Europe Turned an Energy Crisis into a Green Energy SprintThe New York Times, Feb. 15, 2023
The energy crisis unleashed by Russia’s war did create big problems, but the worst did not materialize. Instead, the EU succeeded not only in averting a major crisis, but also in “turbocharging the green transition,” to an extent that has knocked a full decade off its decarbonization timeline. In 2022, for the first time, wind and solar generated more electricity in Europe than did gas and coal. The crucial take-away: energy transitions can move extremely fast when there is genuine political commitment and social buy-in.

What the Longest Study on Human Happiness Found Is the Key to A Good Life The Atlantic, Jan. 20, 2023 
Since 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has been investigating what makes people flourish, concluding that the strongest correlation exists between our relationships and our wellbeing. In short: good relationships are the #1 predictor of both health and happiness. But how do we nurture our relationships? Are we spending enough time with the people we most care about? Like physical fitness, social fitness takes work, but enriching meaningful relationships can in turn nourish our minds and bodies. Investing in our social fitness is possible each day, each week of our lives. Even small investments today in our relationships with others can create long-term ripples of wellbeing

The Power of Social Touch: Studies Show It’s Essential to Our Mental Wellness, Reduces Stress and PainThe Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2023   
Physical isolation during the pandemic led many to develop “skin hunger” and resulted in an uptick in mental health problems. This article reviews the key studies that show how a loving caress really can ease anxiety. Social touch is so important for our wellbeing that we have specific cells in our skin to detect it, known as C-tactile fibers that are specifically sensitive to social touch from other people. Researchers discuss how we can use the skin to help treat trauma or depression, because “by activating these neurons in the skin, you…have a highway to the brain. It’s kind of a gold mine.” To feel better, healthier and more connected, skin deep is a good place to start. 

New CDC Data Shows Alarming Mental Health Crisis in Teens, Especially Girls Inside the billion-dollar meeting for the mega-rich who want to live foreverCDC, Feb. 13, 2023   
According to a new CDC report, teen girls in the US are not all right: 57% felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, double the rate of boys (and a 60% increase in the last decade); 30% seriously considered suicide (up 60%); and roughly 1 in 5 experienced sexual violence in the last year. More than half of LGBQ+ teens recently suffered poor mental health and 22% attempted suicide in the last year. The organization said this sounds a loud alarm about a new urgency to invest in diverse wellbeing and support programs in schools. 

A Striking Stat

Almost half of EU residents (45%) never exercise or play sports. Portugal is the worst at 75% never exercising, Finland the best at 8%. Increasing physical activity (150 minutes/week) would save the EU $7.7 billion in healthcare expenditures and prevent 1,000 premature deaths a year.    

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