July 31, 2020
Dear iksplorers, there are few things we enjoy more than connecting with you each week through our newsletter. And, we hope you find our missives helpful and informative, too. But, like all of you, our iksplor team occasionally needs a break and a refresh. So, we’re going to take a little pause now to do that. We’ll be back in September in a regular, dependable way and can’t wait to reconnect then. Sending love.
“You need to tell me if any trouble comes. I’m serious, like any ladybugs or bees, you call me. My phone is pretend but I’ll answer you.”
--Lou, 4 years old (submitted by @meganisennock)
“You are doing fine,” she says. “You are doing your best.” This, from a Brooklyn, New York-based therapist who works with parents, to the moms out there struggling with just about every pandemic parenting decision they make. There’s no way around it. It’s an unprecedented time to be raising kids. Every move, every decision, every interaction (or non-interaction), feels fraught. And plenty of moms, especially, feel like no matter what they do, judgments from others will ensue. We get it. We are there, too. So we hope this article, if it doesn’t necessarily offer all the answers, will at least offer the comfort of knowing you are not alone. And, by the way, remind us all that rather than blaming moms (and, less often, dads) for not managing this global health crisis “correctly,” or taking unfair advantage of their privilege, we should instead focus on demanding more support for all families from our government. It’s way past time.
Tiger populations around the world have dwindled from 100,000 a century ago to only about 3,900 now. But in a positive turn ahead of International Tiger Day, observed on July 29, three young Indochinese tigers were caught on video in February and March in western Thailand. It’s the first time in four years conservationists have seen tigers in the region. The tiger’s decline has largely been the result of poaching – the illegal hunting and killing of animals to meet the demands of the also illegal multi-billion dollar wildlife trade. Tiger skin and bones are apparently especially prized in the traditional medicine market. Habitat destruction resulting from logging and human encroachment have also played a role. Such developments have destroyed tiger populations across Asia and three species – the Caspian, Javan and Bali tigers – are already extinct. This recent development thus offers hope for the future of the endangered tiger in Thailand, and for wildlife diversity all over the globe.
And if that isn’t enough good environmental news for you, here’s another hit: 300 women from more than 30 different nations, over the course of three years and 38,000 nautical miles, are sailing around the world studying the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. Called “Round the World,” the 31 legs of this voyage started in 2019. Put on hold for 12 months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the trips will begin again next year. The research the women conduct during their sailing missions is aimed at not only better understanding why and how plastics are swirling at such vast quantities in our seas, but also offering global policy solutions too. “Round the World” will also not only promote more gender diversity in STEM fields, but it will help focus research about the impacts of plastics and other related toxins on women, specifically.
If you’re anything like us, after nearly six months of not really being able to travel far, your wanderlust is on fire. Enter a virtual reality headset that might just allow you to visit some of those far-off places likely to remain far-off for some time to come (think the summit of Everest, the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the expansive views from high up on Machu Pichu). You can also use it for exercise programs and games. The product isn’t cheap, but it is probably less expensive than the airplane tickets you’d be buying otherwise, so there’s that…
We also thought this adventure-ready wheelchair was too cool not to include here. Making the trail truly accessible to nearly anyone, the AdvenChair uses bi-ski and mountain bike technology to allow it to roll over rugged, unpredictable terrain. The wheelchair user will still need a few people to help move him or her along the trail, anywhere from one to four people to push and pull the chair, but the rider does not need to be able to help at all. “Instead of needing a landscape that’s been adapted to wheelchairs,” said AdvenChair’s creator, Geoff Babb, “people can now have a chair that adapts to the landscape.”