What the Looming Plastic Production Increase Means for Earth

Today’s largest oil companies are ramping up their production to reach full capacity. That means our planet will soon be awash in new plastic products. That means we will continue to see issues with pollution, including the oceanic garbage gyres that distribute microplastics throughout the food chain.

Public concerns about the looming plastic production increase have people reaching for metal straws, reusable bottles, and canvas bags. Those efforts may be noble, but it is also creating more potential pollution. Petrochemical production now accounts for 14% of all oil used in the world today.

Why Are Oil Companies Focused on Plastic Production?

The petrochemical industry includes plastic production. Up to 50% of the oil on the market could get directed toward this product by 2050. Shell, Aramco, and ExxonMobil all see plastics made from their oil and gas as being the future of their industry as more people look to use renewal resources.

Americans see significant growth in the plastics market because of the country’s fracking boom and abundant feedstocks of ethane.

Since natural gas prices have remained low, energy operations have been losing money. Converting their product into plastic creates a new revenue stream.

It’s a new way to monetize fossil fuels. That’s why plastics are not going away any time soon.

Over $200 Billion in Investments Have Reached the United States

During the decade of the 2010s, investors put more than $200 billion into over 300 plastic and petrochemical projects in the United States. This work includes the building of new facilities, expansion projects, and infrastructure improvements.


Several facilities are still in the permitting process. Experts believe that if even 25% of the ethane cracking facilities get built, our planet will become locked in a future of plastic that could send our societies in the wrong direction.

Plastics and climate change are often seen as separate issues. The production methods often generate greenhouse gases because the combustion of fossil fuels is necessary to produce items.

The rate of global

 linked to plastics could be the equivalent of 300 coal-fired power plants by 2030. That means 1.3 billion tons of carbon could reach the atmosphere.
That means recycling programs, plastic product bans, advocacy, and other efforts to reduce consumption will be necessary to limit the impact of this industry. Even if every solution were to start today, we must be prepared to live in a world with even more pollution before things have a chance to start getting better.

A Brief History of North Korea’s Nuclear Missile Program

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the only country to withdraw from the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The goal of North Korea’s government is to develop and possess sophisticated materials for self-defense, nuclear power, and offensive capabilities.

North Korea has made repetitive violations of the international norm against nuclear testing since 2000. A total of six tests have occurred, with the last in 2017 supposedly a thermonuclear device. 

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The United Nations Security Council has passed several resolutions that condemn the nuclear missile program of North Korea. Increasingly harsh sanctions against the country are intended to stop the development of these weapons. It has not quelled the threat.

North Korea Has 60 Years of Development Experience

The nuclear program in North Korea began in 1952 when the government established the Atomic Energy Research Institute. The country also became a founding charter of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in the Soviet Union in 1957.

North Korea received extensive assistance in the early 1960s from the Russians, including the construction of the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center. The small reactor that the USSR installed became the first to produce radioisotopes in the country. It would become a training device for future scientists.

China helped in the 1960s to further develop the program, but most of the arsenal today comes from internal research instead of outside assistance.

Changes in the 1990s Led to Today’s Conflicts

North Korea signed a safeguards agreement in 1992 to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. The government declared at the time that they had one small plutonium sample that came from reprocessed spent fuel rods.

International inspectors found that North Korea had reprocessed plutonium on at least three occasions. When the IAEA requested access to two suspected nuclear facilities in the country, the government declared them to be military sites.

This declaration led to North Korea withdrawing from treaties involving nuclear weapons. Technicians removed more spent fuel rods in 1994 without IAEA inspection or consent. That process started the first round of sanctions against the country.

Summits during the Trump Administration helped to thaw relationships, but the existence of a covert uranium enrichment site in 2018 indicates that the government is still concealing information.

The goal for the rest of the world is still to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. North Korea still feels that a need exists to defend themselves. That’s why the international community continues to be in a stalemate position.

What is the Coronavirus?

The coronavirus is responsible for many of the mild illnesses that humans experience during the year. When you have the symptoms of the common cold, then there is a chance that this intruder is what your body is trying to fight.

You can often supplement your immune system by using products from brands like Irwin Naturals, Metagenics, and Standard Process. When your body can fight off a virus naturally, then you can feel better quickly. 

A “novel” coronavirus is a different issue. This new virus is one that scientists have not identified previously. That means an infection can have severe consequences since human immune systems have never had to fight it before.

What You Need to Know About 2019-nCoV

The coronavirus outbreak at the beginning of 2020 is a new respiratory virus that was first identified in Wuhan, China. This large family of viruses can cause illnesses in people and circulate among animals.

The MERS virus emerged to infect people after it adapted to camels. When the SARS outbreak occurred in the 1990s, it came to humans through civet cats. Officials believe that 2019-nCoV may have bridged to human infections through snakes.

It is essential to remember that the new coronavirus is not the same as MERS or SARS. Genetic analysis of the new virus suggests that it emerged from SARS, but ongoing investigations are continuing to find more information about this potentially deadly disease.

How to Prevent a 2019-nCoV Infection

Unless you traveled to Wuhan in the past month or came into contact with someone who did, then your chances of contracting the new coronavirus are minimal.

Following best practices for hygiene may help you to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV, or any other respiratory viruses that are common during this time of the year.

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That means you should wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. It is essential to follow this practice before eating, after coughing, and when you finish going to the bathroom.


Avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands. If you feel sick, then stay home. It isn’t worth getting others sick, or making yourself tired, which can further weaken the body and make symptoms worse.

There is no antiviral treatment made specifically for someone with the new coronavirus infection. Anyone who suspects that they may have this virus should seek professional, supportive care to relieve unwanted symptoms. Severe cases should include support for vital organ functions.

The CDC does not currently recommend using facemasks in the general public to prevent the spread of this virus. 

Why Greta Thunberg Became Time’s 2019 Person of the Year

Teenagers are known for their ability to cause trouble. Greta Thunberg turned what some adults see as rebelliousness into greater climate change awareness, helping her to eventually earn the title of “Person of the Year” from Time magazine.

“We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” she told the publication. “That is all we are saying.”

Not many teens skip school to start a global movement. Thunberg spent her days holding signs that said, “School Strike for Climate.” It took a little more than a year for her to take her cause to the United Nations. She’s met with the Pope, been treated harshly by the Presidents of the United States and Brazil, and her work has inspired over four million people to join a climate strike in September 2019.

Now her image appears in murals all over the world. Some people even compare Thunberg to Joan of Arc.

Tomorrow’s Generation is Stepping Up Today

Taking care of our planet isn’t a complicated process. It begins by focusing on personal health needs because when you are healthy, then you can promote community-based wellness.

Using products from brands like NOW Foods, Terry Naturally, and Integrative Therapeutics can give you the nutritional foundation to create the change you want to see in the world.

Some people think that supplemental products may not always be healthy, but everyone also needs specific vitamins and minerals to support biological functions. If you don’t receive them from the foods you eat, then these items could be the next best solution.

That’s the approach that Thunberg takes with the environment. When other people start criticizing her, she puts the science of climate change as a response.


“I want you to panic,” she told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2019. “I want you to feel the fear I feel every day, and then I want you to act.”

What is even more remarkable about Thunberg is that she has a diagnosis on the Autism spectrum. She has Asperger’s syndrome, which means her emotional register is not the same as most of the people she meets.

If you were to have a conversation with Thunberg, it would be uncomplicated, direct, and informative. She ignores small talk to focus on the more significant issues. Her work isn’t about fame or fortune. It’s an effort to make people know that the world is changing, and something needs to be done now to prevent future suffering.

How Climate Change Produces New Business Opportunities

The changing climate presents a business growth opportunity that could be worth as much as $26 trillion. It’s not the melting polar ice caps that will provide the foundation of this chance at scalability.

It is a shift to a low-carbon economy in five critical areas that could provide this new bounty of financial benefits. Over 65 million new jobs are at stake.

It’s not just the big companies that can find opportunities for success with climate change. Smaller brands like NOW foods, Integrative Therapeutics, or Terry Naturally can push to new heights using these five structures.

How Future Corporate Growth Will Occur

Tomorrow’s business leaders must institute sustainable economic growth models today. This work must include the following elements if the efforts have a chance to find success.

1. Clean Energy Systems Must be a Priority

Businesses must find ways to continue a transition away from fossil fuels. The use of digital technology and renewables through decentralized systems will create a cleaner and cheaper economy.

2. Intelligent Urban Development Must Occur

When cities can become more connected and compact with their infrastructure, then the monetary savings in logistics could stimulate trillions of dollars of activity. It will also create better access to housing, employment, and basic needs.

3. Water Management Must Become Smarter

Our water resources are the most critical element of a future world trying to manage climate change. We must improve sanitation processes, reduce consumption in agricultural sectors, and prioritize resource allocation to maximize benefits.

4. Recycling and Restoration Will be Essential in the Future

Our current system of consumption involves taking raw materials, making something from them, and then wasting it afterward. The economy must focus on recycling efforts that include restoration, repurposing, and reuse. A circular industrial economy will drive innovation without sacrificing economic gains.

5. Land Use Must Become More Sustainable

Instead of cutting down forests for more farms, we must work to improve production levels with what we already use. The planet already has the capability of producing enough food for everyone’s future daily needs. If we reduce waste and loss, then we’ll create a nexus of solutions that will help us grow like never before.

Change can be a scary process. When businesses have a plan for the future, then impressive results become possible. Following these five points of emphasis will help companies of any size carve out a profitable place in tomorrow’s economy. 
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Why the Boeing 737 Max Is Still Grounded?

Boeing hopes that their 737 Max airplane will finally win approval to return to flying in 2020. It was grounded globally following two crashes that took hundreds of lives.

Even if government officials provide the go-ahead to let the aircraft get back to work, it will take several months of consistent flying for passengers to trust it.

Entire plane models have been placed out-of-service before, such as Boeing’s 787 in 2013 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 in 1979. These issues were for maintenance or mechanical problems.

With the 737 Max, Boeing faces the issue of rewriting the entire code on the flight computer. Then pilots must retrain on the updated software to ensure it is safe to fly in the aircraft.

If you want to stay up to date on what’s happening with Boeing, make sure to follow this complete list of the top 100 news websites.

Why is This Process Taking so Long to Complete?

Boeing faces several issues in their efforts to bring the 737 Max back to the skies. The first and most critical problem is the fact that only a handful of simulators exist for the aircraft. That means the retraining process will be slow and methodical.

Most of the pilot’s unions are taking a wait-and-see approach to how the Federal Aviation Administration reacts to the latest efforts from Boeing.

Proposals for training modules are starting to filter down to the various airlines that purchase the 737 Max. There is still uncertainty in whether simulator requirements will be necessary or if computer-based efforts will be enough to create comfort in the cockpit.

Over 30,000 flight cancellations happened in 2019 for American Airlines by itself, with an estimated $700 million in lost revenues. Those losses get duplicated for every other organization that purchased this model from Boeing around the world.

Despite the issues with this aircraft, American Airlines reported a $425 million quarterly profit in October 2019. The company said that the results should “have been better” due to the impacts of this software issue, but significant labor disputes were also part of the process.

Boeing now has a new CEO to help the company navigate through this process. The company also recently hired a new head of commercial aviation. Even with these changes, questions linger about the communications and management issues that led to problems with the 737 Max in the first place.
The damage won’t stop once the airplane returns to the skies. Boeing will be responsible for billions of dollars in payments to crash victims and compensation for lost revenues.

Why Did Saudi Arabia Take Aramco Public with a $2 Trillion IPO?

While investors were watching Apple flirt with $1 trillion, Saudi Arabia decided to take Aramco public. The result became the world’s largest IPO and a company that became the most profitable in the world.

What is unique about this decision is that Saudi Arabia didn’t engage in international exchanges. That means any notable developments from this effort will stay contained domestically. 

The goal of this effort was for the Saudi government to start raising money. Selling off a 1.5% stake in the company helped to raise over $25 billion. As oil prices stay low, deficits continue to rise in this country as it desperately attempts to diversify its economy. This action helped to stop the financial bleeding.

87% of Saudi Arabia’s Income Comes from the Petroleum Sector

Aramco is still a state-owned enterprise. All of the money investors put into the company won’t change the fact that 98.5% of it remains owned by the government. 

The new shareholders will now have a way to voice concerns about how the organization gets managed, but they’re going to take a backseat to the decisions made through government policies.

Some investors believe that the move to take Aramco public is a way to demonstrate that the national oil company wants to become a global energy provider. The IPO does open some doors to expand into Asia, where oil demand could skyrocket in the coming years.

There could be new opportunities to reach North America in the future under this new structure. Americans are a prime target for energy investments since this country, which contains about 5% of the global population, consumes one-quarter of the energy people use each year.

Should Americans Invest in Aramco?

Aramco already owns the Motiva Enterprises plant in Port Arthur, TX. It is the largest oil refinery in the world, and tech centers in Houston and Boston supplement these efforts.

Can everyone invest in Aramco now that it is public? Outside of Saudi Arabia, the easiest way to get a piece of this company is to own mutual fund shares from emerging market fund indices. The government is also considering listing on international exchanges in Tokyo, China, and Russia. Instability in the Middle East could make it a volatile equity solution for investors with access to these markets who want aggressive diversification. 

It will not come to the United States because of the threat of lawsuits from 9/11 families. 

What Is Medicare for All and How Does It Work?

Medicare for All is a system that would expand the current availability of taxpayer-supported health care in the United States. It would feature a single-payer, government-run program that would replace most existing public or private plans.

Medicare for All would not eliminate the private health insurance industry. It would change what coverage people could elect beyond what basic care provides under this universal system. The result would be something similar to the structure of Canada’s system.

During the 2020 election cycle, a majority of Democratic presidential candidates support some version of this idea, so it is essential to know how it works. If you want more coverage of the upcoming Presidential election, take a look at the 100 news sites you should add to your news feed.

Medicare for All Would Require a 4-Year Transition

The primary driver of the Medicare for All idea comes from a bill sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders. Under the structure of this single-payer plan, essential treatments would receive coverage without any deductibles or premiums.

It would also expand the number of benefit categories in the current Medicare system so that vision and dental coverage would become available.

Transitioning from the current system in the United States to Medicare for All would take about four years to complete. Once the legislation is active, then private insurers could not sell a plan that offered similar coverage. 

They would get the opportunity to provide a supplemental plan that covers items unavailable in this system, such as a voluntary surgery.

Federal health programs that currently exist, such as the Veterans Health Administration, would continue uninterrupted in their services.

How Much Would Medicare for All Cost?

The estimated national spending on health care in the United States is approximately $4 billion each year. About $1.5 trillion of that comes from the current Medicare and Medicaid programs that people use.


Then another $1.5 trillion comes from private health insurance and out-of-pocket costs.

The Sanders’ proposal is one of the most expensive ideas being debated today. It would eliminate all private health insurance spending from health care, causing Medicare and Medicaid costs to rise to over $3 trillion annually.

Several different versions of this idea are up for debate, with some House bills having over 100 co-sponsors. Most Democrats want something a little more modest than what is outlined above, with the goal being to expand Medicare and Medicaid access without ending the private insurance system as it stands today.

How is Medicare for All Different from Obamacare?

Under the Affordable Care Act, the goal was to provide opportunities for people to afford health insurance when they were unable to obtain it from an existing program or their employer. The ACA offers subsidies to help purchase private plans from a government exchange while also expanding Medicaid.

This approach helped to cover millions of people, but there are still over 27 million individuals without health care insurance.

Medicare for All would solve the problem by ensuring that everyone could access a doctor when needed without worrying about the price.

Payroll taxes would likely rise in any scenario, but the monthly cost of insurance premiums and doctor visits could go down enough to create a net gain for families.

This structure would put the United States more in line with the rest of the world’s approach to providing health care. 
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A Brief Introduction to Brexit

Brexit is the process being followed that seeks to one day separate Great Britain from the rest of the European Union. MPs backed a bill in late October that would allow for a general election to take place on December 12, 2019.

Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK would leave the EU by October 31 in a “do-or-die” deal. He has agreed to the provisions proposed by the European Union, but the bill that would implement those stipulations is currently on hold.


That means Brexit will not progress any further until after the December general election.

What Happens to Brexit Now?

Four potential options might occur after the December 12 general election.

The first is that Brexit will occur on the existing deal on January 31, 2020. This outcome would follow the agreement that PM Johnson negotiated with the EU. A new version of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would need an introduction to the new Parliament, so there could be delays that impact the final date.


Another referendum on Brexit is a possibility after the election. It would have the same legal status as the one in 2016 that started this process. The government would need to decide how to respond based on the votes received. This outcome would delay the separation from the EU by at least 22 weeks.

The default position is a “No Deal Brexit” that would force the UK to exit the customs union and single market without any arrangements in place to make the import-export market easier to access. This outcome would likely damage the economy, even if critics think that the risks are somewhat exaggerated in the press.

There is the option to cancel the entire Brexit process after the election. This outcome would be possible by revoking Article 50. The current government isn’t contemplating this option, so the possibility of the next one doing so is somewhat remote.

What Happened to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill Approval?

PM Johnson achieved a significant victory when a parliamentary majority approved a deal that laid out the exit of the UK from the European Union. The approval of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill allowed for the next stage of passage. This outcome briefly boosted the prospects of Brexit happening on October 31.

That victory was short-lived because MPs rejected the speed at which Johnson wanted to implement this process. The government provided only a few hours to read hundreds of pages of legislation filled with technical details, so the House of Commons refused to allow the timetable to proceed.

Plenty of MPs wanted Johnson to provide a longer timetable that would be suitable to officials, with Jeremey Corbyn from the Labour Party offering to work on a compromise. This process then led to the call to move forward with a general election.

That means a refusal by either side to work on a compromise has led to another delay in the Brexit process. Now there is the possibility that it may not happen at all. It will all depend on the outcome of the upcoming December election.