News Above the Noise—Week of September 24, 2023
Editor's Note: Every week, The Sunday Paper's team of journalists sifts through the news to make sense of what's happening in the world and provide hope for your week to come. We find what Rises Above the Noise and do our best to highlight what we think matters. If you’d like to read more in-depth, please note that while we do our best to feature articles that are not behind a paywall, some of the news pieces we recommend require their own subscriptions beyond our control.
1. Air Quality Reaches Unhealthy Levels in Bay Area After Wildfires
Wildfire smoke has descended yet again on the Bay Area of California, prompting air quality alerts. The news is familiar to us everywhere, after a summer of smoke-filled skies in so many parts of the country. According to a new study released this week, smoke from wildfires has worsened air quality in almost 75 percent of U.S. states over the past two decades. Sadly, this development has reversed some of the improvements in air quality made over the previous years. For more on this research and why it’s an issue all of us need to care about, no matter where we live, click here.
2. Ultra-processed Foods Linked to Depression in Women
Want to decrease your risk of depression? It may be as straightforward as eating fewer ultra-processed foods and drinks and steering clear of artificial sweeteners, according to a new study. The research suggests an association between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and depression: Consuming nine portions per day of ultra-processed foods puts you at about a 50 percent higher risk of depression. For more on this study and the link between food and mood, click here.
3. You Can Break Any Bad Habit in Just 4 Steps
Author of the wildly popular Atomic Habits, James Clear, is an expert on building better habits and breaking negative ones. The first step: Ridding yourself of negative behaviors by shifting your perspective on them. “We have stories that we tell ourselves that are helpful. But also, we have stories we tell ourselves that are hurtful,” says Clear in a new MastClass series about habit-building. You can read Clear’s four steps for breaking bad habits here.
4. Why Are Clorox Products So Hard to Find Right Now?
With Covid on the rise, it might be tempting to think that the dwindling number of Clorox products on store shelves is due to consumer demand. However, the reason is actually due to a recent cyberattack that upended the company’s production process. To learn more, click here.
5. What Happens if the Government Shuts Down?
Once again, the U.S. is headed toward a possible government shutdown on October 1, one that could be the largest in U.S. history. The good news: Medicare, medicaid, Social Security payments, and the U.S. Postal Service won’t be affected. However, as many as 4 million workers, including active-duty military, could be affected. Why are we barrelling toward another shutdown, and what happens next? Read more here.