Heroes

Being aware of things like a tiny green frog on the label of your chocolate makes a big difference.

There's a lot going on behind that little green frog you might have seen.

Being aware of things like a tiny green frog on the label of your chocolate makes a big difference.

Let's meet Adrien, a cocoa farmer who is a member of a Rainforest Alliance Certified cooperative in Ivory Coast, Africa.

He's a true pioneer of sustainability who farms in a way that protects the land for generations to come.

And he's pretty delightful.


Did you know paying attention to a little frog logo could help farmers like Adrien?

On some things you might buy at the market, there is this little frog logo.

Just what is behind that?

It means the product uses ingredients sourced from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm.

What does that mean, exactly?

It means the farm uses methods that are good for the forest, soil, streams, and rivers — as well as for farmers, their families, and their communities. I spoke with the Rainforest Alliance to get more details.

"Rainforest Alliance certification ensures that farmers have access to housing, medical care, personal safety equipment and clean, potable water. It also promotes decent wages, educational opportunities for their children, and technical assistance to keep farmers on the cutting edge of sustainable farming practices."
— Tensie Whelan, Rainforest Alliance

It helps farmers like Adrien (above and the video below) grow sustainably and successfully. GIF via Rainforest Alliance.

The non-governmental organization started in the 1980s, and now 13.6% of all the world's cocoa is Rainforest Alliance certified as well as just over 5% of the world's coffee and several other products grown in critically important ecosystems, such as tea and bananas.

I looked, and chocolate and coffee that are Rainforest Alliance Certified are a bit more expensive. Why spend a few extra dimes on that chocolate versus the commercial brands?

Again, Tensie has the answer:

"When consumers choose to spend their money on certified products, it directly benefits the farmers who produced the crops. They enjoy better working conditions and a higher standard of life. Money is also reinvested in communities and schools, planting positive seeds of sustainability training and education for generations to come."

(Also, I checked, and much — if not all — is organic. That's worth a bit extra for me.)

In addition to that, though, some major companies use certified cocoa in their products, including some of the premium chocolates offered by Dove and Hershey's in the United States and Côte d'Or, Marabou, and Suchard internationally.

One last thing, though. You're wondering (at least, I hope you are!) which chocolate or coffee and such you can buy when you want to get Rainforest Alliance Certified?

Some links for you: chocolate and coffee. You're welcome!

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Jimivr / Flickr and Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Actress Billie Lourd paid tribute to her late mother Carrie Fisher on Tuesday by sharing a photo of her son Kingston watching Fisher as Princess Leia in 1977's "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Kingston was born last September to Lourd and her fiancé, actor Austen Rydell. The infant is pictured wearing a knitted hat with buns on its side and a Leia-themed onesie.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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