In Alps, Natural Remedies, and Covid, Thrive. 義大利山區小鎮疫情慘 民眾深信自然療癒
For the family of organic farmers nestled on the side of a snow-blanketed mountain in Italy's northern province of Bolzano, the coronavirus was no match for the immunizing effects of the crisp alpine air, the invigoration of a good hike and the healing powers of the forest's mosses, herbs and vegetables.
"If someone coughs, we do onion compresses, a body cream of thyme and myrtle, and drink a lot of tea," said Sabine Durnwalder, 37, an unvaccinated resident of the farm in the scenic valleys near the border with highly infected Austria. "I know how to protect myself."
Bolzano has traditionally had the healthiest, fittest and most active population in Italy. Now, it is also the area with the highest rate of coronavirus infection. A traditional preference for natural remedies has extended to a widespread rejection of vaccines, making it Italy's least vaccinated region.
Though officials have raised concerns regarding conspiracy theories and disinformation about vaccines spread by right-wing populists, experts here say the nature-loving and science-doubting health enthusiasts are at the heart of a vaccine skepticism.
With about 70% of the province fully vaccinated, Bolzano has the highest number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in Italy, and the highest share of intensive care unit beds occupied by coronavirus patients. All of the patients in intensive care were unvaccinated, Franzoni said.
He said many patients arrive at the hospital with advanced cases of the virus, increasing the likelihood that they will succumb.
Doctors in the area have long complained that they are often late at diagnosing serious illnesses because the local population — which consumes the least amount of pharmaceutical medications in the country and has the lowest rate of tetanus, flu and hepatitis B vaccinations — often wait weeks before calling an ambulance.
Durnwalder, the vaccine skeptic at the organic farm, argued that her main contact with the outside world is with people who rent out apartments at the farm, she said. Then, she said, she wears a mask and keeps her distance.
As Catastrophes Loom, A Whiff of Innovation. 化災難為新創點子 把二氧化碳變成「空氣香水」
Carbon emissions — the villainous byproduct of so many industries — are the greenhouse gas most responsible for climate change. The emissions play a key role in our extreme weather patterns and in many of the general environmental catastrophes that are becoming more and more frequent.
While capping carbon dioxide from being freely dumped into the atmosphere is turning into a very long deliberation among our world leaders, capturing and repurposing it is another option. And that alternative has proved promising by Air Co., a 4-year-old startup that uses carbon dioxide in all of the products it creates. Its latest creation is a perfume — Air Eau de Parfum — and the first fragrance made largely from air.
Perfume involves an alcohol base, which when combined with a bit of water and a measured ratio of fragrance oil becomes the juice that you spray onto your pulse points so that you radiate whatever aroma you desire. Ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) is most widely used because it's inexpensive, smells neutral and evaporates quickly, so it serves as an efficient delivery vehicle for the fragrance oil.
"We believe that products are one of the best ways to educate people about a much bigger story‚ and that story is climate change," Gregory Constantine, a founder and the chief executive of the company, wrote via email. "When you're able to create tangible products, it's easier for people to understand the power of technology and what we can do with our carbon conversion technology."
That technology was developed by Stafford Sheehan, a founder and the chief technology officer of Air Co. After meeting in 2017, Sheehan and Constantine teamed up to repurpose the most abundant greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) into products that are not harmful to the planet.