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Health

Meet the world’s first biodegradable plant-based face mask


The G95 Oceanshield was designed to protect you and the environment.

Meet the world’s first biodegradable plant-based face mask
Image via Oceanshield

The G95 Oceanshield was designed to protect you and the environment.

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly given us plenty to worry about, from life threatening illness and social isolation, to economic turmoil and disrupted work and school routines. Now scientists are saying we also have to worry about the environmental impact of the pandemic, because it turns out that toxins from single-use masks are poisoning the world’s water. Luckily, a company called G95 has just released an N95-type mask called the Oceanshield that is completely biodegradable. And it could be a total gamechanger.



According to the latest estimates, global consumption of single-use plastics has risen 300% now that the world is going through about 129 billion face masks per month.

How much is 129 billion masks per month? It’s 3 million masks per minute, or 14.4 million pounds of medical waste per day. And because we’re producing all this waste, scientists are finding unprecedented levels of microplastics and nanoplastics in the world’s waterways.

Microplastics are particles of plastic less than 5 millimeters long that are created by the degradation of plastic waste. These particles are extremely harmful for the environment, especially in aquatic ecosystems, but they don’t necessarily post a direct threat to human beings. But nanoplastics are another story. These particles are less than a millimeter long, and some are actually small enough to pass through cell walls and damage DNA. Some scientists even describe them as “tiny carcinogenic bombs” that threaten all forms of life on a cellular level.Environmental Impact Of Covid-19

Image via Unsplash

Scientists in Canada and the UK have been studying what happens to maks when they’re thrown out, and their findings are not good. When a single mask is exposed to water and UV light, it can produce as many as 1.5 million particles.

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The G95 Oceanshield can protect you AND the environment.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Covid-19 is going away any time soon. However, thanks to the G95 Oceanshield mask, there is something you can do about the environmental impact of the pandemic.

The Oceanshield mask is the world’s first single-use face mask made entirely from plant-based materials. And when we say entirely, we mean everything from the ear loops, to the nose bridge, to the cutting edge G95 filtration technology. Development of the Oceanshield’s cutting edge filtration material actually began before the pandemic. However, when Covid struck, G95 kicked development into overdrive to get this life-changing product on the market.

Because the Oceanshield is made from plant-based materials, it will biodegrade in about 90 days. However, that doesn’t mean you have to throw them in the trash. When you purchase Oceanshield masks you are automatically enrolled in G95’s return system, which lets you send used masks back to G95 so they can be recycled. And this program isn’t just free. They’ll actually pay you! For every used Oceanshield you send back, you’ll get $1 store credit. For any other used mask you send back, you’ll get a $.25 store credit. Those are savings that can add up pretty fast.

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Protection you can trust.Of course, Oceanshields aren’t just great for the environment. They will also keep you safe from Covid. These FFP2-rated masks have 99% PFE, BFE, and VFE filtration and are KN95 certified. Short of getting fit-tested for an actual N95 mask, this is as good as it gets.

If the thought of throwing one more medical mask in the garbage makes you sick, but you still want more protection than a cloth mask, the Oceanshield is the perfect solution. Order yours today and do your part to stop the spread of Covid-19 and toxic plastic waste.


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Sustainably good news: Recycling is getting better and this family is showing us how

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There is no shortage of dire news about the state of modern recycling. Most recently, this NPR article shared the jaw-dropping statistic that about 5% of all plastics produced get recycled, meaning the rest of it ends up in landfills. While the underlying concerns here are sound, I worry that the public narrative around recycling has gotten so pessimistic that it will make people give up on it entirely instead of seeing the opportunities to improve it. What if instead of focusing on what isn’t working, we looked at these news stories as an invitation to do better?

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Taya Hartless, 28, and Alysia Rogers, 34, along with their husbands Sean, 46, and Tyler, 35, are in a polyamorous relationship and have no problem sharing their lifestyle with the public on social media. Even though they risk stigmatization for being open about their non-traditional relationships, they are sharing it with the world to make it a safer place for “poly” folks like themselves.

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Woman without an internal monologue explains what it's like inside her head

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The notion of living without an internal monologue is a fairly new one. Until psychologist Russell Hurlburt’s studies started coming out in the late 90s, it was widely accepted that everyone had a little voice narrating in their head. Now Hurlburt, who has been studying people's "inner experience" for 40 years, estimates that only 30-50% of the population frequently think this way.

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In a video interview originally posted in 2020, a woman named Kirsten Carlson gave some insight into this question, sharing how not having an inner dialogue affected her reading and writing, her interactions with others and how she navigates mental challenges like anxiety and depression. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing.
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Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.