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Humanitarian Plea: Environmental Destruction Tapped as War Crime

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Twenty-four scientists from around the world published a letter entitled, “Stop Military Conflicts From Trashing Environment,” in the journal Nature, urging the United Nations International Law Commission to create protections for the environment in armed conflicts. It reads, “We call on governments to incorporate explicit safeguards for biodiversity, and to use the commission’s recommendations to finally deliver a Fifth Geneva Convention to uphold environmental protection during such confrontations.” The four existing Geneva Conventions and their three additional protocols are globally recognized treaties that establish standards under international humanitarian law for the treatment of wounded military personnel, shipwrecked sailors, prisoners of war and civilians during armed conflicts. Violating the treaties amounts to a war crime.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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