Carbon monoxide detectors not required in public housing units

Carbon monoxide detectors not required in public housing units

BY THEA BURKE ’20

It has long been understood by the general public that carbon monoxide is severely detrimental, if not a direct threat, to human health. A high enough exposure to the gas can kill a person within several minutes. Although HUD requires buildings to follow state laws, about half of the states in the U.S. do not require detectors, leaving many homes unprotected from the noxious gas.

New research changes views on aging brain and Alzheimer’s disease

New research changes views on aging brain and Alzheimer’s disease

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

A team of scientists in Spain have conducted a study that suggests that the human brain can continue to produce new neurons into the ninth decade of life, far longer than previously believed. This finding has the potential to influence the field of neuroscience, though it is important not to overstate the implications of these findings as it is debated how this information can be put to practical use.

“Period. End of Sentence” wins Oscar, ignites change

“Period. End of Sentence” wins Oscar, ignites change

BY THEA BURKE ’20

“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.” This is the tagline for the short documentary, “Period. End of Sentence”, that won the Oscar for best short documentary at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 24. The documentary was born from the passion project of high school students at Oakwood School in the LA area of California.

The curious case of the gynandromorph

The curious case of the gynandromorph

BY FIONA HINDS ’21

A cardinal spotted in January by a resident of Erie, Pennsylvania was different than most. According to an article published by the New York Times titled “A Rare Bird Indeed: A Cardinal That’s Half Male, Half Female,” this bird, which displayed both male and female sex characteristics, is known as a bilateral gynandromorph. Its left side appears to be the tawny brown of a female, while its right side displays the vivid scarlet of a male cardinal.

Postpartum depression often goes untreated

Postpartum depression often goes untreated

BY IVY LI ’21

Today, the phrase “postpartum depression” is not considered unfamiliar psychological jargon. The concept of postpartum depression was first explained in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 1968, attributing depressive symptoms often experienced after birth to factors such as hormone level fluctuation and external stress. Postpartum depression is characterized by low mood, fatigue, poor concentration, loss of appetite and insomnia. It can be seen as a prolonged, severe version of “baby blues”: mild irritability, fatigue and anxiety that occurs after childbirth.

U.S. measles outbreak sparks another conversation on vaccinations

U.S. measles outbreak sparks another conversation on vaccinations

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

As of Feb. 7, there have been 101 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S. in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of measles include a fever, sore throat, runny nose and Koplik’s spots, which are small white spots on the inside of the cheek.

App under investigation by Apple for possible human rights violation

App under investigation by Apple for possible human rights violation

BY NADIA BABAR ’19

As of February 2019, an app allowing men to prohibit women under their guardianship from leaving the country of Saudi Arabia has been downloaded 4.2 million times. Absher is a smartphone app available to citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia, providing them access to a number of governmental services.

A look into the single-payer healthcare bill proposed for MA

A look into the single-payer healthcare bill proposed for MA

BY THEA BURKE ’20

In 1948, the World Health Organization declared healthcare a universal human right. 71 years later, healthcare is currently a polarizing issue within the U.S. government. Single-payer healthcare, otherwise known as Medicare for All, still has a ways to go before a final vote is passed in Massachusetts, let alone in the nation as a whole.

Effects of a government shut- down on the FDA and the EPA

BY THEA BURKE ’20

The U.S. government shutdown had many clear implications for various federal departments, employees and policies. Even though the shutdown may have posed a potentially insignificant risk to public health, it is important to understand which agencies do not function at full capacity when the government is closed.

The Mars Rover: An Obituary

The Mars Rover: An Obituary

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

NASA’s Opportunity rover, more commonly known as the “Mars Rover,” began its life on July 7, 2003. Scientists have not made contact with the intrepid explorer since June of 2018, when it was buried by a dust storm.

Noise pollution creates hazard for marine life

Noise pollution creates hazard for marine life

BY FIONA HINDS ’21

Marine life is highly influenced by sound. Foreign sounds in the ocean have led to stress, deafness, diminished feeding opportunities, loss of communication and death among sea life.

Never Fear: GRADUATION

BY TEAGAN WEBB ’19

As I prepare to graduate this December, I have been reflecting on which relationships have been most sustaining during my time here. Although I have experienced some excellent sex and some great romances, I have been most grateful for intentional queer platonic intimacy. I love being tangled up in bed with my friends, kissing cheeks and holding hands as we watch holiday rom-coms with no tension.

Nation fights back against intensifying opioid fatalities

Nation fights back against intensifying opioid fatalities

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

According to the Ohio Department of Health, Montgomery County, Ohio, had the highest rate of accidental opioid overdoses in the state, with 521 fatalities per 10,000 people in 2017. Within the Montgomery County, the city of Dayton was hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic. However, according to an article published last week in the New York Times, despite the overall increase in drug-related deaths, the county has managed to cut down its overdose rate by more than half in the past year, hopefully setting an example for the rest of the country to follow.

Gene tampering prompts investigation

Gene tampering prompts investigation

BY IVY LI ’21

He Jiankui is an associate professor of biology at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China. He has recently claimed to have successfully modified the genes of infant twins, the first in the world to do so. He announced on Monday, Nov. 26 that his team had successfully altered the genes of twin baby girls under the pseudonyms Nana and Lulu, who were born earlier this month in Guangdong Province, according to The Beijing News. The goal, He said in an interview, was to produce babies with the ability to resist HIV infection in the future by disabling CCR5, a gene that enables the virus to take hold.

The science of reducing anxiety with natural remedies

The science of reducing anxiety with natural remedies

BY FIONA HINDS ’21

Throughout history, lavender has played an important role in medicine and folklore. According to the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine’s website, Lavandula angustifolia, or English lavender, is the most common species grown and used medicinally. Its most common medicinal uses include remedying digestive issues, headaches, grief and stress.

The benefits of the Amazon rainforest

The benefits of the Amazon rainforest

BY CHEYENNE ELLIS ’21

After the recent election of Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, concerns over the future of the Amazon rainforest have emerged among environmentalists and indigenous communities. According to National Geographic, Bolsonaro has threatened to roll back protections of the Amazon rainforest, leaving it vulnerable to exploitation.

Get to know the Mount Holyoke environmental orgs

BY IVY LI ’21

Climate Justice Coalition

(Julia Klukoff ’21)

What is your mission as an organization?

Our main goal is to persuade the administration to divest from fossil fuels, and invest in more ethical and clean forms of energy. Climate justice [...] is social justice. It is linked to environmental justice, but in addition to that, it fights for marginalized communities that are negatively impacted by [...] climate change. A lot of people think that climate justice is just fighting for more sustainability, but it also encompasses communities that are impacted by the capitalistic industry, which is a big component in perpetuating climate violence. So for example, [at] Standing Rock, that is a human-made violence against [...] indigenous communities for the purposes of extracting profits from fossil fuels. Or another form of climate violence would be the U.S. ignoring the victims in Puerto Rico impacted by Hurricane Maria.

Why is Mount Holyoke, or a university in general, a good place to initiate climate justice movements?

Mount Holyoke divestment is not going to dismantle the entire fossil fuel industry, but college and universities are a good place to make collective statements, because environmental justice is not just an individual act. By making a statement, Mount Holyoke might inspire peer institutions to do the same.

What are the challenges in divestment?

Concerns about [...] financial aid was mainly what our op-ed we submitted last year was about. A lot of people were against the [alumnae non-donation] pledge because they thought that us trying to stop the flow of donation would affect their financial aid. And here’s the thing: Mount Holyoke wants students at the College, like they want you to be here. They would never say ‘Sorry you have to leave because we can’t financially support you anymore.’ If they saw that enough money was not coming into the endowment for the reasons they want them to divest, they would do that rather than lose students, because no matter how much financial aid you get, everybody paid a lot of money to be here. So, people who worry that this non-donation pledge would affect their financial aid, it’s not going to because there is an unimaginable amount of money in the endowment. People think that scholarship money comes out of the endowment, that’s true, but scholarship funds are often funded by specific donors who marked their donation—‘this is going to go to this particular scholarship for this kind of student’. There will never be a situation in which they would say we are [going to] lower your financial aid because alumnae donation has stopped. We are fighting for divestment because we love Mount Holyoke and we want to make it better.

What are your plans moving forward?

JK: Our goal this semester is to give out more information about CJC, because there are a lot of misconceptions spread around the campus about us. Our reaching goal is to persuade the trustees to have another vote. I don’t know if it’s going to happen in the spring, but we would like it to.

Eco-Reps

(Rebecca Parker ’21)

How did you come up with events like War of the Watts?

We are just trying to encourage people to make a game out of reducing [their] waste, to think of things that people like doing, like a craft night or a popcorn party, and to find incentive for people to be more environmentally conscious without even thinking about it [...], because nobody wants to go to a serious lecture on recycling.

Among all the educational programs EcoReps have held, what is your favorite one?

Craft night. I love doing crafts, [...] or repurposing something that would have been thrown in the garbage, and mak[ing] it into something new. That’s something I really enjoy.

How do events like this play into environmental sustainability?

We try to encourage people to have fun in ways that are still environmentally friendly[...] it’s still showing that there [is] something you can do [to] have very low environmental impact that is still enjoyable.

Students for Zero Waste

(Kalia Goldstein ’22)

Tell us more about Zero Waste.

Students for Zero Waste aims to influence the way people consume and dispose of goods, promoting a more cyclical approach to waste, where products are used and valued, and their materials eventually put back into useful circulation. We would like to help students incorporate sustainability into everyday life and work with the school to make it more accessible for them to do so by pushing for change in the institution’s practices of consumption and disposal. I’m excited about all the projects SZW has coming down the road. We have so many ideas, but how much we can accomplish depends on the enthusiasm and cooperation of the student body. There is plenty of work to do so that our school as a whole can make a significant impact on the future of our planet. In a college setting, small changes have large results.

What is the impact the opening of SuperBlanch has had on food waste?

It would be wonderful if Dining Services would perform a waste audit, but we don’t have information about how SuperBlanch food waste compares to the old dining halls. We do know that in 2014 the elimination of paper to-go cups from the dining halls saved 81,650 cups (and the 3.3 tons of paper and 23,201 gallons of water needed to make them), and about $5,000. Clearly that didn’t last. Why not? We know that we were told dining will be moving toward reusable smoothie cups, but they still serve smoothies, sandwiches and some desserts in plastic. We know that the school failed to follow through on plans for a reusable grab-and-go container system by fall of 2018, and that Grab ’n Go uses plastic clamshell containers, but has no recycling.

Why plastic instead of compostable wax-paper?

The justification is apparently aesthetic reasons, so that customers can see the food. Since conversations [about] power can be slow to produce results, it is especially important that students engage in our side of waste reduction. Take small helpings at meals and go back for more as many times as needed. This will help with the “eyes bigger than your stomach” problem. The goal of SZW’s Clean Plate Club is to encourage students to reduce waste in this way. Those with clean plates may enter in a raffle to win fun, useful prizes. The first Clean Plate Club meeting will be on Halloween, but start practicing at every meal!

We will also make composting more accessible to students by handing out compost bags for your room and collecting them when you’re ready for a fresh one. This will be on Fridays. Keep an eye on Newsflush for details!

UN releases landmark climate change report

UN releases landmark climate change report

BY VIVIAN LIVESAY ’21

Two weeks ago, the United Nations released a landmark report on the near future effects of climate change. According to an article published in the New York Times, the study predicts that, with its current trajectory, the planet will experience an overall temperature increase of 2.7 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2040, and possibly sooner. While many climate scientists previously assumed that the most devastating effects of climate change would not occur until the planet’s temperature reached 3.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels, this study suggests that these effects will occur with a 2.7 degree increase.