Friday Finds: California Says No To The Brazilian

Plastic parody, sewage-sucking trees, smog baby wipes

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Plastic looks not so fantastic in parody rap video
On the heels of LA’s new law banning single-use plastic bags, spiritual advocacy group Green Sangha recently released an anti-plastic bag rap video parodying Jay Z’s "Empire State of Mind," reports Grist. Here’s one tidbit that’s musically on message: "Skip the bag, the cup and the spork, dude, convenience can kill you…ban bags made of plastic." See the rest of the video below.


Trees step in to suck up nation’s sewage problem
Anyone who’s spent time in New York knows that the city, well, stinks. But it’s not just the overflowing garbage and mass of sweaty, hurried people. During heavy rainstorms, Manhattan’s decrepit sewage system often discharges untreated storm-water and sewage into local waterways, a problem that’s mirrored across the country, reports The Economist. But instead of building more pipes, NYC and other cities are planting trees and rooftop gardens to help suck up rainfall, green the city and raise property values, all under a lush canopy of leaves.

Window sprays and toilet bowl wipes to clean up smog
California recently adopted a regulation that requires about 2,000 household cleaning products, which contain smog-producing compounds known as VOCS, to be reformulated to help clean up the state’s smogginess, reports Environmental Health News. The new law’s effects are expected to reverberate across the nation, much like New York’s recently enforced healthy cleaners law, which requires household cleaning companies to come clean on the health effects of their chemical ingredients. With any luck, Mr. Clean may soon look more like Mr. Green.

"Crazy bad" haze descends on Beijing
The air quality in Beijing is so bad today that not only did schools have to stop outdoor gym class and the elderly were warned to stay inside, the U.S. Embassy called the pollution "crazy bad" after seeing the air quality index shoot above its highest point, the Associated Press reports. Beijing’s bad air, due in large part to the surge in factories, coal burning and cars, is causing youth football games to be canceled on a regular basis. That’s wack.

California sues makers of hair smoothing product
Curly-haired women trying to tame their fizz may want to avoid using Brazilian Blowout, a hair smoothing product that’s so pumped with formaldehyde that California recently filed a lawsuit against the product’s maker, according to an LA Times blog. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause stinging eyes, respiratory problems, and is linked to cancer. No word yet on whether California will be banning that other type of Brazilian, which can be equally as painful.

Jessica is a former award-winning journalist. She enjoys wild places and dispensing justice, so she considers her job here to be a pretty amazing fit.