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Natural Awakenings SW PA, Greater Pittsburgh

Gas Utilities Knock Electric Appliances

Apr 30, 2021 09:30AM ● By Rachael Oppy
Countertop gas stove appliance

callum hill/AdobeStock.com

As cities phase out the installation of gas lines in new buildings to cut down on methane emissions, gas utilities have been staging adversarial campaigns nationwide. In Santa Barbara, California, residents received warnings that a gas ban would dramatically increase their bills. The Pacific Northwest group Partnership for Energy Progress, funded in part by Washington state’s largest natural gas utility, Puget Sound Energy, has spent at least $1 million opposing heating electrification in Bellingham and Seattle, including $91,000 on bus ads with the slogan, “Reliable. Affordable. Natural Gas. Here for You.” In Oklahoma, Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee, the industry has worked aggressively with state legislatures to pass laws to prevent cities from passing cleaner building codes.

The American Gas Association even has a website dedicated to promoting cooking with gas. Surveys have found that most people are open to switching water heaters and furnaces from gas to electric versions, so gas company advertising has made gas stoves a symbol of wealth, good taste and status for consumers, builders and realtors. Gas connections in American houses are at an all-time high, but as Americans realize that natural gas is a powerful contributor to climate change and source of air pollution, at least 42 cities have strengthened building codes to discourage expanding gas hookups in new construction.

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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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