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The U.S. Economy Surprisingly Contracts In The First Quarter; A Historic Drought Impacts The American West; A Home Renovation Reveals A Classic Combo
Aired April 29, 2022 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: A dip into drought describes the dynamic duo of developments we detail first today.
I`m Carl Azuz. It`s always good to see you.
By dip, we mean a decline or contraction in the U.S. economy. The nation`s gross domestic product, a measure of all the goods and services America
produced, in the first quarter of this year decreased at a pace of 1.4 percent. Economists had predicted the economy would grow at a pace of 1.1
percent. So this drop was unexpected.
So, America`s economy produced significantly less between January and March than it did between October and December when it grew at a pace of 6.9
percent. Why does that matter?
For one thing, the decrease was the economy`s worst performance since the COVID pandemic hit in for we`ve now seen one quarter, a three-month period
of shrinking economic growth. If there are two of those in a row, it meets a commonly used definition of a recession to be clear the American economy
is not officially in a recession at this point and it might not see one in the months ahead but this has raised concerns about it.
Why did the economy shrink? There are a number of explanations. Some private investments decreased. America`s exports fell, while its imports
rose. That can hurt a country`s gross domestic product. Spending across different levels of government decreased and inflation, the historic rise
in prices the U.S. has seen since last year, continues to cause problems.
But while some analysts call this a warning sign for the economy, there is a silver lining. Consumer spending increased. People kept buying stuff.
That`s a major driver of economic growth. And the unemployment rate, the percentage of American workers who don`t have a job, that`s been steadily
decreasing since the country reopened after the COVID lockdowns. It`s another good sign for the economy because in a recession, unemployment
typically goes up.
One thing that`s not going up are water levels at Lake Mead. This is America`s largest man-made reservoir. It`s located in Nevada and Arizona
and it`s a source of water for millions of people. Lake Mead is at its lowest level ever, and about 250 miles southwest of there, millions of
southern Californians have been told to stop watering their lawns and gardens more than one day per week.
Officials are afraid there won`t be enough water to meet the demands of many residents and businesses in the region. All of this is part of a
historic drought in the American West.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: So often in recent days, we`ve talked about the fire weather concerns around the southwestern U.S.,
but across the state of California, the big concern for years now has been the drought situation where upwards of 90 percent of the state was dealing
with extreme drought. This was just last October.
We had an incredible run of wet weather in November and December, historic amounts of rainfall that actually brought our extreme drought situation in
the state down to just one percent and then what followed was a very dry January, February, and March, essentially going right back to our historic
drought situation which brought the extreme drought numbers from that 1 percent up to 40 percent in the entirety of the state dealing with at least
some level of drought, so really concerning set up, and mind you, this was in the heart of the wet season that is now beginning to taper off.
In fact look at the reservoirs across the state, a lot of these areas running 10, 20 percent below where they should be for this time of year.
Say, Lake Oroville, 53 percent current capacity, that should be closer to 70 percent, work your way towards Pine Flat, sitting about 48 percent of
current capacity. That number should be closer to 81 percent.
So, very dry situation and there has been wet weather but unfortunately a lot of it locked in across the Pacific Northwest. With that said, an
incredibly dry start to the year look at these areas, very densely populated regions, San Jose, San Francisco on into Santa Rosa, Monterey,
only eight, nine, up to 16-inch rainfall deficits again in the wet season. So, a concerning start here as we head on into the dry season.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:
Which of these objects represents the largest number?
Asteroid Belt asteroids, species of fish, trees on earth, or Milky Way stars?
Scientists estimate there are hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way but trillions of trees on earth.
I couldn`t believe that either but it seems those trees and other natural wonders can have a healing effect on people. According to the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control, 40 percent of American adults have at least two chronic diseases. They might include high blood pressure, mood disorders,
heart problems, diabetes.
According to the American Psychological Association, lower stress, better moods, better brain activity and possibly even overall happiness can all be
linked to spending time in the great outdoors. That`s why there are dozens of programs that prescribe nature as a potential form of healing.
DR. MELISSA LEM, DIRECTOR, PARK PRESCRIPTIONS (PARX): Nature is everywhere. We can find it in the most unexpected places and nature is
Park prescription or PaRx is Canada`s national nature prescription program like the physician or nurse does is they sit down with the patient and they
figure out what kind of nearby natures is in their community and then they work with them together to come up with a plan where they can incorporate
nature time into their everyday lifestyle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some cherry tomatoes, so this is the prescription. And it just gives my name and it says my outdoor activity plan.
LEM: In 2022, we announced a new collaboration with Parks Canada where licensed health professionals can now prescribe national discovery passes
that give you entry to national parks.
There are only two national nature prescription programs in the world and the first one was actually founded right in the U.S. Cost can be a barrier
where there are day use fees. So we`re hoping that by prescribing these Parks Canada`s discovery passes, that will reduce that barrier to nature
access in a significant way.
Well, there are two major theories as to why nature is so good for our brains and the first one is called attention restoration theory. When we
spend time in busy urban environments all the hard edges and traffic and lights and people everywhere really make us have to constantly focus our
attention to kind of navigate around those obstacles. Whereas when you spend time in nature, it`s really this source of soft fascination. So what
that does is it restores your powers of attention and it reduces that fatigue and irritability.
The second major theory is called stress reduction theory. So basically when we spend time in nature after stressful events, it helps us be more
resilient and recover faster.
When I recommended nature for the first time to a patient of mine, I thought he`s going to look at me funny and he`s going to laugh at me. But
he actually just nodded his head and said, you`re absolutely right, when I spend more time in nature, I feel better.
And so I think healthcare providers sort of have to get over our own mental biases against new sort of lifestyle interventions and prescribe something
evidence-based like nature time more often.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifty days from seed to vegetable. I think the prescription helps in that it says this is a good thing to do. This is
worth the effort to do. You need to get out of doors and just be surrounded by the greenery and by nature.
LEM: I want people to know that nature should be a non-negotiable. The thing about heading outside is that you tend to start to naturally be more
active. You`ll feel calmer. You`ll feel less depressed, less anxious. I think it`s just a great way to deal with the stresses of modern life.
AZUZ: Old McDonald`s in the wall, E-I-E-I -- what?
While renovating a home built in 1959, a man in Illinois found a bag from McDonald`s possibly dating back to 1959 that had been hidden in his
bathroom. It featured the original restaurant logo which predates Ronald McDonald, along with burger wrappers and some shall we say stale leftover
fries. Don`t know if he tried one. He said they didn`t have any smell.
We`d guess they were petrifried. There`s something filet-o-fishy about why the meat was missing. It`s a real McGriddle, maybe the work of a
hamburglar. He is an arch`s enemy. And if the thought of that makes you grimace, it is the mayor of McCheesy stories that has enough flavorful
nuggets to make for a happy meal.
Fridays are awesome.
Horseshoe Bend High school is in New Sight, Alabama. Shout-out to you. Thank you for watching.
I`m Carl Azuz. Wishing all of you an amazing weekend.