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Posts Tagged ‘environment’

I recently spent 8 days in Costa Rica with a group of extension professionals from 10 other states learning about the culture and the history of the country. I have to say it was one of the most wonderful experiencosta-rica-country-side.jpgces of my life. You might think, OF COURSE, how could being in a tropical paradise not be wonderful?! Especially since Ohio and much of the Midwest has been experiencing unpredictable weather, to say the least. But, the weather aside, the whole journey was full of wonderful experiences.

This trip was not about sitting on the beach or in the mountains at some all-inclusive resort basking in the sun or the mountain air. It was about immersing ourselves in the culture of the country and getting outside of our comfort zone to learn about people, who at first glance may appear to be different from us and what we know. As we traveled around the country to the various locations (we stayed in 4 different accommodations), we were able to gain a better understanding of how the Ticos (native Costa Ricans) live and work.

Our group of 33 were divided into smaller subgroups for different activities throughout the week. We went on a variety of outings designed to increase our cultural awareness and to challenge us in our leadership philosophies and ideas. Our first task was to go to the Central Market in San Jose to check prices of various items and purchase them (we donated all the items to different organizations we later visited). We then had to compare the cost of these items as they relate to the average minimumgreen-house-e1524004828723.jpg wage in the United States versus in Costa Rica. While the cost of the items was somewhat comparable to prices in the U.S., when you look at the minimum wages, the discrepancy was very large. This required us to think about the proportion of the wages in Costa Rica that go toward necessities versus the proportion in the U.S.

The Central Market outing was just the first of many that would challenge us to achieve a common goal while trying to overcome the language barrier in this foreign country. As we traveled around Costa Rica and participated in different activities, the most overarching theme that our entire group observed was how patient and gracious all of the Ticos we encountered were with our groups. Few of us were able to speak and/or understand Spanish, so at times, there was a lot of patience required. Every group related that the Ticos were incredibly helpful, patient and gracious.

A large part of this leadership program involves reflecting on the experiences and lessons we have learned. As we reflected in our large group and in smaller groups, we all wondered what someone traveling to the United States would experience. How would any of us handle trying to communicate with someone who does not speak English or at least not well? Would we have the same patience and understanding that the Ticos had with us? I can honestly say that before this trip, the answer for me would be no. I would not have had the patience and understanding that was shown to me and the others. One of the things I have taken away from this experience is to have more patience. Patience with others, but also patience with myself.

While this trip was for business, when I travel for personal reasons, I try to make it a point to find local places to eat and shop. My Costa Rica experience has taught me that I can do more to enrich my travel experiences. I have not usually lodged in places that allow me to experience the local culture as much as some others might. I will make a more concerted effort to choose places that allow me to have a more immersive experience, since one of the main reasons I like to travel is to be expcosta-rica-food.jpgosed to local culture and to learn about the people and the area.

So, whether you are traveling across the state, across the country, or across the globe, challenge yourself to experience at least a little bit of the local culture. You may just learn some things about yourself by experiencing things that are unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable to you.

 

WRITTEN BY: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.417@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Amanda, Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

PHOTO CREDIT: Misty Harmon

SOURCES:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cs.html

http://www.tc.columbia.edu/articles/2015/january/the-benefits-of-cultural-immersion/

https://global.upenn.edu/pennabroad/about-penn-abroad/academic-and-cultural-immersion

https://www.ustravel.org/system/files/media_root/document/Research_Fact-Sheet_Travel-Jobs.pdf

 

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Just about everyone I’ve talked to lately says how tired they are of our cold weather and that they are ready for spring.  We all look forward to the days of sunshine, warm breezes and fresh air.

We need to remember, though, that the spring season also brings the possibilities of severe weather and take some time to plan ahead to keep ourselves and our families safe.  This is Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week – March 18-24, 2018 and a perfect time to remind ourselves how to keep safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds us that severe thunder storms and tornadoes are much more prevalent at this time of the year and it is important to have a safety plan in place.  Some of their suggestions include:

  • If you are inside your house or other building:
    • Identify shelter locations well before the storm hits.
    • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
    • Stay in the center of the room, and avoid corners because they attract debris.
    • Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.
  • If you are outside:
    • Try to seek shelter in a nearby building if you can.
    • Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
    • If there is a low lying area such as a ditch nearby, you can lie down in that area and cover your head with your arms.
  • If you are in your workplace
    • It is a good idea to have a plan that everyone in the building has practiced.
    • Know who is in the office so that everyone can be accounted for before and after the storm.
  • Have an emergency contact plan for your family or coworkers. Designate one number that everyone should call to connect.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has created documents that can help us all better prepare for these severe weather occurrences.  They provide definitions to explain the difference between watches and warnings and appropriate measures to take with each level of warning.

Take the time to make a plan for your family and co-workers as we enter this time of the year when severe weather can strike at a moment’s notice.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Natural Disasters and Severe Weather. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.HTML

Federal Emergency Management Agency. How to Prepare for a Tornado. (https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003506195-52740fd2983079a211d041f7aea6b85d/how_to_prepare_tornado_033014_508.PDF

The American Red Cross . Be Red Cross Ready.

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240190_Be_Red_Cross_Ready.pdf

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all-is-wellWhat comes to mind when you hear the terms well or wellness? For most people, these words bring thoughts of physical health. Some of you will think about mental health. Most people, when given time, realize that there is more to being well than just physical and mental health. Some may even be able to name several areas of wellness. Many people may not realize that there are actually eight dimensions of wellness, though.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the eight dimensions of wellness are:

  1. Emotional—Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships
  2. Environmental—Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being
  3. Financial—Satisfaction with current and future financial situations
  4. Intellectual—Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
  5. Occupational—Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work
  6. Physical—Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep
  7. Social—Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system
  8. Spiritual—Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life

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For about a month, I have been participating in a program offered through my employer/health insurance to help increase my emotional well-being. There are up to five areas that anyone who participates can choose to complete. Each area has suggestions for things you can do. For example, one challenge is to find. Some things listed include: going to the library to check out a book or DVD, attending a live event or stopping by a new coffee shop. It is fun trying to complete each challenge. It also helps remind me that even on those hectic days, I need to take some time to take care of myself.

There are small and simple things you can do to help become more well in each area. Here are some examples:

  • Emotional—unplug from phone, social media and your computer for 10 minutes each day, light your favorite candle and make time for friends and family
  • Environmental—keep your office and home clean and organized, find a favorite place or spot to visit and get involved in cleaning up your community or neighborhood
  • Financial—shop at thrift stores, limit unnecessary spending and develop a budget
  • Intellectual—read for pleasure, choose creative hobbies and participate in local/community events
  • Occupational—attend conferences to stay current in your profession and explore opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Physical—participate in regular exercise/physical activity that you enjoy, eat balanced, nutritious meals and snacks and get adequate sleep
  • Social—be genuine with others, join a club or organization and use good communication skills
  • Spiritual—volunteer, pray, meditate or find a quiet place for self-reflection

You may be wondering how well you really are. Take this assessment to get a better idea. After completing it, you can figure out which areas you need to work on and in which ones you are already strong. Click here for additional information and resources on how to strengthen your dimensions of wellness.

Author:  Misty Harmon, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County

References:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016). The Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Available at https://www.samhsa.gov/wellness-initiative/eight-dimensions-wellness

http://umatter.princeton.edu/sites/umatter/files/media/wellness-self-assessment.pdf

Roddick, M. (2016). The 8 Dimensions of Wellness:  Where Do You Fit In? Available at https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/8-dimensions-of-wellness-where-do-you-fit-in-0527164

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OSU Extension 4H clubs Highland Youth Garden Groveport ButtoneersDo you enjoy gardening? Growing your own healthy fruits and vegetables?  Looking at the beautiful flowers that you have grown? I’m sure many answered yes to these questions, but if I ask, “Do you enjoy weeding your garden?” I would probably receive a different answer!

June 13th is actually National Weed Your Garden Day!  Who would have imagined that there is a day dedicated to such an unpopular pastime!  However, the background for this day provides several good reasons that we should devote a day (or more!) to weeding our gardens.

First, weeding can lead to healthier crops.  The weeds compete with your desirable plants for water, sunlight and nutrients. This is especially important when the plants are young. If you can have your soil weed free before planting you are off to a good start.

One of the best tips for having a weed free garden is to stay in control.  Weeding for 5 – 10 minutes each day can help you keep ahead of the fast growing weeds. Be careful not to let any weeds produce seed. You can mulch between the plants to help prevent weeds from sprouting.

Weeding can also help lead to a healthier you.  Did you know that you can burn calories and work some of your muscles simply by weeding your garden? If you’d like to improve your shoulders, arms, thighs, and butt muscles, gardening could be for you!

Here is a simple calculator to help you determine how many calories you can burn while weeding. As an example, an average slice of cheese pizza contains 272 calories.  If you weigh about 150 lbs. and weed in the garden for about 45 minutes, you could balance out that slice of pizza!  You can also increase the intensity of your weeding session to have a cardiovascular workout.

So if you want healthier fresh fruits and vegetables from your own garden and the bonus of a more fit body, take the time to regularly weed your garden.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Candace J. Heer, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Morrow County, heer.7@osu.edu

 

Sources:

https://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-weed-your-garden-day-june-13/

https://www.fitwatch.com/caloriesburned/calculate?descr=weeding%252520garden&mets=4.5

https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/1993/11-10-1993/exer.html

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Plant a TreeDo you remember planting a tree for Arbor Day?  Do you know the meaning of Arbor Day?  This day was set aside for tree planting back in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton. He was a pioneer who traveled from Detroit, Michigan to Nebraska. The pioneers missed their trees and decided to set aside a day for tree planting.  The trees were important for fuel, to keep soil in place, for wind breaks, for building supplies and to offer shade from the hot sun. Want to learn more & see pictures of this historical day? Check out this brief online book.  Arbor Day History

As a young child I remember watching our principal plant a tree in the school yard in honor of Arbor Day.  Every year a new tree was planted and a little ceremony held discussing the importance of trees. Check out this interactive map and find out when your state celebrates Arbor Day.

Did you know that Earth Day started in 1970 to raise awareness of environmental issues such as clean air, climate change and clean water? In four years, we will celebrate the 50th Earth Day. Both of these special days encourage us to increase our awareness of our environment and to honor and nurture a wonderful natural resource, trees.

What can you do to honor our Earth?

  • Plant a tree
  • Plant a garden
  • Plant herbs
  • Teach a child about Earth Day
  • Take a hike in nature
  • Take a few moments to enjoy the beauty of spring
  • Pick up trash along the roadways
  • Plan an excursion to a National or State park
  • Read a story about planting trees
  • Schedule a tree planting in your neighborhood
  • Organize a tree identification hike
  • Teach a child about Arbor Day
  • Volunteer with a local tree planting organization
  • Find out the state tree for your state. Hint: Ohio’s state tree is the Buckeye.

Arbor Day

Did you know that college campuses can meet standards to become a Tree Campus? I was happy to see that Ohio State University met the standards to be a Tree Campus.

Does your favorite university honor Arbor Day? 

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Carol Chandler, Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension, chandler.4@osu.edu

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French fries are my vice. No matter how many are served, I will finish them regardless of whether I am full. Afterwards I feel defeated and ashamed. I start out with the best intentions, but then feel powerless. Can it be possible to win against this and other “uncontrollable” behaviors?

YES!

Dr. Kessler, author of The End of Overeating, calls foods high in sugar, fat, and salt rewarding foods. They stimulate the reward center of the brain, the same area associated with drugs and gambling. Just like drugs and gambling, these foods can become an obsession (albeit to a lesser extent). This reward system was beneficial because historically people ate food to sustain life and provide fuel for their bodies. But today people eat because they are “told” to eat by outside influence; these influences are known as cues or action triggers. These action triggers may tell you that you are hungry even though you have just finished eating.

Many of the reasons for overeating extend beyond simply not having the will power to choose the “right foods.” It is not a matter of you failing; it is understanding behaviors and how to change them. With some time and effort, you can eliminate the behaviors you do not want and encourage those you do. To change behaviors:

†  Make affirmations

†  Identify your cues

†  Change your environment

†  Stay positive

An affirmation is a positive declaration stating your intention to change. This prepares you to make a change in your life by consciously writing it down and making it concrete. It should be placed somewhere it can be read daily to remind yourself of your desire to change.

The next step is to identify your cues. These are specific to you and take some effort to manage. Action triggers take many forms and can be very discrete. Once you identify what is cueing your eating behavior, you can change your environment by removing/avoiding these cues.

Typically your environment determines your actions. For example, if you go out to lunch with overeaters it is far more likely you will overeat. Once you determine your temptations, find a more positive environment for change. Surrounding yourself with positive, healthy, fit people and environments will increase your chances of success and provide support when you need it!

Finally, you want to associate positive emotions with the desired behavior. Entering the environment with a positive attitude and confidence will make it more likely you will perform and maintain the behavior. If you correlate encouraging feelings with a behavior or environment, these feelings will stimulate the reward center in your brain, making the new behavior rewarding and keep you coming back!

Prepared by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, FCS,  OSU Extension Wood County, Erie Basin EERA and Ryan Leone,  OSU Extension, Wood County.

Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D.Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed,OSU Extension, West Region

References:

Kessler D. The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. New York, NY: Rodale Books; 2009.

 

Wansink, B. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. New York, NY: Bantam Books; 2006.

Eyles BJ. Fitness Behavior [podcast on the internet]. Christchurch, New Zealand; 2010 [updated 2013 Sept 17; cited 2013 Oct 11]. Available from: http://bevanjameseyles.com/fitness-behavior.

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