Watching
kali9 / E+ / Getty Images
No matter where you live, there will always be birds to look for and identify. Begin bird watching with your kids to teach them about migration and local habitats, and get them excited about nature. Birding is a great reason to get outside, and learning the names of local birds will make them feel more connected to their surroundings and the local environment.
Watch for birds right in your neighborhood or yard – especially if you've planted a native garden, where they'll come to feed and nest – or take a trip to a local park, nature preserve, lake, or hiking trail. To identify a bird, have your child look through a bird guidebook or search on an online database like the Audubon Bird Guide app, where they can input the shape, color, and habitat of birds to narrow down what it might be. Research the birdcalls and songs of local species, and listen for them together on your next birding excursion.
No matter what birds you find, your children (and you!) will benefit from slowing down and taking in the surrounding environment through sight and sound.
7. Nature Bingo
While you're outdoors, there is much more to look for than birds!
Explore resources from local conservation groups – like your regional Sierra Club chapter or parks department – that detail trees, birds, small mammals, and plants that you might find in the area. Create a bingo chart with pictures of these natural things for kids to look for on a neighborhood walk or hike, checking them off as they go (perhaps with a prize involved).
Some groups will post free games and activities on their websites or social media, or even host nature walks or other events for children; explore what options exist in your area for your kids to learn from local naturalists this summer and beyond.
Linnea graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in English and Environmental Studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Most recently, Linnea worked at Hunger Free America, and has interned with WHYY in Philadelphia, Saratoga Living Magazine, and the Sierra Club in Washington, DC.
Linnea enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors, reading, practicing her German, and volunteering on farms and gardens and for environmental justice efforts in her community. Along with journalism, she is also an essayist and writer of creative nonfiction.
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Medically reviewed by Anna H. Chacon, M.D.
From eating foods for healthy skin to switching up your morning and routines, taking care of the largest organ in the body can get overwhelming. Recently, vitamin C has grown in popularity in the skincare world — but do the best vitamin C serums live up to the hype?
Vitamin C is not only an essential supplement for your immune system and overall health, but it's also a great skincare ingredient that can help limit inflammation, brighten skin, dull fine lines and wrinkles, fight free radicals, and reduce discoloration and dark spots.
Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine seems like a no-brainer, but before you start shopping for a serum, it's important to be aware that vitamin C is an unstable ingredient. Dermatologists say it's important to find legit and properly formulated vitamin C serums to capitalize on the benefits of the antioxidant. In this article, we'll help you find the right dermatologist-approved vitamin C serum to add to your routine.
Our Picks for the Best Vitamin C Serums of 2021
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall: ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
- Best Budget-Friendly Serum: CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
- Best Cruelty-Free Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum
- Best Anti-Aging Serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment
- Best Brightening Serum: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
Skincare Benefits of Vitamin C
Also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an antioxidant that is present in the formation of collagen and that protects against aging, according to Dr. Anna Chacon, a board-certified dermatologist with MyPsoriasisTeam. A vitamin C serum may be a solid addition to your skincare routine because it has a great safety profile, and it's safe for most skin types.
"Vitamin C serum restores and neutralizes environmental stressors that accelerate signs of aging and can be used morning and evening," Dr. Chacon says. However, she warns, "it does not come with sun protection, so additional use of sunscreen is recommended."
As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects skin cells from being damaged by free radicals from things like UV exposure, vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke. It also hampers melanin production, which can help to lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots and even out your skin tone.
6 Best Vitamin C Serums
Based on dermatologist recommendations and our market research, the following products are the best vitamin C serums available today.
Best Overall: ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating
Our overall recommendation for the best vitamin C serum is the ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating serum. The product contains 10% vitamin C, which has anti-aging properties and minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sunspots by promoting collagen production. "I have this in my bathroom," Dr. Chacon says. "It is gentle and non-irritating, and it leaves your skin radiant afterward."
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with under 100 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Along with L-ascorbic acid, this serum includes ingredients like Coenzyme Q10 for multi-layer antioxidant protection and plant-derived squalane for added hydration. ZO Skin Health's products are all cruelty-free.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum
Made with plant- and vitamin-derived antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, peptides and CoQ10, Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum will help rejuvenate your skin. The formula fights dullness, enhances firmness and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with about 300 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: This product is paraben-free, fragrance-free and cruelty-free, as it's not tested on animals. The container is 100% recyclable through TerraCycle, and it's formulated and manufactured in the U.S.
Best Budget-Friendly Serum: CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
CeraVe Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid offers high value at a reasonable price. It is a hydrating vitamin C serum that's fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and budget-friendly to boot. The formula uses 10% pure vitamin C to prevent free radical damage as well as soothing vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to make the skin look smooth and create a moisture barrier for your skin.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 20,000 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: Chacon calls CeraVe "a trusted, dermatologist-oriented brand" that comes at drugstore prices, so it's a great choice if you want to try out a budget-friendly vitamin C serum.
Best Cruelty-Free Serum: Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C Plus E Ferulic Acid Serum
Timeless Skin Care's vitamin C serum promotes healthy cell turnover to help minimize the effects of hyperpigmentation and even out your skin tone. According to Dr. Chacon, "vitamin C, E and ferulic acid are all key ingredients that help to brighten skin, building up collagen and evening out tone." This product's formula is non-greasy and lightweight, so it absorbs quickly and clearly into the skin.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 1,700 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The Timeless Skin Care formula is paraben-free, synthetic dye-free, fragrance-free and polyethylene glycol-free. The company doesn't test on animals, and the product is made in the U.S. from natural ingredients. It's also part of the TerraCycle recycling program.
Best Anti-Aging Serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment
Using dermatologist-approved ingredients, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment is lightweight and helps to firm, smooth, and brighten the skin for a more youthful look. The formula utilizes 15% pure vitamin C as well as vitamin E and ferulic acid to protect against environmental damage from things like sunlight, ozone pollution and diesel engine exhaust. Plus, it helps firm the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Customer Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars with over 200 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Combination Antioxidant Treatment is one of the best vitamin C serums for anti-aging purposes. It has an oil-like formulation that goes on smoothly and works effectively without clogging pores.
Best Brightening Serum: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is a topical form of vitamin C that's rich in antioxidants to target aging and brighten the skin. It uses a high concentration of L-ascorbic acid as well as hyaluronic acid spheres for skin hydration. The brightening serum helps enhance skin smoothness and radiance without being too harsh. However, to test skin sensitivity, it is always recommended to perform a patch test before a full application.
Customer Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars with over 4,500 Amazon ratings
Why Buy: This vitamin C brightening serum is cruelty-free and vegan and does not contain alcohol, phthalates, gluten, fragrance, nuts, oil, silicone, parabens or sulfates. The moisturizing serum is good for all skin types, including acne-prone skin and dry skin.
FAQ: Best Vitamin C Serums
What vitamin C serum is the most effective?
Our top recommended vitamin C serum is the ZO Skin Health 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating serum. It is a dermatologist-approved antioxidant powerhouse, yet it is gentle, non-irritating and leaves you with glowing skin.
Should you use vitamin C serum every day?
Dermatologists recommend using vitamin C serum either every day or every other day. After you cleanse and tone your face, use your vitamin c product before applying moisturizer and reef-safe sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
Does vitamin C serum really work?
According to dermatologists, the best vitamin C serums work to protect against skin aging. However, if you do not purchase a doctor-recommended product, you run the risk of wasting your money on a low-concentration serum that won't give you any benefits.
What are the drawbacks of vitamin C serums?
Many vitamin C serums on the market, especially cheaper products, have nearly immeasurable concentrations of antioxidants, which makes them ineffective. Additionally, as with any skincare product, some individuals may have reactions to vitamin C serums including itchiness and redness.
Anna H. Chacon, M.D. is a dermatologist and author originally from Miami, Florida. She has authored over a dozen peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and has been published in JAAD, Archives of Dermatology, British Journal of Dermatology, Cosmetic Dermatology and Cutis.
By Andrea Germanos
Warning that threats including the climate crisis and pesticides are pushing the American bumblebee toward extinction, two conservation groups on Monday urged the Biden administration to give federal protections to the native pollinator.
"We're asking President [Joe] Biden to be the hero that steps up and saves the American bumblebee from extinction," said Jess Tyler, an entomologist and staff scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. "It's unthinkable that we would carelessly allow this fuzzy, black-and-yellow beauty to disappear forever."
To stave off that scenario, Tyler's group joined the Bombus Pollinator Association of Law Students of Albany Law School in urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the American bumblebee as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Keith Hirokawa, a professor of law at Albany Law School, called it "unfortunate that we're forced to call upon the Endangered Species Act to protect a species so fundamental to human and ecosystem health."
"It is our hope," said Hirokawa, "that the Biden administration grasps the gravity of this moment."
The groups' 72-page petition [pdf] to the agency describes the gravity in clear terms, pointing in part to how the species — referring to the pollinators known as both Bombus pensylvanicus and Bombus sonorous — have gone from being once common and dominant to suffering a "devastating loss" of abundance. From the filing:
Once the most commonly observed bumblebee in the United States, the American bumblebee has declined by 89% in relative abundance and continues to decline toward extinction due to the disastrous, synergistic impacts of threats including habitat loss, pesticides, disease, climate change, competition with honey bees, and loss of genetic diversity. In the last 20 years, the American bumblebee has vanished from at least eight states, mostly in the Northeast, and it is in precipitous decline in many more. For example, in New York it has suffered a catastrophic decline of 99% in relative abundance, and in Illinois it has disappeared from the northern part of the state and is down 74% since 2004. In sum, the American bumblebee has become very rare or possibly extripated [sic] from 16 states in the Northeast and Northwest; it has experienced declines of over 90% in the upper Midwest; and 19 other states in the Southeast and Midwest have seen declines of over 50%.
Bolstering the groups' argument for ESA protections is international recognition of the American bumble's plight, with the petition citing as an example the IUCN's "vulnerable" classification. Further, the groups add, "The American bumblebee has not been protected under any state endangered species statute."
Simply put, the species "urgently needs the protections that only ESA listing can provide. Without these necessary protections, the American bumblebee will continue to precipitously decline," the groups wrote.
According to the center's Tyler, while the situation for the bee is grim, there is hope.
"There's no question that human activities have pushed this bee toward extinction, so we have the ability to wake up, reverse course, and save it," said Tyler.
"But this late in the game," he added, "it's going to take the powerful tools provided only by the Endangered Species Act to get the job done. Anything short of that and we risk losing this iconic part of the American landscape forever."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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For decades, Burt's Bees has been one of the leading names in cosmetic and skincare products developed with sustainability in mind. Not only do they create high-quality products from natural ingredients, but they're attentive to the ways in which their production, packaging, and distribution methods impact the world around them. For those who value environmental stewardship and wise corporate citizenship, Burt's Bees is iconic.
Perhaps it was only a matter of time before the company expanded its all-natural skincare and cosmetic line to include products that harness the potent, holistic effects of CBD. In this post, we'll offer a quick guide to the products included in the new Burt's Bees CBD line, as well as some further comments about the company as a whole.
First, it may be worth asking why all of this matters. What's the big deal about CBD, anyway?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of the most prevalent, active ingredients in the cannabis plant (marijuana). CBD has been linked with a number of positive, holistic health effects; in fact, it's been FDA-approved as a treatment for epilepsy and seizures, while much anecdotal evidence positions it as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Crucially, legally-available CBD products have little or no THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant; in other words, you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of CBD without any risk of getting high.
The Burt's Bees Story
With that said, let's get back to Burt's Bees.
The company was founded in the early 1980s by Burt Shavitz and Roxanne Quimby, veterans of the art community who sought refuge and contemplation in the prairies of Maine. Eventually, their interests led them to beekeeping, and into developing lip and skincare products developed from homegrown beeswax.
From the very beginning, their mission was to develop products that drew from the power of nature, while also taking seriously their responsibility to preserve, protect, and respect nature.
Sustainability at Burt's Bees
There are a number of ways in which Burt's Bees continues to live out its commitment to sustainability to this day.
All Ingredients Come from Nature
The company strives for 100 percent natural ingredients in all of their products, and generally comes pretty close. (Their skincare products are all 95 percent natural, at a bare minimum.) Everything they make is absent parabens and other concerning, artificial chemicals.
No Products are Tested on Animals
Burt's Bees products are all "Leaping Bunny Certified." What this means is that they never test their products on animals, or ask any third parties to conduct animal testing on their behalf.
The company also demonstrates a responsible approach to sourcing, visiting all their ingredient harvesting sites to ensure a commitment to stewardship and sustainability.
Environmentally Friendly Packaging
All Burt's Bees products are completely recyclable. They avoid over-packaging, and their plastics are made up largely of recycled materials.
The bottom line: Burt's Bees is a company with serious eco-credentials… and that makes them a logical choice for expansion into the world of natural, sustainably sourced CBD.
About Burt's Bees CBD Products
Currently, Burt's Bees offers five products that are made with full spectrum CBD. What this means is that their CBD includes trace elements of all parts of the plant, including other cannabinoids and terpenes. According to many CBD experts, this provides a more potent and effective product overall.
All of the company's CBD ingredients are sourced from hemp that's grown and harvested in Colorado, using the most sustainable, organic agricultural practices.
Another important note about Burt's Bees CBD products: All of them are rigorously third-party tested. Independent lab results are key whenever you buy CBD, because it allows you to get a good sense of the purity, quality, and potency of what you're buying. You can get batch-specific test results for any Burt's Bees product simply by visiting their website.
So, what about the specific products in the Burt's Bees CBD line?
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Meanwhile, Burt's Bees also offers a cream that's perfectly soothing for your calloused feet or hard-working hands. It's made not only with 200mg of CBD, but also with a host of other natural ingredients designed to moisturize and replenish. You can get the CBD hand and foot cream for just $20. We especially recommend this product for anyone who has been thinking about trying CBD for psoriasis.
Looking for a natural, soothing way to revitalize your skin? Burt's Bees' facial oil combines the replenishing powers of CBD with other proven ingredients from the natural world, including jojoba, rosehip, and evening primrose oils. This face oil is made with 100mg of CBD.
Burt's Bees is famous for their lip balms, so it's no surprise that they offer a CBD-infused variant. Made with 10mg of CBD, this balm has a wonderfully cooling effect on the lips. The addition of shea butter helps increase its moisturizing effect.
An additional option for those seeking CBD-powered lip care. This one is meant to be used while you sleep, allowing it plenty of time to revitalize and restore badly chapped lips. Made with 15mg CBD, you can get the Burt's Bees lip treatment online now.
Last but not least, check out the Burt's Bees CBD Body Cream, made with 250mg CBD plus rich, botanical scents. It's designed to leave your skin soft and fully moisturized for a full 24 hours, and you can get it for just $30.
Sustainably Sourced CBD Products
It's important to emphasize that all of these products are made with transparently sourced CBD ingredients, as well as the company's usual high standards of eco-friendly packaging. In other words, this is a great opportunity to enjoy some of the benefits of CBD skincare, with all the sustainability and sound environmental stewardship that Burt's Bees is known for.
We're happy to recommend these products as good entry points into CBD skincare. Always remember, when shopping for CBD products, look for third party test results and transparency about sourcing information, all of which Burt's Bees makes readily available.
Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. His writing on natural health, nutrition, and supplements has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
Whether you've been taking daily vitamins since childhood or you've decided it's time to supplement your diet with the essential nutrients of a multivitamin, more and more adults are relying on subscription services to deliver their daily nutrition.
From personalized vitamins and supplements for dry skin to supplements to boost your immune system, there's a vitamin subscription company that meets your needs. Let's break down the differences between some of the leading vitamin subscription companies so you can choose the best brand for you and the environment.
What are Vitamin Supplements?
Vitamins are nutrients that our body cannot manufacture by itself, yet are essential for its proper functioning. Under ideal circumstances, you should obtain these vitamins through a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. However, multivitamin supplements can work to compliment your diet and provide you with complete nutrition. Some, like krill oil supplements, provide a single nutrient or vitamin while others contain a complete range of vitamins and minerals to help support your body. There are also dietary supplements like vegan plant-based protein powders that can help with nutritional goals.
A vitamin subscription allows you to set up a recurring delivery schedule for your daily vitamin supplement to ensure that you never run out, while also allowing you to choose the right types of supplements for you. In addition to vitamins, you can also find probiotics and digestive enzymes to help support digestive and immune health.
Our Top Picks for the Best Vitamin Subscription Brands
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall - Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+
- Best Plant-Based - Vital Plan Daily Herbal
- Best for Sports Nutrition - Onnit Total Human Complete Supplement Packs
- Best for Immune System - Global Healing Plant-Based Immune Support
- Best Omega-3 - Sunwarrior Algae-Based Omega-3
- Best Vitamin Bite - GEM Daily Essentials
- Best for Personalization - Care/of
- Best for Heart Health - CocoaVia Heart & Brain Capsules
- Best for Energy - Beekeeper's Naturals B.Fueled Bee Pollen
- Best Vitamin Powder - NutraOne Vitality Powder
How We Chose the Best Vitamin Subscriptions
There are a number of factors to consider when committing to a vitamin subscription. Here are a few of the key features that we prioritized in making our list.
- Options: Vitamins and supplements can aid in filling gaps of what you need but aren't getting from your diet. Everyone's needs are different, whether you're pregnant, an older adult, or have medical afflictions such as immune or vitamin-deficiency issues. So having a wide variety of products to choose from can make the difference between a vitamin pack supplier being a go-to, or a hard pass.
- Ingredients: Vitamins and supplements come from raw materials, and it's important to know how they source those ingredients. With that information in mind, you need to look for a company that does not include fillers, additives, or preservatives in products.
- Testing: Daily vitamins have to be tested to ensure purity, efficacy, and bioavailability of ingredients. Expertise can not be improvised, and some brands even run several tests on their products before making them available.
- Sustainability: If it's helping you, it should help the planet in the process. Suppliers that work with vegan, natural, organic, and even reusable packaging are a win-win on this matter. Since you will be getting their product delivered regularly, it is an important consideration. We also looked for companies committed to higher standards in their sourcing and manufacturing practices.
- Cost: Depending on the number of recommended supplements, costs might vary from as low as $1 or less per day (in products with small batches) to up to $6 or $7 per day. Keep in mind that access to personalized knowledge centers can be included in some of the plans, and you will receive nutrition and wellness insights and dietary assessments.
10 Best Vitamin Subscription Brands 2021
Best Overall: Ritual Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+
We like that Ritual makes all of its sources and suppliers fully traceable and available to consumers. Its website details the backstory of each carefully-sourced ingredient and the human supplier. This level of transparency is hard to find in the supplement world, and really sets Ritual apart.
Why buy: This women-founded and led business takes female health seriously and provides nuanced and targeted supplements to uniquely meet women's' nutritional needs. Their daily vitamin supplements are vegan, gluten-free, allergy-free, non-GMO, and free of synthetic fillers.
Best Plant-Based: Vital Plan Daily Herbalvitalplan.com
Vital Plan was founded in North Carolina by Dr. Bill Rawls after he sought a more natural and holistic treatment for his chronic pain. An expert in modern herbology, Dr. Rawls formulated botanical herbal therapies that use high-quality, hand picked ingredients that are backed by clinical research and tested by third-party labs.
Why buy: We like Vital Plan's Daily Herbal supplement because it is a physician-formulated herbal supplement that can naturally support total body wellness. Vital Plan is also a certified B corp, an Environmental Working Group supporter, and a Pledge 1% member.
Best for Sports Nutrition: Onnit Total Human Complete Supplement Packs
Onnit Total Human Complete Supplement Packs are designed to deliver all of the vitamins and minerals you need to perform at your best in a convenient form. Instead of providing a single multivitamin, these supplements are divided into one pack for daytime support and another for nighttime support to give your body the nutrients it needs when it needs them.
Why buy: We like that Onnit Total Human packs offer different groups of clinically-researched vitamins and nutrients for different times of the day. The Day Pack includes support for focus, energy, and endurance while the Night Pack is meant to help with relaxation, rest, and recovery.
Best for Immune System: Global Healing Plant-Based Immune Boost
This Global Healing Plant-Based Immune Support supplement offers a natural way to help support your immune system with USDA organic herbs, mushrooms, and aromatics. This all-in-one formula contains ingredients like organic elderberry, echinacea, enokitake mushrooms, birch polypore mushrooms, olive leaf, and pine bark.
Why buy: We like this liquid vitamin supplement from Global Healing because it is USDA organic, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and not tested on animals. This plant-based formula makes it easy to help boost your immune response by taking one serving per day. You can even mix it into juices or smoothies.
Best for Omega-3s: Sunwarrior Algae-Based Omega-3
Sunwarrior offers a unique omega-3 supplement that is a great alternative to traditional fish oil. They go straight to the source and derive their omega-3 DHA and EPA from sustainably-grown and harvested algae. These vegan softgels can help support heart, brain, eye, and joint health with plant-based nutrients.
Why buy: We love that Sunwarrior Algae-Based Omega-3 supplements provide a completely plant-based alternative to fish oil supplements. Use these softgels to get all of the benefits of omega-3 DHA and EPA fatty acids from a source that is better for our oceans and planet.
Best Overall: GEM Daily Essentials
GEM is unlike any other supplement subscription on the market. Instead of sending powders or pills, your monthly GEM delivery contains chewable nutrition bites made with whole-food ingredients like spirulina, chia seeds, quinoa and dates. These are real food supplements made with plant-based ingredients.
Why buy: Their ingredients are carefully selected from trusted sources for maximum nutritional benefits and minimal processing. Each bite looks like something you could mix up in a food processor at home. We also love that your first month is delivered in a refillable tin and every subsequent month's bites come in a compostable pouch for waste-free packaging.
Best for Personalization: Care/of
Care/of has made a loud and public commitment to increasing the sustainability of their single-serving, daily dose personalized vitamins. The brand recently switched to fully compostable, plant-based packaging, the first step on their way towards a more sustainable business. Their basic multivitamin starts at $15, but you can also take a quiz for a personalized mix of daily vitamins.
Why buy: We like that Care/of offers both western-style letter vitamins and traditional ayurvedic herbs like ashwagandha and reishi for those looking for alternative solutions.The brand is also transparent about its sourcing from around the world, and it maintains close relationships with the producers who supply their products.
Best for Heart Health: CocoaVia Heart & Brain Capsules
CocoaVia Heart & Brain supplements are meant to improve cardiovascular health, brain health, and overall wellness. Each CocoaVia serving (2 capsules) contains 450 mg of cocoa flavanols, which is the beneficial nutrient found in dark chocolate. This is a plant-based nutrient proven to improve heart and brain health when consumed daily at high levels.
Why buy: We like that CocoaVia capsules are backed by 20 years of research and over 30 clinical studies, and they are independently lab tested for quality. CocoaVia also partners with family farmers in Indonesia and carefully extracts the cocoa flavanols from the plant to maintain the true essence of the natural crop.
Best for Energy: Beekeeper's Naturals B.Fueled Bee Pollen
Beekeeper's Naturals offers a subscription option for their B.Fueled Bee Pollen supplement that can provide protein and B vitamins to help keep you going. This sustainably sourced raw wildflower bee pollen also contains free forming amino acids and antioxidants that can give you an energy boost for workouts or busy days.
Why buy: We love that Beekeeper's Naturals offers an easy way to enjoy "nature's multivitamin" with this sustainably sourced bee pollen. It contains wildflower bee pollen and nothing else, for a clean source of energy with no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, gluten, wheat, corn, dairy, or soy.
Best Vitamin Powder: NutraOne Vitality Powder
NutraOne Vitality Powder delivers all of your daily vitamins, minerals, and even digestive enzymes, in a convenient and highly-absorbable powder. You can mix in a scoop of powder with a glass of water each day to help boost your energy, immune system, metabolism, and support strong bones.
Why buy: We like that this multivitamin powder also includes digestive enzymes to help promote better digestive health so you get more nutrients from the foods you eat. NutraOne Vitality Powder can also help boost your metabolism to help you manage blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammation, and mood. It's also naturally sweetened with stevia leaf extract
What to Look for in a Vitamin Subscription Service
These days, there are more and more daily vitamin packs available. Dietary supplements are just another industry that has jumped onto the subscription train. As a consumer, it can be hard to cut through the noise around vitamins, supplements, superfood powders, prenatal, and other "good for you" dietary additions.
How can you be sure that a vitamin subscription service is right for you and reach your health goals? There are a few things to look out for.
First, where does the company source its ingredients? Just like with food, where your vitamins come from matters. And because there aren't strict governmental regulations on supplements, it's even more important to investigate how transparent your vitamin brand is.
Look for a brand that promises to include no fillers, additives, or preservatives in their products. Gluten-free and corn-free vitamins is also a good sign, as corn and wheat are often used as fillers to bulk up pills without any nutritional benefit.
Many of the brands below offer full transparency about where their products come from and even the specific suppliers they work with. You should check each ingredient of each vitamin in your subscription box.
The other important question to consider from a sustainability perspective is packaging. If you're having vitamins delivered to your home every 30 days, tiny plastic bottles, lids, cardboard, and bubble wrap can add up quickly.
Several companies listed below offer refillable packaging and use only materials that can be reused, recycled, and often composted. Choose from a brand that wants to deliver a daily dose in as little plastic as possible.
What are the Benefits of a Vitamin Subscription?
These services provide customized nutrients in convenient packs for daily health and wellness improvement. Not only can they give you more targeted dietary recommendations, they can help you identify any deficiencies that you can correct with a supplement to optimize your health. Not to mention that they offer the convenience of delivering your personalized supplement packs directly to you. And with a subscription, you'll never run out of your daily vitamins.
Should You Take Vitamin Supplements?
Whether you're looking for a complete vitamin recommendation, like prenatal vitamins, to control allergies by caring for your immune health, to lose weight, or trying to correct for a vitamin deficiency, there's a vitamin subscription for you. There are daily vitamin packs that can boost every type of person and every type of health goal. And with a personalized vitamin pack, you can get a curated supply of supplements that will best work with your body's needs.
What are Some of the Most Common Vitamin Supplements?
If you don't know where to start, here are some of the most crucial vitamins the body needs to function:
Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in a number of bodily functions, and can help improve a range of ailments and conditions, including poor bone health, type 1 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension.
Magnesium: Magnesium is important for muscle and nerve functioning, and it has been recently touted for its ability to reduce the frequency and symptoms of migraine, headaches, as well as improving sleep.
Fish Oil: This supplement contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help In everything from cardiovascular health and brain functioning to arthritis and inflammation.
Vitamin C: Researchers have found that vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which can lower the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration. It also plays an important role in the immune system.
When selecting a vitamin subscription service to commit to, it's important to consider everything from the ingredients to the packaging materials. Some subscriptions use a simple questionnaire and an algorithm to pick your vitamin regimen. Others may ask you to submit to a blood test or DNA test. How personalized you want your program to be is up to you.
We recommend consulting a healthcare professional or registered dietician if you're making any major decisions about your health. Also take into considerations any potential allergens or the availability to supporting health products at your local drugstore to build out your routine.
Lizzy Briskin is the founder of Earthen Food Co. She is a chef, food writer, and recipe developer who helps people eat more mindfully for themselves and the environment, without overthinking it.
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By Brian Lovett
As winter phases into spring across the U.S., gardeners are laying in supplies and making plans. Meanwhile, as the weather warms, common garden insects such as bees, beetles and butterflies will emerge from underground burrows or nests within or on plants.
Most gardeners know how beneficial insects can be for their plots. Flies pollinate flowers. Predatory bugs, such as the spined shoulder bug, eat pest insects that otherwise would tuck into garden plants.
As a scientist whose research involves insects and as a gardener, I know that many beneficial insect species are declining and need humans' help. If you're a gardener looking for a new challenge this year, consider revamping all or part of your yard to support beneficial insects.
Lawns Are Insect Food Deserts
Some gardeners choose native plants to attract and support helpful insects. Often, however, those native plants are surrounded by vast expanses of lawn.
The vast majority of insect species find blades of grass as unappetizing as we do. Yet, lawns sprawl out across many public and private spaces. NASA estimated in 2005 that lawns covered at least 50,000 square miles (128,000 square kilometers) of the U.S. – about the size of the entire state of Mississippi.
A well-manicured lawn is a sure sign that humanity has imposed its will on nature. Lawns provide an accessible and familiar landscape, but they come at a cost for our six-legged neighbors. Grasses grown as turf provide very few places for insects to safely tuck themselves away, because homeowners and groundskeepers cut them short – before they send up flowering spikes – and apply fertilizers and pesticides to keep them green.
Entomologists have a recommendation: Dig up some fraction of your lawn and convert it into a meadow by replacing grass with native wildflowers. Wildflowers provide pollen and nectar that feed and attract a variety of insects like ants, native bees and butterflies. Just as you may have a favorite local restaurant, insects that live around you have a taste for the flowers that are native to their areas.
Have you thought about this? https://t.co/nz31BXYKKI— David Steen, Ph.D. (@David Steen, Ph.D.)1562630208.0
This bold choice will not just benefit insects. Healthier insects support local birds, and meadows require fewer chemical inputs and less mowing than lawns. The amount of attention lawns demand from us, even if we outsource the work to a landscaping company, is a sign of their precarity.
A meadow is a wilder, more resilient option. Resilient ecosystems are better able to respond to and recover from disturbances.
Entomologist Ryan Gott, integrated pest management and quality control specialist at Maitri Genetics in Pittsburgh, describes lawns and meadows as two opposite ends of a resiliency spectrum. "As far as basic ecological functions go, a lawn does not have many. A lawn mainly extracts nutrition and water, usually receiving outside inputs of fertilizer and irrigation to stay alive, and returns very little to the system," he told me.
Native flowers, by definition, will grow well in your climate, although some areas will have more choices than others and growing seasons vary. Native plants also provide a palette of colors and variety that lawns sorely lack. By planting them as a meadow, with many different flowers emerging throughout the growing season, you can provide for a diverse assortment of local insects. And mowing and fertilizing less will leave you more time to appreciate wildlife of all sizes.
There are many different types of meadows, and every wildflower species has different preferences for soil type and conditions. Meadows thrive in full sunlight, which is also where lawns typically do well.
Making Insects Feel at Home
Not every yard can support a meadow, but there are other ways to be a better, more considerate neighbor to insects. If you have a shady yard, consider modeling your garden after natural landscapes like woodlands that are shady and support insects.
What's important in landscaping with insects in mind, or "entoscaping," is considering insects early and often when you visit the garden store. With a few pots or window boxes, even a balcony can be converted into a cozy insect oasis.
If you're gardenless, you can still support insect health. Try replacing white outdoor lights, which interfere with many insects' feeding and breeding patterns. White lights also lure insects into swarms, where they are vulnerable to predators. Yellow bulbs or warm-hued LEDs don't have these effects.
Another easy project is using scrap wood and packing materials to create simple "hotels" for bees or ladybugs, making sure to carefully sanitize them between seasons. Easiest of all, provide water for insects to drink – they're adorable to watch as they sip. Replace standing water at least weekly to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
A Refuge in Every Yard
Many resources across the U.S. offer advice on converting your lawn or making your yard more insect-friendly.
The Xerces Society for Insect Conservation publishes a guide to establishing meadows to sustain insects. Local university extension offices post tips on growing meadows with specific instructions and resources for their areas. Gardening stores often have experience and carry selections of local plants.
You may find established communities of enthusiasts for local plants and seeds, or your journey could be the start of such a group. Part of the fun of gardening is learning what plants need to be healthy, and a new endeavor like entoscaping will provide fresh challenges.
In my view, humans all too often see ourselves as separate from nature, which leads us to relegate biodiversity to designated parks. In fact, however, we are an important part of the natural world, and we need insects just as much as they need us. As ecologist Douglas Tallamy argues in his book, Nature's Best Hope, the best way to protect biodiversity is for people to plant native plants and promote conservation in every yard.
Brian Lovett is a postdoctoral researcher in mycology at West Virginia University.
Disclosure statement: Brian Lovett does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
The Caldor Fire breached Echo Summit on Monday, crossing the Sierra Nevada and posing a direct threat to the population centers around Lake Tahoe, forcing more than 50,000 people to evacuate.
A wildfire has crossed over the Sierra Nevada just once before in recorded history: less than two weeks ago the Dixie Fire crossed the mountain range farther north. "We haven't had fires burn from one side of the Sierra to the other," Thom Porter, head of Cal Fire, told reporters Monday. "We did with Dixie, and now we do with the Caldor — we need to be cognizant that there is fire activity happening (here) that we have never seen before."
Even at high elevation, high heat, strong winds, and dry foliage fuel the fire, which now threatens to incinerate 20,000 buildings and wipe out South Lake Tahoe. If the embers blown by high winds ignite in the valley, it could cause a catastrophic "urban conflagration," UC Merced fire scientist Crystal Kolden told the LA Times. "It's so dry that it is perfect kindling," she said. In an area full of old, wooden homes, "You've got this potential for it to really start jumping from building to building to building, and it's just a completely different beast and they can't fight it."
Mass evacuations clogged the roads not already closed by the flames.
Wildfires like the Caldor Fire — which had burned 186,568 acres as of Monday evening and was just 15% contained — are supercharged by heat, and drought made worse by climate change caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. Other climate impacts also make it harder to fight wildfires. A helicopter crew from the Louisiana National Guard that had been set to help firefighters battling the Caldor Fire was recalled to respond to Hurricane Ida.
For a deeper dive:
The Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, Tahoe Daily Tribune, The Mercury News, The Record-Courier, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles TImes, CBS Sacramento, Reuters, Earther, CNN, AP, Los Angeles Times, AP explainer; Photos: San Francisco Chronicle; The Sacramento Bee, Earther; Climate Signals background 2021 Western wildfire season
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Americans take great pride in their lawns. A centuries-old practice adopted from Great Britain and Northern France, lawns have become a status symbol; a standard fixture of American communities.
In the United States, more than 40 million acres of land are covered in grass, making it the single largest irrigated crop in the country, requiring more labor, fuel, toxins, and equipment than industrial farming. These vast areas of monoculture (the practice of planting only a single crop) do ultimately have devastating consequences for ecosystem health.
Constituting 2% of the continental US, turf grass has a substantial environmental impact, especially in regards to lawn care: 3 trillion gallons of water, 200 million gallons of gas (for mowing), and 70 million pounds of pesticides are used for lawn maintenance every year; fertilizer – containing large concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous – runs off of lawns, into storm drains, and eventually flows to waterways, causing algal blooms and contaminating drinking water; herbicides and pesticides kill unwanted – yet necessary – plants and insects, causing harm to humans and wildlife alike.
Moreover, the turf grass used for most lawns in the United States isn't native to North America and doesn't support the rich, diverse life needed for a healthy ecosystem. Blanketing an area with exclusively non-native grass eliminates the habitats of native plants and insects, decimating the biodiversity of the area and creating far-reaching consequences for food chains.
While boasting a bright green, perfectly mowed, immaculate lawn has become the norm, turning your yard into a native ecological refuge – sometimes called "naturescaping" – with these eco-friendly alternatives can do wonders for the biodiversity and overall health of your backyard ecosystem.
1. Native Plants and Flowers
Lake Lou / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
The ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass that make up most American lawns aren't native to the US; between 5,000 and 385,000 acres of native ecosystems are displaced by lawns every day, crowding out regional flowers, plants, and grasses across the country. Without these native plants, monoculture lawns are essentially wastelands for birds and pollinators – like bees, whose populations have been declining rapidly around the world – eliminating the flowers they feed on and locations for nesting.
Choosing to instead foster a yard of native flowers and plants creates a ripple affect in regional food chains: plants provide food for the bugs and bees that depend on it, which in turn provide food for mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, restoring the biodiversity that has been lost. Creating a deliberate landscaping plan to replace grass with low-maintenance plants will attract wildlife and bring some beauty to your backyard.
In urban areas, clover, dandelion, and other lawn "weeds" have been identified as some of the most important food sources for bees, and flowers like columbine, monarda, asters, and holly provide a friendly habitat for birds. Of course, native plants vary by region, so be sure to check with your state's Native Plant Society to find the right species for your eco-haven.
2. Grass Alternatives
If you love to look out the window at your luscious patch of green, you don't have to give it up entirely.
Groundcover plants provide an alternative to turf, but eliminate the need for mowing and still deliver that traditional verdant green. Clover, creeping jenny, barberry cotoneaster, Corsican mint, and creeping herbs like thyme and oregano require very little maintenance; clover especially needs little attention once it's established, suppresses weeds, and has a deep root system that aerates the soil.
Flowering perennial groundcover species – like sweet woodruff, liriope, and horned violets – bring a dash of color to your yard and often do well in shaded areas, as do many kinds of moss. Species of native ornamental grass thrive in different ranges of light, moisture, and soil, giving you plenty of options for your space.
Growing a natural lawn also eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, improves soil quality, and prevents erosion – all while creating a native habitat for the birds and the bees.
3. Befriend the Bugs
The prevailing rhetoric of traditional yard maintenance is to eliminate as many humming, buzzing, and crawling things as possible, which drives away the beneficial bugs that foster healthy, thriving ecosystems such as ladybugs, spiders, and ground beetles. While caterpillars and Japanese beetles might not be a welcome sight, not all bugs are a bad sign!
During their lifetime, ladybugs may eat as many as 5,000 aphids – a common backyard enemy. Ground beetles too feed on less-desirable bugs like caterpillars, slugs, weevils, and nematodes. To encourage such insects to make a home in your yard, you can purchase many of them online or at garden stores to jumpstart the process. But, once you begin to populate your yard with native plants and bid the turf adieu, the insects should start crawling, flying, and buzzing back.
Learn what beneficial bugs live in your area so you can identify the signs of a healthy, bio-diverse lawn.
4. Ditch the Fertilizer …
While typical fertilizers ramp up the productivity of farms and might keep our backyards emerald green, they also emit harmful greenhouse gases – accounting for 1.5% of global emissions – and fertilized lawns are no exception.
According to Dr. Chuanhui Gu of Appalachian State University, a standard lawn emits up to 6 times more CO2 than what can be absorbed during photosynthesis through mowing, irrigating, and fertilizing, including the production and transportation of the fertilizer.
Instead of synthetic fertilizers, try adding organic nutrients to your eco-friendly lawn by spreading compost. "Topdressing" your yard with compost supplies nutrients and keeps the soil healthy without depleting it, allowing you to maintain a healthy ecosystem for the diverse plant and animal life thriving in your eco-oasis.
5. … and the Pesticides
Henner Zeller / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Scientists have directly linked pesticides to the demise of frog, bat, and bee populations, throwing delicately balanced ecosystems and food chains into disorder. Ninety percent of flowering plants depend on bees and other pollinators to survive – species that have seen alarming decreases in population across the globe (also referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder).
Luckily, saving the bees can start in your own backyard: lawn-owners can make a tangible difference by cutting pesticides from their lawn-care regimen. Allowing native plants and weeds to grow freely and bugs to crawl amongst them will save the lives of your local bees, providing them a sanctuary to live, eat, and thrive in.
6. No-Mow Zones
Mile-for-mile, gas-powered lawn mowers produce about 11 times more pollution than a new car, estimates the EPA – so, running a single gas-powered mower for an hour is nearly equivalent in emissions to a 100-mile car trip.
Mowing lawns is also extremely time-consuming, accounting for more than three million collective hours each year for Americans, who, on average, mow their lawns 22 times per year. Think of the time saved by going no-mow!
The No-Mow Movement encourages lawn-owners to leave native grasses to their own devices, growing tall and wild to eliminate the environmental cost of watering and mowing, and allowing a more natural landscape to take over unimpeded. If you've decided on an alternative to grass that requires no mowing – like clover or moss – you're already there.
Do keep an eye out for invasive weeds in your no-mow lawn that might crowd out native plants and grasses.
Before embarking on your eco-oasis adventure, you'll need to set about "killing" your lawn – that is, doing away with existing turf grass to make way for your native plants and no-mow zones.
Covering the lawn with a sheet of black plastic will trap heat and kill the turf underneath; or, adopt the no-till method of layering newspaper over a section of grass and covering it with a few inches of soil. The newspaper will decay over time and provide a fresh start for your new lawn.
While recovering global biodiversity may seem like a daunting goal, cutting down your environmental impact and saving native ecosystems can all begin in your own yard!
Looking for a cleaner lawn solution?
Sunday is a 1% for the Planet business, meaning a portion of every sale goes to helping people reconnect with nature and preserve important habitats across the country like tallgrass prairie. The team at Sunday offers you guidance and custom nutrients, to cultivate rich, living soil for a healthy lawn that's more self sustaining. If you follow this link to try Sunday for yourself, EcoWatch may earn a commission that will help support our editorial mission.
Linnea graduated from Skidmore College in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in English and Environmental Studies, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Along with her most recent position at Hunger Free America, she has interned with the Sierra Club in Washington, DC., Saratoga Living Magazine, and Philadelphia's NPR Member Station, WHYY.
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Now that the campaign season is over, what do we do with all those political yard signs? Trash them? Keep them for memories' sake? Florida beekeeper Alma Johnson has a better idea: donate them to help keep her honeybee hives warm.
"I saw the politician signs and I said, 'What a great opportunity,'" Johnson told Fox 13. "I'd rather use those than having to go buy corrugated plastic from Home Depot and add more to the landfill too."
The apiarist, who owns Sarasota Honey Company, upcycles corrugated plastic signs to keep hives at their ideal constant 98 degree temperature, reported Sarasota Magazine. Signs placed at the base of beehives help with ventilation, control humidity, and act as a shield against cool night drafts that can chill the queen bee and babies.
Unlike a solid wood board, corrugated plastic also prevents fungal infections, Johnson told the magazine.
Foam boards also don't upcycle for bees well because it's the spaces in the plastic signs that provide the best, chemical-free pest protection, she told Fox 13. Johnson cuts the plastic signs into squares and seals the bottom on one side. The little corrugated holes are filled with oil and apple cider vinegar to act as a natural trap for pests that threaten the bees like hive killing beetles and mites, the bee keeper explained.
"They don't care if it's a Trump sign or a Biden sign. They hold no loyalty to any party," she joked to Fox 13.
The Sarasota Honey Company plans to distribute the campaign signs to other neighboring beekeepers to help keep their bees safe as well, ABC 7 reported. Other bee farms in the Tampa Bay area are mimicking Johnson's idea and collecting and distributing political signs through local beekeepers associations, reported CL Tampa.
"It is a way of bringing people together and guess what, the byproduct of that coming together is a sweet life, honey," said Johnson, reported WFLA reported.
In St. Louis, MO, a recycling working group is tackling the plastic pollution problem in a different way. They are encouraging people to recycle corrugated political signs as well as yard signs used to congratulate graduates, St. Louis Public Radio reported.
"We don't want to send that stuff to a landfill if there's still useful life remaining in a material," recycling group member Jean Ponzi told the Public Radio.
The group has coordinated efforts because current recycling systems are not equipped to handle the material even though it is valuable to recyclers, she said in the report.
In Grand Rapids, MI, the local democratic party office collected signs for local candidates in case they want to reuse them to run again, reported ABC 13. Recycle by City: Chicago suggested a few alternative uses such as painting over them for personalized celebratory signs and upcycling them into durable storage options because no local recycler would take the signs.
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The Caldor Fire, which ignited over the weekend, exploded nearly five-fold to roughly 30,000 acres Tuesday, incinerating much of the 1,200-person town of Grizzly Flats.
At least two people with serious injuries were airlifted to hospitals from the Grizzly Flats area and about 22,000 residents have been forced to evacuate.
"It's a pile of ash," Derek Shaves, who evacuated but was able to reenter the town after the fire had passed through, told the AP. "Everybody['s house] on my block is a pile of ash and every block that I visited — but for five separate homes that were safe — was totally devastated."
The only thing left of Walt Tyler Elementary School was a metal playground structure, save for the plastic slide melted away by the fire. Strong winds, and the underlying megadrought, fueled the conflagration and the National Weather Service has issued red flag warnings for much of North California and Nevada citing the perilous trifecta of low humidity, extremely dry vegetation, and strong wind. The Caldor Fire was 0% contained Tuesday evening.
Here is a satellite view of the copious smoke from the #CaldorFire pouring into communities downwind of the plume. https://t.co/QbFoa2fZP3— NWS Reno (@NWS Reno)1629246837.0
See The Charred Remains Of Walt Tyler Elementary School, Burned By The Caldor Fire youtu.be
For a deeper dive:
The Sacramento Bee, The Guardian, NBC, The Associated Press, The Sacramento Bee, Mercury News, CNN, Daily Beast, Fox40, ABC10, CBS, Capital Public Radio; Climate Signals background: 2021 Western Wildfire Season, Drought
The European Court of Justice on Oct. 8 found that France did not violate EU rules when it banned certain chemicals considered harmful to bees.
The legal row between the French Crop Protection Association and France goes back to 2018, when the government banned some pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid group.
The ban placed France at the forefront of a campaign against chemicals blamed for decimating crop-pollinating bees.
With its ban on five neonicotinoids outdoors and in greenhouses, France went further than the European Union, which agreed to outlaw three in crop fields.
Opponents of the ban have said that it prevents farmers from protecting their sugar beet crops, which have been decimated by an infestation of green aphids. Sugar beet farmers argue that neonicotinoid chemicals are the only solution to combating such infestations.
A Ban 'Incompatible With EU Regulations'
The Crop Protection Association brought the case to court, arguing that the French decree was incompatible with an EU regulation on the family of chemicals.
The French government has since rowed back on parts of the controversial ban following pressure by beetroot growers.
However, on Thursday, the EU's top court ruled that France's initial ban had satisfactorily demonstrated the need to curb a "serious risk to human or animal health or to the environment."
Last week, the pesticides were at the center of a legal battle between the French government and the left-wing and green opposition, which accuses President Emmanuel Macron of neglecting to fulfill his environmental commitments.
On Oct. 6, the French National Assembly approved a proposal to give beetroot growers an exemption from the ban on the pesticides until July 2023.
France is Europe's top producer of beets used to make sugar and the sector provides 46,000 jobs.
Introduced in the mid-1990s, lab-synthesized neonicotinoids are based on the chemical structure of nicotine, and attack the central nervous system of insects.
They were meant to be a less harmful substitute to older pesticides, and are now the most widely-used to treat flowering crops. However, in recent years, bees started dying off from "colony collapse disorder," a mysterious disease partly blamed on the use of such chemicals.
Studies have since shown that neonicotinoids harm bee reproduction and foraging, while exposure also lowers their resistance to disease.
The UN has warned that nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction.
Reposted with permission from DW.
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By Jodi Helmer
Bees are facing a pandemic of their own.
A collection of threats — habitat loss, pathogens, pesticides, pollution and poor nutrition — have led to widespread decline in bee health and pollinator populations.
The threats add up: The number of commercial honeybee colonies declined by more than quarter million between April and June 2020, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Native bees are at risk, too, with 1 in 4 native species in North America at risk of extinction.
"Things are not going so well for bees," says Arthur Grupe, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado. "There's been a lot of research looking into the causes, and usually, humans try and look for the magic bullet — what is the one thing causing this problem that we can stop? And the research has shown that it's actually a collection of things."
A single-cell fungal pathogen called Nosema is one of the latest threats.
Nosema reproduces in the gut, where it ruptures, spreads out and then infects the cells of the digestive tracts. It leads to lethargy, reduced foraging ability, poor sense of direction and, often, death.
Although Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae — two strains of the fungi — have been regularly recorded in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia, the pathogen is now more widespread than ever, according to recent research published in the journal PLOS Pathogens. Grupe was the lead author.
Grupe notes that N. apis, once the dominant strain affecting commercial bee colonies, was observed to be seasonal, which helped protect against total colony collapse. The increasing export of commercial beehives from Europe, however, has expanded the distribution of the problematic pathogen.
USDA photo by David Kosling
At the same time, reports of N. ceranae have increased dramatically — and it infects hives all year long.
"Historically, it was thought that Nosema ceranae wasn't so much of a problem because its spores can't survive freezing or near-freezing temperatures," he explains. "But as winters have become milder these spores are able to persist and then cause infection, and Nosema ceranae has overtaken Nosema apis as the predominant infect of European honeybees."
Once a bee is infected with Nosema, it can contaminate entire colonies — where social distancing is not an option — and spread that infection to the wild. Infected honeybees can leave spores on flowers, transmitting the pathogen to other susceptible pollinators, including native bees. This "community spread" has led Grupe and his co-author C. Alisha Quandt to declare it a "pandemic" in their paper.
Research published this July in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution illustrates the threat. Field studies in upstate New York found that one in 11 flowers carried disease-causing parasites, including Nosema ceranae, N. bombi, Crithidia bombi, C. expoeki and neogregarines that were linked to declines in bee populations. Social bees, including honeybees and bumblebees, were more likely to be infected with parasites than solitary bee species.
"Bees visit hundreds of flowers a day and act as a 'shared food source' between the other foraging bees in the area which will feed from the same flowers," explains study co-author Peter Graystock, now a research fellow at Imperial College in London. "If a bee has been in contact with parasites or is suffering from an infection, they may shed some contagious parasite cells on the flower when they visit it, and then when a subsequent bee visits the same flower, the bee may become infected with those parasite cells or spores."
An endangered rusty patched bumble. USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab
Air pollution might also contribute to bee declines.
To understand more about that air-quality risk, Barbara Smith, associate professor at the University of Coventry, is working with beekeepers in the United Kingdom to set up sensors in their hives to record the level of air pollution and incidents of disease to determine whether there is a correlation.
"We know that air pollution is bad for humans and mammals, and we're interested to see if the same is true for invertebrates," Smith explains. "We have reason to believe that it could have an impact, because we know that we can record air pollution particulates in honey."
Indeed, previous research found that pollutants lingered on the bodies of honeybees in areas with high levels of air pollution; exposure to diesel exhaust interfered with their foraging ability; and that air pollution may affect the heart and immune systems of wild honeybees.
Smith hopes her research, funded through the British Beekeepers Association, will provide more data about the impact of air pollution on bee health and population decline. Even if the results are conclusive, she knows it's just one of the issues that needs to be addressed to restore pollinator populations.
"I don't think that these declines in pollinators are down to one thing," she says. "It's about a suite of things that are happening. It's like a perfect storm."
Addressing the Threats
The fact that bees are facing multiple threats to their health and survival means that coming up with a single solution is impossible, especially when researchers are still trying to collect data.
Grupe notes that most of the research on Nosema infections has focused on European honeybees. The pathogen also affects native bees, but few researchers have done environmental surveys to capture wild bees from native ecosystems and screen them for Nosema.
"There's only a handful of studies that have documented Nosema infections in native bees and the problem that needs to be addressed in the future," he says. "More work needs to be done to understand Nosema infections in native bee species and the potential consequences to native ecosystems, and if native bees suffer a similar fate as honeybees when infected."
To complicate matters, the manufacturer that made a chemical control for Nosema, which the company called its "bread and butter," went out of business in 2018, leaving beekeepers without access to a treatment. Grupe cites a mix of high prices and a complex supply chain that led to the discontinuation of the product.
But the cost for bees could be higher.
"All of a sudden we have these pathogens that are globally distributed, that are negatively impacting agricultural crops and negatively impacting native plant communities, and we don't really have any way to treat it." This could further imperil native bees if the pathogens continue to spread from commercial hives.
In the absence of treatment, Graystock promotes prevention. Increasing floral abundance and diversity, he says, could offer some protection against parasite transmission. His research showed that the incidence of parasites was higher when floral numbers were low and decreased as the number of floral resources increased.
Diverse plant communities may be especially important in urban areas where higher human populations are linked with fewer species of wild bees, according to a 2020 study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.
Rick Brohn / USFWS
Planting strips of native pollinator plants on farmland could even improve crop yields. Another study published this summer found that five out of seven crops in major crop-producing areas had lower yields and production due to pollinator limitations. Attracting wild bees and honeybees, especially in intensive production areas, could help bolster food security, the research showed.
All of this backs up Graystock's points.
"It's important to appreciate the vast diversity of our pollinator communities, not just in terms of bee diversity but also floral diversity," he says. "Frequently in ecology we find the solutions for maintaining the health of our wildlife are simply to support and promote our native wild communities above others."
Reposted with permission from The Revelator.
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