New Survey Finds Inflation, Housing Costs And Eviction Threats Hitting Minorities Hardest

Minority communities have been the hardest hit financially by the current spike in consumer prices and housing costs, with high percentages of Black, Latino and Native American families reporting serious financial problems and even threats of eviction, according to a survey published Monday by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

With the annual increase in consumer prices hitting a 40-year high of 9.1% in June, Americans, by a wide margin, cite inflation as the number one problem facing the U.S. But the actual impact on individual households is more dispersed. For example, in the new survey, 58% of Black adults, 56% of Latinos and 69% of Native Americans say inflation has caused them serious financial problems, compared to 44% of white and 36% of Asian adults.

Soaring rents are similarly hitting certain minority households the hardest. In the new survey, 16% of Black renters, 10% of Latino renters and 21% of Native American renters reported they had been evicted or threatened with eviction in the past year. That compares to 9% of white and 4% of Asian families. “This is just a warning from this survey, that unless the government can provide some help for vulnerable populations, a year from now they are going to have more people who are homeless,” said Robert J. Blendon, co-director of the survey and an emeritus professor of Health Policy and political analysis at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Programs of emergency rental aid helped around 5 million American families during the early months of the pandemic, with 1.5 million fewer evictions compared to pre-pandemic levels. After 22 million Americans lost their jobs during the start of the pandemic, Congress provided $25 billion in emergency rental assistance in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CAR AR +3%ES Act) passed in March 2020. A year later, in the American Rescue Plan, it added another $21.55 billion of rental assistance.

The CARES Act also included a temporary federal eviction moratorium that expired in the summer of 2020. It was later extended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and then by Congress, and then again by the CDC. Finally, on August 3, 2021, after a surge in Covid-19 cases due to the Delta variant, the CDC extended the moratorium yet again. Later that month, the Supreme Court ruled against it.

Meanwhile, the emergency rental funds Congress appropriated have either been used up or are being returned to the federal government unspent. For example, last Thursday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced his state would halt the federally-funded Rental Assistance for Mississippians Program by Aug. 15, meaning as much as $130 million for the program would be returned to the federal government.

California, having used up its federal money, ended its Covid-19 rental assistance program on March 31, 2022. It sent more than $4 billion to 344,000 households –but around 5,400 tenants and landlords have received emails asking to return money received in Covid-19 rent relief.

The housing component of the CPI increased 5.6% in the 12 months ended in June, but that includes costs to both homeowners and renters. In many places renters have seen far greater increases. According to housing data collected by Redfin RDFN +14.3%, average asking rents in June were up 14% compared to June 2021. In some sunbelt cities like Miami, rent has increased nearly 40%.

The recent spike in rent prices leaves low-income and minority groups in particularly precarious situations. A May report by the Federal Reserve Board showed that as of last fall, about half of renters with income between $25,000 and $49,999 were already “cost burdened”—meaning they were spending more than 30% of their income on rent. In the Fed survey, 44% of Black households and 37% of Hispanic households reported they were renters, compared with just 21% of white households.

“Unless some sort of emergency help is provided, a substantial number of minority populations are going to be evicted over the next year,” Blendon warns.

MORE FROM FORBESMortgage Applications Rise In Potential Housing Market Respite-Could Home Buying Become More Affordable Soon?

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I’m a summer intern reporting for Forbes Money and Markets. I graduated from Boston University with a degree in Journalism

Source: New Survey Finds Inflation, Housing Costs And Eviction Threats Hitting Minorities Hardest

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Aspirin For Plants Could Help Crops Survive Climate Change

“At non-lethal levels, ROS are like an emergency call to action, enabling the production of protective hormones such as salicylic acid,” explains study author Jin-Zheng Wang, from the University of California, Riverside. “ROS are a double-edged sword.”

Through experiments on a model plant called Arabidopsis, the scientists found that heat, relentless sunshine and drought conditions caused the plant cells to produce an alarm molecule called MEcPP. As this molecule builds up, it triggers the production of salicylic acid, which goes on to play an important role in protecting chloroplasts, the organelles where photosynthesis takes place.

“It’s like plants use a painkiller for aches and pains, just like we do,” said study author Wilhelmina van de Ven.

The hope is that this knowledge around how salicylic acid forms can be applied to help plants survive climate change. This could make for more durable crops that can withstand higher temperatures, but the benefits may extend to many other aspects of the environment.

“Because salicylic acid helps plants withstand stresses becoming more prevalent with climate change, being able to increase plants’ ability to produce it represents a step forward in challenging the impacts of climate change on everyday life,” said Katayoon Dehesh, senior paper author. “Those impacts go beyond our food. Plants clean our air by sequestering carbon dioxide, offer us shade, and provide habitat for numerous animals. The benefits of boosting their survival are exponential.”

Step 1

Dissolve 3 aspirin in 4 gallons of water. Allow it to sit for a few minutes so it can totally dissolve and not just be suspended in the water. Add the liquid dish soap and stir gently.

Step 2

Pour the prepared mixture into a garden sprayer. If you notice that the aspirin has not totally dissolved, wait a few minutes, or you will end up clogging the sprayer head.

Step 3

Spray any or all of your plants about once a month with this mixture, coating the stems and leaves. It helps if you wait until late morning when the dew has evaporated off the plants

Step 4

Water the roots with this mixture at the same time by generously watering the soil around the base of the plants. Repeat it every month, the same as the spray application.

The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

Nick Lavars

Source: University of California, Riverside

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Source: “Aspirin” for plants could help crops survive climate change

Are You In a Loving Relationship or Are You Just Poor?

At this point, it’s not novel to point out that we’re socialized from childhood to prize monogamous relationships above all else. It’s an idea deeply embedded in our culture, from books to films to music. But we seldom pause to consider the real extent to which this is baked into the very fabric of our society.

It’s not just a cultural thing: it’s why one-bed flats are usually designed to accommodate two, with rent prices intended to be divided in half. It’s why seats on buses and trains come in pairs. It’s why packs of food so often ‘serve two’. It’s why gyms and Spotify offer discounted memberships for couples.

There are numerous material benefits to monogamy, such as the Married Couple’s Allowance, the option to take out a joint mortgage on a house, or the fact landlords are more likely to choose couples as tenants. As author and psychotherapist Sasha Roseneil writes in the Guardian, compulsory monogamy “operates through laws and policies that assume and privilege coupledom, with myriad economic impacts in terms of access to welfare benefits, pensions, inheritance and housing.”

Aaron, 21, has experienced this firsthand. “I used to live with my girlfriend, but we split up and she moved out which has made paying bills really stressful and hard for me,” he says, noting “food and subscriptions like Netflix and Spotify” as particularly costly expenses. “The cost of living crisis has made this even more difficult – especially with food shopping.”

Essentially, society isn’t built for single people, and as a result it’s expensive to be single. Research backs this up: according to Ocean Finance, the UK’s singles spend on average £630 more per month than their coupled counterparts. On top of this, a 2019 report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that people living alone are more likely to be renting and feel less financially secure than childless couples.

The cost of being single has now been compounded by rising inflation and the ongoing cost of living crisis. Of course, the current crisis is impacting everyone – regardless of whether they’re in a relationship or not – and it’s unquestionably hitting the poor the hardest. But as an estimated 35 per cent of the UK’s population are single, this is an issue which affects millions of people.

24-year-old Sophie is in a similar situation to Aaron. She lists “rent, food, and bills” as the main costs she struggles to cover. “If you’re single you get a council tax discount, but it’s really not a lot at all. My council tax is still over £100 a month,” she says. “But the one thing that’s impacted me the most is my rent went up by quite a lot in April. It went up by over £100.”

She adds that she has to fork out nearly £400 a month to pay her building’s service charge. “Whether it’s one person in a flat or four people, you still have to pay the same service charge for building maintenance and stuff like that,” she says. “And I’m just one person.” According to Ocean Finance, housing is the most expensive outgoing for single people, with a single person paying an average of £674 a month on rent while a person in a couple pays £433.

“I have a full-time job and spend most of my free time doing freelance work just to make up the money,” Sophie adds.

The current cost of living crisis is even forcing some people to stay in relationships they’re unhappy in. “I’ve been with my partner for around two years and lived with him for just over a year. It’s been fairly up and down, as we realised around a year ago that it’s more platonic. We’re not really any more than friends, and that’s mutual,” Holly*, 26, tells me.

At present, Holly is living in a two-bed flat with her partner and a mutual friend of theirs. “I recently moved to a new job that has halved my previous salary, and it means that if he leaves the room I share with him then I can no longer afford the room,” she says. “The extra costs would be terrible. Bristol is incredibly expensive and my salary isn’t up to scratch. Splitting up would mean splitting everything in half would no longer be an option.”

“The couple norm continues to exert a strong and far from benign influence on people’s lives” – Sasha Roseneil

In her Guardian article, Roseneil stresses that “the couple norm continues to exert a strong and far from benign influence on people’s lives.” This much is clear from Aaron, Sophie, and Holly’s testimonies: evidently, despite the progress made by feminist and LGBTQ+ movements in recent years, we’re still penalised by society for living outside the couple norm.

Still – it’s worth noting that despite the financial benefits of being in a couple, Holly admits that it’s not worth the emotional strain when your relationship is on its last legs. “I’ve realised this isn’t healthy for either of us. It’s quite clear it’s getting to the end of the relationship,” she says. “I spoke to him about it last night, so the process of moving out is likely just around the corner.”

However, this doesn’t negate the fact that being single is still a financial burden. Although Holly is keen to move on from her relationship, she’s still not sure how she’s going to afford to pay her rent. Obviously, monogamous couples are not a social ill in and of themselves. But the ways in which compulsory monogamy is perpetuated in society evidently are a problem, and a problem which is being exacerbated by the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Unfortunately, regulating rents or increasing taxes are actions beyond the power of most individuals – but that doesn’t mean we can’t challenge compulsory monogamy in our everyday lives. There’s so much to be gained by shelving the concept of ‘soulmates’ and nurturing other types of connection in our lives – whether you’re in a relationship or not. Ultimately, it’s only by chipping away at the status quo can we hope for a future where we’re all financially stable and independent.

By: Serena Smith

Source: Are you in a loving relationship or are you just poor? | Dazed

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Transforming Blue Food Systems is a Win-Win For People and Planet

Can blue foods help protect the planet and meet the looming crisis of how to feed a fast-growing population? The United Nations, which has made foods from the water one of the key pillars at its special summit on Food Systems this week, thinks it can. But with a third of our oceans overfished, we must act now to harness its potential for future generations.

With the global population set to reach 10 billion by 2050 and hundreds of millions of people already undernourished, food from our oceans offers huge potential to alleviate hunger. This potential can only be unlocked, however, if governments work together to create sustainable and well-managed food systems.

The Blue Food Assessment (BFA) published last week provides one of the most comprehensive overviews to date of how blue foods can play a vital role in addressing the combined challenges of climate change, sustainable development and malnutrition.

One of its key papers found that fish, shellfish and algae have more nutritional benefits and sustainability gains than terrestrial animal-source foods. For example, compared to chicken, oysters and mussels have 76 times more vitamins B-12 and five times more iron. Blue foods also provide opportunities to reduce the environmental footprint of animal protein compared with land-based production.

However, as our ocean is already under immense pressure, and with the growth in demand for blue foods set to roughly double by 2050, sustainable management of ocean resources is crucial if the benefits of these aquatic food sources are to be reaped.

The urgency of this issue is spelled out in another of the scientific papers published as part of the BFA. The study, by some of the world’s leading food systems researchers, doesn’t pull its punches. Without the help of better policy and governance, it argues, shocks to small-scale fisheries and aquaculture could threaten the food and nutrition security of millions worldwide. Those in regions currently most vulnerable to food insecurity and the impact of climate change face the highest risks.

But this problem isn’t an unsolvable equation. We already know what works. We know, for instance, that tackling overfishing is a win-win for the planet and people. Fish stocks can recover and replenish if they are managed carefully, providing more people with the nutrients they need to live healthily. In fact, it is estimated that 16 million tonnes more in catch could be generated every year if all wild-capture fisheries used sustainable practices. The MSC’s own analysis, where I serve as chief executive, suggests that this would meet the protein needs of 72 million more people around the world every year.

Patagonian toothfishIcelandic cod and Cantabrian anchovy have all seen stocks rebound in recent years and just this month the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that four commercial tuna species were recovering as a result of governments enforcing more sustainable fishing quotas and successfully combatting illegal fishing.

At a time when we need more success stories like this, many governments however are struggling to co-operate over fishery management measures that will ensure healthy fish stocks for future generations. Take the situation in the North East Atlantic, where some of the richest nations on the planet have consistently failed to find consensus on how to share quotas for herring, mackerel and blue whiting. As a result, catch quotas for these fisheries exceed the scientifically recommended limits needed to ensure their long-term sustainability, and these fisheries have consequently lost their certification to the MSC’s sustainability standard.

History shows us that taking more fish from the ocean than can be replenished, leads to stock collapse and, ultimately, impacts negatively on those fishing communities that rely on the sea for their livelihoods. Yet despite the mistakes of the past, this problem remains — the Mediterranean, for instance, remains the most overfished sea in the world. Despite the good news on some tuna species, many individual tuna stocks remain at risk and regional management authorities struggle to agree on international measures to manage those stocks sustainably for the long term.

Governments have a responsibility on behalf of the public to safeguard our oceans for current and future generations. As climate change, population growth and overfishing are converging to create a perfect storm that threatens the future health of our aquatic resources, and the billions of people that depend on them, it’s time for a revitalized global approach to the management of our oceans’ riches. The world is looking to the UN Food Systems Summit as an opportunity for decision-makers to decide on a meaningful, coordinated and cooperative change. Let’s hope they deliver.

By:

Source: Transforming blue food systems is a win-win for people and planet | TheHill

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Colour Psychology: How To Use Colour To Boost Your Mood

It’s easy to feel down when it’s dark and cold outside but there are lots of ways you can bring colour into your life. Here, an expert explains how to use colour psychology to help boost your mood.

Colours can also help us express and understand emotions, making them a powerful communication tool. This is a discovery people have made on TikTok recently. Creators have been taking to the platform to explain the meaning of each colour and how it can help them understand themselves and the people around them better, with the tag #colourpsychology reaching over 4 million views.

As we head into the autumn and winter months and the nights get darker, many people will find this negatively impacts their mood. But although the skies might not be blue, there are plenty of ways you can bring more colour into your life and use it to help improve your mindset.

In fact, you can even use colour as a self-help method. Karen Haller, a behavioural colour psychologist, has spent years researching this and has found an array of methods to help you do so. Although it’s not necessarily as simple as TikTok would have you think.

“Colour psychology is a study of how we can use colour to positively influence how we think, feel and behave,” Karen says. “It’s one of the most underestimated resources we have to change how we act.”

“When you decide whether or not you like a colour, that’s an emotional experience,” Karen says. “It makes you feel something, even if you’re not consciously aware of it.”

Building a personal relationship with colour psychology is an ongoing process but there are a few things you can do to start to use colour to positively influence your life, and maybe even help you deal with issues like self-doubt and social anxiety.

What is the meaning behind each colour?

Karen explains that each colour has a traditional psychological meaning. However this can vary depending on the shade of the colour, so it’s not necessarily important to learn them all. It can be useful to understand what the primary colours represent, though.

“Each colour has positive and adverse effects,” Karen says, explaining that both of these things need to be taken into account when you’re thinking about how to use these colours to your benefit.

Red

“Red is a very physical colour. Red physically stimulates us – it encourages motivation and energy,” Karen explains. “Because of this, however, red can also cause overwhelm, as it represents speed, and it can sometimes make you feel like you are moving too quickly.”

Yellow

“Yellow has a direct effect on the nervous system. Yellow is an optimistic colour that encourages positivity,” Karen says. “However, the adverse effects are that yellow can be quite irritating and anxiety-inducing.”

Blue

“Blue is the colour that aligns with the mind. Dark blue is mentally stimulating and it can help with focus; soft blue is a colour that allows your mind to dream,” Karen explains. “Often, blue can keep the mind overly-stimulated, which is something to look out for as an adverse effect.”

How to figure out which colours work for you

Although there are traditional meanings that can be assigned to each colour, as people do on TikTok, Karen explains that colours are actually very personal, and the colours that help you feel better will be different to the colours that help a friend or family member feel good.

Karen recommends going through your wardrobe and pulling out clothes in an array of colours and then holding each of them up to your face, in order to figure out what your relationship is with each colour. “Without any make-up on, stand in front of a mirror and hold the different colours up to your face,” Karen says. “Take note of what happens to your face – does it light up or does it create shadows?”

If you know one colour suits your complexion, you can use this to compare to the other colours. This method isn’t only about your appearance, however. Consider how your facial expressions and other reactions differ with each colour, as this will help you to understand how you connect with different colours.

How to establish an emotional connection with colour

You’re constantly coming into contact with different colours in your day-to-day life and it’s not possible to consciously understand your reaction to every single one of them. But in order to become more in touch with your relationship with colours, Karen recommends keeping a diary for a period of a week to take note of how you respond to any colours that stand out to you or that you have to make decisions about.

“Write down what you are wearing each day and how the colours in your outfit make you feel,” she explains. “You should also take note of other decisions about colour you make, like choosing a red glass instead of a yellow glass.”

You don’t have to acknowledge your decisions in this way for very long but by doing so for a short period of time, you’ll come to better understand your relationships with specific colours, which will help you make better colour decisions in the future.

How to incorporate colour psychology into your life moving forward

Once you have established your relationship with particular colours, you can start to incorporate them into your life more, whether that’s through decorating your home with them or buying clothes in that colour. You can then also follow the same process Karen explains above to figure out which colour combinations work for you.

“The most important thing is that you think consciously about the decisions you make about colour,” Karen says, adding that by making intentional decisions, you will become more conscious of which colours you like and dislike, which will help keep you in touch with your emotions.

By:

Source: Colour psychology: how to use colour to boost your mood

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