Why Don’t We Hang Out Anymore? (Adults need to relax and do nothing together, just like kids do) –The New York Times 
For kids, hanging out with friends feels natural. But adults are used to doing scheduled activities with one another—and often, we don’t think something is beneficial unless it’s productive. We don’t realize that sitting around and resting with someone is still a productive state, and unstructured time may improve our relationships and wellbeing.  

Greening Democracy: The Transformative Power of Nature on Children and SocietyMIT Press Reader
This is packed with scientific references showing why and how the topics of nature, children, and social capital relate to each other. It starts with the “biophilia hypothesis”, the idea that human attraction to nature is genetically hardwired within us. Indeed. Nature represents beauty, refuge, and healing; and immersion in it is not only good for us as individuals, but also nurtures empathy and builds social capital. This is why providing equitable access to nature builds a healthier polity. The author argues that reconnecting children and nature is a cause that transcends political, religious, racial, and professional barriers.

Chartbook Carbon Notes 10: In China, Clean Energy Is Now THE Driver of Overall Economic Growth, Representing 40% of GDPChartbook 
For those doubting that green investment can be a source of GDP growth, look no further than China, where clean energy has become the principal source of growth (last year, clean energy accounted for 40% of overall GDP, a larger share than any other sector). And look at its scale: over the last two years, China’s green energy push dwarfed the “big” green energy programs in the West (NextGenEU, IRA etc.). Chinese manufacturers are expanding production of solar, wind, batteries, and EV at breakneck speed, with competition driving prices and costs down at a rate never previously imagined. “Barring some unforeseen technological upset, China is set to be the leader in the first decades of the global clean energy transition.” 

“Gut Health” Has a Fatal FlawThe Atlantic 
This article interrogates the current obsession with digestion. Social-media testimonials claim that improving your “gut health” not only helps with stomach issues, but also leads to benefits beyond the gastrointestinal system, improving issues like acne, weight gain or anxiety. You can now find a staggering range of products claiming to support digestive health: “probiotic” or “prebiotic” teas, cookies, gummies, supplements, powders, and even sodas. The reality is, at least at this stage, less straightforward. Maintaining gastrointestinal tract health is always a good idea, but expecting certain products to completely overhaul gut health is unrealistic, as is believing that they will guarantee holistic wellbeing. Those claims are “a little bit premature,” say researchers.  


A Striking Stat:  
Annual per capita spending on wellness ($706) is globally now on par with consumer out-of-pocket spending on healthcare ($711). Wellness spending surpasses healthcare spending across all regions except North America—and far exceeds spending on clothing/shoes ($289) and hotels/restaurants ($475) worldwide.  

Source: Global Wellness Institute “Country Rankings” report, 2024 

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