I’ve just been reflecting on a wishful saying I’ve heard many times that's still common: ‘peace to those of goodwill.’ I think, how will our world ever attain peace with all the bad will circulating about? Would you invite Putin to dinner? Or what about the CEO of any of our big five Canadian banks that continue funding new fossil fuel developments knowing they’ve promised to cut back and by not doing so are endangering life on Earth? Or what about those still denying a pandemic virus on the loose and working against public health measures? Where is there good will these days?
Would it be a sign of good will to actually engage these folks and discuss their folly? With little likelihood of success in that endeavour, would it a sign of good will to do whatever possible to discredit their ideas, make them a pariah…but then thereby create more division in society. While we certainly don’t live in a black and white world, the grey is getting harder and harder to tolerate knowing the consequences. Just like with Canada’s decision this past week to fix and return a Russian turbine to them so they can continue supplying Germany with gas. Where is the acceptable middle ground? Is it possible to find one?
I used to be more accommodating and even accepting of common ground, but when my printer ran out of grey ink and with the climate crisis rearing its ugly head daily somewhere in the world, hunger becoming more widespread, and the emergence of a pandemic I feel I’ve become more one-sided. I remember living in Edmonton some years ago now, professor of preventive medicine and director of global health at the University of Alberta, sometimes taking the side of Fort McMurray, the jobs the tar sands create, the funds for the university, and while feeling somewhat compromised I comfortably lived in the grey zone doing my work. Fortunately, I recovered from my short-sightedness, lack of vision and numb analysis, and shortly thereafter created the Planetary Health Weekly to help educate and set my vision to the future.
I now understand that compromise can be an evil word despite its centrality in politics; it only leads to destruction at a slower pace and buys more time for some. Our governments and all people must understand to where we’re headed if we keep compromising our knowledge for greater wealth, ease and comfort. But when hasn’t short-sightedness been a Canadian trait? Now it again is determining reality as the same community in central British Columbia, where its town burned to the ground one year ago, is once again on fire and evacuating.
While I believe that Earth is patient, it is going into overdrive to communicate to us (as currently being felt by those dying and suffering from extreme heat, fires and drought in Europe, Africa, China, Russia, USA, Peru, etc.) to get out of the grey zone and get with it. Will we not only hear but listen to what we're being told and then act?
More on Earth's messages in today’s Planetary Health Weekly (#29 of 2022):
CLIMATE & BIODIVERSITY CRISES UPDATES:
Canada lays out rules banning bags, straws and other single-use plastics (though according to Greenpeace it only covers about 3% of our plastic waste),
Wildfires rage across Europe amid record temperatures
Wild species relied on by billions at risk,
‘First I lost my livestock, then I lost my children,’
New laws to help accelerate South Africa’s move away from coal: Ramaphosa,
On the ground in Churchill: polar bears fight for survival as ice disappears,
‘Do not underestimate how significant this is’: inside the industry plan to pave a new frontier for zero carbon concrete,
Eating less meat could help oceans and waterways by reducing nitrogen,
In a world-first Brazil rules that Paris Agreement in a human rights treaty,
Association between Covid-19 booster vaccination and Omicron infection in a highly vaccinate cohort of players and staff in the National Basketball Association,
Covid: No one is fully protected from BA.4 and BA.5,
Long distance airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2: rapid systematic review,
Covid’s chronic effects loom increasingly large,
Germany’s Covid-19 summer spike pushes nurses beyond their limits,
The age of distracti-pression (and the increased use of anti-depressants),
New Omicron variant BA.2.75: no hard evidence yet, but cause for concern,
Covid airborne transmission v. Monkeypox: key differences between viruses, THEN
Bez’s Blog #7: "Inequality Kills",
Hunger hotspots - FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity June to September 2022,
Brumadinho, Brazil: mental illness among people affected by the Vale (dam) disaster is on the rise & Three years after Brumadinho tragedy, justice and accountability still elude the victims & U.S. SEC sues Vale for false claims tied to Brumadinho dam collapse,
Kenya and World Health Organization launch first emergency hub,
Canada's largest solar project in Alberta flips the switch,
Australia’s largest coal-fired power station, Eraring, to close in 2025, seven years early,
Will Monkeypox outbreak replay AIDS and Covid-19 script?
India & China continue to lead as world population soon to reach 8.0 billion,
Supporting the papal visit to Alberta (on the road to Truth and Reconciliation & Smudge vs. Incense (are they the same?),
Quote on "collective suicide" by the UN Secretary General,
New events added: August 19: 2022 Planetary Health Film Lab Micro Film Festival at York University, Toronto AND The 4th
International Conference on Rare Diseases (Dec. 7-8), in Vienna,
What my grandmother was trying to tell me (and the impact of storytelling),
Toolkit for detecting misused epidemiological methods,
Mapped: solar power by country in 2021,
Hospital opens in Spain for Irish on waiting lists at home,
New free eBook: “How Technology is Changing the Face of Medicine,”
Over 2.93 million Ethiopian children out of school die to conflict and drought, and lastly
ENDSHOTS of “Nova Scotia Highlights” with Julia Chalmers (PHW Production Manager).
Do keep reading outside the grey zone. Best, david
David Zakus, Editor and Publisher
Moonrise over Whitefish Lake, Seguin, Ontario, 14 July 2022, 11:23PM
Canada laid out its final regulations on Monday spelling out how it intends to apply a ban on plastic bags, straws, takeout containers and other single-use plastics.
“Only 8% of the plastic we throw away gets recycled,” said federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos in French, adding that 43,000 tonnes of single-use plastics a year find their way into the environment, most notably in waterways.
Duclos was joined by the environment minister, Steven Guilbeault, on a beach in Quebec City to announce the final regulatory text, which includes banning single-use plastic bags, cutlery, straws, stir sticks, carrier rings and takeout containers.
The ban on manufacture and import of those six types of items will begin in December 2022, and the ban on sale a year later. By the end of 2025, Canada will also ban export, making it “the first among peer jurisdictions to do so internationally”, according to a government news release.
“The Canadian population was very clear with us,” he said of the prevalence of plastic in soil, air, drinking water and food. “They’re tired of seeing plastic trash in parks, streets [and other locations].”
The regulations have a few notable exceptions. Retailers will be allowed to sell single-use plastic flexible straws if it is packaged alongside a beverage container, and as long as the packaging was done off-premises. They’ll also be permitted to sell packages of 20 or more single-use straws, as long as they’re kept out of customer view.
Emergency services battled wildfires across swathes of southern Europe amid mass evacuations on Wednesday (July 20), as warnings sounded in London after Britain's hottest day that the fight against climate change needed to be stepped up.
Fire brigades in Tuscany on Wednesday battled for a second day to control a wildfire that has forced hundreds to relocate, while a blaze in northeast Italy spread to Slovenia and threatened to leave the city of Trieste without power and water.
Wildfires have broken out in several parts of Italy this week as temperatures keep rising. Emergency services battled wildfires across swaths of southern Europe after a record-breaking heat wave, widely blamed on global warming by scientists and climatologists, settled in last week.
Nine cities were on Italy's highest heat alert, which warns of serious health risks linked to the weather, up from five on Tuesday. The total is expected to rise to 14 on Thursday, including Rome, Milan and Florence, and 16 on Friday.
Battered by heavy winds, firefighters in Greece struggled to contain two new fires west of Athens on Wednesday, following a round-the-clock effort to halt a blaze in the outskirts of the city that had swept through inhabited areas and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
Britain's record-breaking heat wave is spurring calls for the government to speed up efforts to adapt to a changing climate a day after wildfires created the busiest day for London firefighters since bombs rained down on the city during World War II.
Every day billions of people depend on wild flora and fauna to obtain food, medicine and energy. But a new United Nations-backed report says that overexploitation, climate change, pollution and deforestation are pushing one million species towards extinction.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - or IPBES - report said that unless humankind improves the sustainable use of nature, the Earth is on its way to losing 12% of its wild tree species, over a thousand wild mammal species and almost 450 species of sharks and rays, among other irreparable harm.
The worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 40 years had decimated livestock – one goat herd dwindled from 300 to just 30 over 18 months. As one pastoralist lost his animals, he lost his income. Soon, he’d lose his children, too. In Somalia and Somaliland – a de facto country internationally recognized as northern Somalia, despite declaring independence 31 years ago – at least 805,000 people have already been forced to leave their homes in search of food and water this year.
It’s a number that will almost certainly rise in the coming months. Little rain is forecast, and humanitarian groups have warned there is a “concrete risk” of an unprecedented fifth failed rainy season come autumn.
Meanwhile the war in Ukraine and Russia’s “weaponization” of grain has caused a global food security crisis that has been keenly felt in a region dependent on Black Sea imports.
Across the Horn of Africa, where prices have skyrocketed, at least 18 million people are currently facing food shortages. In Somalia, 213,000 are predicted to be in the grips of famine by September, while the UN has warned that 365,000 children could die from malnutrition this year. The World Health Organization has labelled the drought a grade three health emergency, the agency’s highest crisis ranking.
“We don’t know where the bottom is yet for this crisis,” Michael Dunford, head of the World Food Programme in Eastern Africa, told the Telegraph. “The fact is that we are in a devastating situation already, and the likelihood is that it’s going to continue.” He added that, already, roughly three million livestock have died as a result of the drought – including up to 30% of herds in Somalia.
Concrete is a major carbon emitter (accounting for about 8% of global carbon emissions) but a group of leading construction firms, developers, and manufacturers are hoping to spur demand for greener solutions - both in the near- and long-term. Concrete is a hardy material, and a hard problem to solve. Firstly, the stuff is everywhere. After water, it is the second most used substance on the planet.
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty on climate change adopted by 196 Parties at COP21. The overarching goal is to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius, and ideally keep it only to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In a world-first, the supreme court of Brazil has declared that the Paris Agreement is a human rights treaty that must take precedence over national laws.
The case that led to this ruling, PSB et al. v. Brazil (on Climate Fund), was filed by four political parties as a response to the government failing to distribute money from the national Climate Fund (Fundo Clima) since 2019. The Brazilian government believed that the Climate Fund was not constitutionally protected and should the court interfere, it would violate the country’s separation of powers.
However, in the end, the Supreme Federal Court ruled, “Treaties on environmental law are a type of human rights treaty and, for that reason, enjoy supranational status. There is, therefore, no legally valid option to simply omit to combat climate change.” Going forward, this means that any laws made by the Brazilian government that goes against the Paris Agreement will be invalid. Violating the Paris Agreement, and therefore the supreme court’s ruling would be seen as a violation of the country’s constitution and human rights.
Globally, nationally and locally, the pandemic continues in many countries, including here in Canada; and Canada claimed a top spot in reported deaths this last week. But many so erroneously feel it's over, whereas it's just getting worse, thanks to Omicron subvariants BA.4/5 and the lack of collective action. Over the last week, cases continue at about 1,000,000/day; deaths also continue at about 2400/day; and vaccinations are down to about 5 million/day (from 8m last week).
The pandemic is still with us and cases and deaths are on the upswing, all from the widespread relaxation of public health measures. How many people do you now see wearing a mask? The BA.4/5 subvariants are of great concern because of their enhanced ability to spread and evade newly learned immune responses.
Vaccination remains a great way to keep yourself and others safe from serious consequences, including hospitalization and long Covid which is becoming more understood. Get all the shots/boosters you can and practise the other public health measures.
See below for a few global stats and current hotspots:
Evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine booster effectiveness is essential as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge. Data support the effectiveness of booster doses in preventing severe disease and hospitalization; however, the association with reducing incident SARS-CoV-2 infections is not clear. We compared the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in players and staff of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who did vs those who did not receive a booster dose. This study found that in a young, healthy, highly vaccinated cohort frequently monitored for SARS-CoV-2, booster vaccination was associated with a significant reduction in incident infections during the Omicron wave. Read more at JAMA
The attenuation of severe disease, seen globally, has been hard-won, chiefly through the biggest vaccination programme in history, but also increasingly through hundreds of millions of accumulated infections. The result is that being infected with Covid now carries roughly 30 times less risk of hospitalization than it did two years ago, and 60 times less risk of death. Unsurprisingly, this has transformed our relationship with the virus, with governments and citizens alike taking an increasingly relaxed stance to mitigation and many aspects of life returning to pre-pandemic norms. But while the acute risks of an encounter with Covid may have waned, the virus is still causing profound disruption to the health of millions, with repercussions for society. The chief concern is now long Covid. This condition frequently draws sceptical responses due to its oft-changing clinical definition and the difficulties in teasing it apart from other underlying health issues, but there is mounting evidence of a very real phenomenon, especially from job loss and job reduction data in both the UK and US.
An allegory that has been told for many decades distinguishes upstream from downstream factors.
Imagine, if you will, three people standing alongside a river on a brisk afternoon. They suddenly hear a cry for help from someone caught in the river's fast-moving current.
Our three bystanders react in different ways.
The first bystander becomes angry at the unfortunate person’s irresponsibility. “Don’t you know how to swim?” this bystander shouts. “You never should have jumped in!”
The second bystander wants to be more helpful. She waves to our desperate victim and displays a discount coupon for swimming lessons. “Quick, grab this,” she pleas, “With this you’ll be able to afford the lessons!”
Finally, our third bystander — a rescue worker — jumps in the water and pulls the flailing floater out of the water. Paramedics soon make it to the scene. They administer CPR and transport the victim to the hospital.
That rescue, unfortunately, doesn’t end the crisis. The next day sees more flailing people floating down the river and more still the day after. Researchers take notice. They start tabulating how many people are floating by. They survey the survivors, compare their educational levels and race, and construct elaborate personal risk-taking profiles. But this research doesn’t stem the tide of flailing floaters. Pulling them out of the water is rapidly becoming an expensive proposition. Just extracting victims from the river, people soon realize, is never going to eliminate the problem. Too many keep falling in!
What’s causing all the tragic river traffic? No one really knows. A few public health workers decide to head upstream to find out. They soon spot billboards with glamorous and fetching pictures marketing the river’s many recreational opportunities. One public health worker concludes that legislation is needed to require all riverside billboards to carry notices warning people about the rapid river currents.
But another contends that warning notices won’t be enough and recommends a ban on all billboards as a means of protecting those most vulnerable to the marketing messages.
Executives of the river billboard association quickly erupt in predictable fury. They can’t believe what they’re hearing. “We demand freedom of speech!” they cry. “Let’s not allow people who can’t swim to ruin the fun for everybody else!”
“Amen,” chimes in the local newspaper editor. “We don’t need new government regulations. The responsibility for river safety lies with families, not the government.
This back-and-forth debate frustrates still other public health workers on the original fact-finding mission up the river. They opt to continue even farther up the river and discover that the riverbanks where people walk have eroded into steep and slippery, uneven slopes. No one walking these banks can gain a stable foothold.
At the steepest points of the riverbank, desperate people are even pushing others into the water to secure their own safety. In less steep sections, the public health workers see less chaos. People in these somewhat safer spots seem more secure. Some of them are even helping those around them negotiate the hazardous terrain.
The diligent public health workers soon see a solution. They proceed to build a retaining wall that enables everybody to walk safely along the river. They also excavate some of the steepest parts of the slope to make it safer for all. In short order, no one’s flailing in the water anymore.
Does anything in this story sound familiar? Has our path become more secure over time? Have we become safer?
We are living in a period of many new ideas entering the public mind. Much of the Planetary Health Weekly content was not considered even a few decades ago. How did thinking about economic inequality enter public consciousness?
In 1979 an academic paper was published in a demography journal: Rodgers, G. B. (1979). "Income and inequality as determinants of mortality: an international cross-section analysis." Population Studies 33: 343-351. This seminal study was reprinted in another journal in 2002 where it can be accessed. The 2002 version has a range of commentaries by others. Rodgers' study looked at life expectancy (at birth and at age 5) and infant mortality among 56 countries and found an association with a measure of income inequality for those nations. The relationship was strongest for rich countries but also present for those poorer.
Richard Wilkinson had been interested in the relationship between class and health. He edited a 1986 publication where he included a chapter on investigations of income and mortality after discovering the Rodgers study.
According to the May 2022 Hunger Hotspots report, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen remain at ‘highest alert’ as hotspots with catastrophic conditions, and Afghanistan and Somalia are new entries to this worrisome class since the previous hotspots report in January 2022. These countries all have segments of the population facing IPC phase 5 ‘Catastrophe’ – or at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions, with a total of 750,000 people already facing starvation and death in Ethiopia, Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.
The conflict in Ukraine is compounding what is already a year of catastrophic hunger, unleashing a wave of collateral hunger that is spreading across the globe, transforming a series of terrible hunger crises into a global food crisis the world cannot afford.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the Sahel region, the Sudan and Syria remain ‘countries of very high concern’ with deteriorating critical conditions, as in the previous edition of this report – with Kenya a new entry to the list.
The report finds that – alongside conflict - climate shocks will continue to drive acute hunger in the outlook period from June to September 2022 and we have entered a ‘new normal’ where frequent and recurring droughts, flooding, hurricanes and cyclones decimate farming, drive displacement and push millions to the brink in countries across the world. Read more at WFP
A study conducted by the Guaicuy Institute, in partnership with the Olhar Institute, revealed that demand for mental health care in municipalities affected by the 2019 rupture of the Vale dam in Brumadinho has greatly increased.
The study, conducted between June 2021 and February 2022, focused on ten municipalities located along the Paraopeba River Basin: Curvelo, Pompéu, Abaeté, Biquinhas, Felixlândia, Martinho Campos, Morada Nova de Minas, Paineiras, São Gonçalo do Abaeté and Três Marias.
In all of them, an increase in medical services related to mental illness was identified. In Três Marias, the demand grew 97%. In Felixlândia, the increase was 86%. Read more at Peoples Dispatch
Credit: Alberta NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley at the Claresholm solar power plant inauguration. Credit: Alberta NDP
The Claresholm Solar Project is now up and running. Alberta NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley spoke at the inauguration to help celebrate the progress of renewable energy in Alberta.
The 132MW solar farm operated by Capstone Infrastructure is located 13km southeast of Claresholm, in the Municipal District of Willow Creek. It is the country’s largest operating solar power plant.
"It’s an honour to be invited here today for the inauguration of the Claresholm Solar Project," said Ganley. "This project is a testament to the amazing progress we’ve seen in Alberta’s renewable energy industry. Over the past few years, the efficiency of solar has increased while the cost has fallen dramatically, making it an increasingly attractive investment."
"As the largest solar project in Canada, the Claresholm project has generated hundreds of jobs and will generate millions in property tax revenue," Ganley continued. Read more at High River Online
The owner of Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant, the Eraring station on the shore of Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, has signalled it will close in 2025, seven years earlier than previously planned.
Origin Energy has given the Australian Energy Market Operator (Aemo) notice that will allow it to shut the 2,880MW black coal generator from August 2025. The company said its decision reflected “the rapidly changing conditions in the national electricity market, which are increasingly not well suited to traditional baseload power stations”.
It is the latest in a series of early coal plant closure announcements prompted by the rapid rise of cheaper renewable energy, which reached more than 30% of grid generation last year and is forecast to hit at least 69% by 2030. Read more atthe Guardian
Health workers inspect passengers arriving from high risk countries for MonkeyPox symptoms, at Chennai International Airport in India. Credit: ANI
With more than 13,400 cases (19 July), the recent monkeypox outbreak in Europe and North America has become international news. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reacted by monitoring the progress of monkeypox globally, issuing guidelines regarding testing, and taking immediate measures. But WHO has not yet declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
As long as monkeypox was confined to Africa, where outbreaks have occurred in Central and Western countries for years, it raised little concern. But with monkeypox reaching rich countries, it has become an immediate media event with headlines and TV coverage.
The current outbreak results from not addressing monkeypox in Africa when it was sporadic and could easily have been contained. If monkeypox is easy to detect and contain, why have we let the disease spread unhindered in Africa? Especially when monkeypox outbreaks have been taking place since the seventies, why does the global health system wake up only when the rich countries are affected?
Anthony Fauci, the well-known United States infectious disease expert, said the West believed antibiotics and vaccines had won them victory against the threat of infectious diseases. It is what molecular biologist Peter J Hotez wrote in his book, Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and Their Impact on Global Health and Development. The rich countries believe infectious diseases are only a problem of poor countries and all they have to do is restrict the entry of people from those countries. So it was of little concern to the rich that infectious diseases endemic in poor countries killed millions every year.
The West might have forgotten such diseases, but not the people at risk from tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and other illnesses threatening more than 60% of the world’s population. Belief in ‘victory’ over infectious diseases led to collective amnesia in the West about a host of diseases that still plague the world. Their other mistake was believing microbes do not evolve and our defenses against them will hold for a long time. But diseases have a way of striking back. The AIDS epidemic was the first obvious breach. The Covid-19 pandemic proved we are always only one mutation away from a new infectious disease.
The West’s belief that it could keep infectious diseases outside its borders is what led to its unpreparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic. This is repeating for monkeypox. Read more at Peoples Dispatch
India and China, two Asian nuclear powers who are also longstanding rivals embroiled in the geo-politics of the Indian Ocean region, have remained two of the world’s most populous nations accounting for over a billion people each.
But as the world’s population reaches the 8.0 billion mark, come November, India is projected to surpass China.
The current numbers stand at 1.44 billion people in China and 1.39 billion in India. But the numbers are expected to change as India races ahead of China. The US ranks third with over 335 million people.
Whenever climate change is discussed, written about, or mentioned, the demographic growth of nations can no longer be ignored or dismissed by governments. The planet with 8 billion humans and continuing to grow must be seriously addressed in climate change negotiations.
The stabilization of human populations is essential for limiting the ever-increasing demographic created demands for energy, water, food, land, resources, housing, heating/cooling, transportation, material goods, etc. (See also IPS article: “Climate Change and 8 Billion Humans”) Read more at IPS News
SPOTLIGHT ON INDIGENOUS WELLNESS
Supporting The Papal Visit To Alberta (On The Road To Truth And Reconciliation)
The Government of Alberta is providing support for Pope Francis’ visit to Alberta July 24-27. Pope Francis will arrive in Edmonton on July 24 and take part in events in Edmonton, Maskwacis and Lac Ste. Anne.
The Government of Alberta supports the papal visit and all efforts on the journey toward truth and reconciliation. The government is providing logistical support and is working with partners to ensure the visit is successful.
While the government is working to minimize disruptions for travellers on Alberta highways along the papal motorcade routes, motorists can expect delays due to rolling road closures and should use alternate routes where possible. Read more at Nation Talk
International Health Trends and Perspectives (a new journal based at Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly Ryerson University, Toronto) is dedicating a special issue to the topic of Planetary Health to highlight research, theoretical and community based contributions of scientists, scholars and activists globally. It is inviting manuscripts that are solutions and equity-focused. See the call for papers and details here: https://bit.ly/3tDixHT
November 21-23, 2022: Canadian Conference on Global HealthJoin us in Toronto for the 28th Canadian Conference on Global Health (CCGH). This year's hybrid event will explore the theme of: "Inclusive Global Health in Uncertain Times: Research and Practice".
A couple weeks ago, I did something I haven’t done in over two years. I went on an extended business trip. As I settled in for the six-hour flight to Vancouver, I immediately checked out the movie menu and couldn’t believe my luck: Dune. The allegory about the moral dangers of colonialism is filled with symbolism, action, and plot twists, and it’s set in a mysterious world that grabs hold of you immediately, refusing to let go for a full three hours — in other words, for half the flight.
My entire life, I’ve been a sucker for that kind of story.
When I was little, both my parents worked, and I was raised largely by my grandmother, who lived in the downstairs apartment of our 2-family house. My grandmother, my Baba, was a painter who spent her days in her back bedroom studio, working viscous, multi-coloured puddles of acrylic paints into flowers.
Midway through each day, Baba would rinse her hands in turpentine and treat herself to lunch, usually a few slices of bread with butter, a mug of coffee, and a cigarette. Menthols, coffee and turpentine. That was the smell of my childhood.
Before getting back to work, my grandmother would usually follow up lunch with a nap on the couch…at least she would try. Because more often than not, I would crawl onto the sofa next to her, and ask her to tell me a story about Ukraine. But she and I both understood that the story I really wanted to hear was more accurately titled Escape from Ukraine. I wanted to hear about the war. What happened to them, and how they made it to our brick, two family home near Cleveland, Ohio...
...Because this is no story. This isn’t Dune. This isn’t an allegory about the moral dangers of colonialism. This is Russian imperialism — raw, unvarnished, bloody and cruel. Brought to you daily on TikTok. This is as real as it’s ever been. Only this time, we can see what it really looks like. This time, we can feel it.
Because it turns out our grandparents’ stories were never just stories. They were a warning, largely unheeded, that history is something that happens to you — and that everyone you love is just a character in a tale penned by an unfeeling hand.
So maybe it’s fitting that Ukrainians, in the most decisive moment of their history, have chosen as their leader a storyteller. One who knows that the key to a good story is to keep rewriting it until you get the ending you’re looking for. An ending where NATO countries provide Ukrainians with the exact weapons and training they need, where Germany chooses the right side of history over the comforts of Russian fossil fuels, and where the global business community helps to rebuild Ukraine into the modern, democratic free market nation they always hoped Russia would eventually become.
Critical knowledge of what we know about health and disease, risk factors, causation, prevention and treatment, derives from epidemiology. Unfortunately, its methods and language can be misused and improperly applied. A repertoire of methods, techniques, arguments and tactics are used by some people to manipulate science, usually in the service of powerful interests, and particularly those with a financial stake related to toxic agents. Such interests work to foment uncertainty, cast doubt and mislead decision makers by seeding confusion about cause-and-effect relating to population health.
We have compiled a toolkit of the methods used by those whose interests are not aligned with the public health sciences. Professional epidemiologists, as well as those who rely on their work, will thereby be more readily equipped to detect bias and flaws resulting from financial conflict-of-interest, improper study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation, bringing greater clarity—not only to the advancement of knowledge, but, more immediately, to policy debates.
The world is adopting renewable energy at an unprecedented pace,and solar power is leading the way.
Despite a 4.5% fall in global energy demand in 2020, renewable energy technologies showed promising progress. While the growth in renewables was strong across the board, solar power led from the front with 127 gigawatts installed in 2020, its largest-ever annual capacity expansion.
The above infographic uses data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to map solar power capacity by country in 2021. This includes both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power capacity.
Hospital Opens In Spain For Irish On Waiting Lists
Credit: RTE (Ireland's National Public Service Media) A new hospital has officially opened in Spain, with dedicated use for treating patients on long public waiting lists in Ireland, as part of a major new healthcare agreement.
Patients will be treated under the EU Cross Border Directive, whereby the Health Service Executive (Ireland) covers the price of treatment up to the cost it would be in Ireland.
The new 64-bed hospital is Hospital HCB Dénia in Costa Blanca, Alicante. Initially, around 1,500 Irish patients will get routine planned surgeries each year at the facility.
How Technology Is Changing The Face Of Medicine (free eBook)
Credit: Book Cover
How do hospitals and tech giants safeguard patient data and privacy while advancing biomedical research? What role will artificial intelligence come to play in health care? And how can the companies developing new tools make them more accessible to everyone?
Those questions were center stage at the 2022 STAT Health Tech Summit, which brought together the most prominent leaders working at the intersection of health and technology. We heard from top thinkers at Apple and Alphabet, leading privacy researchers, and the innovative thinkers behind new startups trying to shake things up.
This collection of stories lays out the most pressing issues in health care that tech could help solve, the exciting new ideas to make that happen, and the barriers to pulling them off.
Over 2.93 Million Ethiopian Children Out Of School Due To Conflict, Drought: UN
Credit: More than 2.93 million children across Ethiopia remain out of school. /Getty Images
More than 2.93 million children across Ethiopia remain out of school due to a combination of conflict and drought, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
In the latest Ethiopia Situation Report, UNOCHA said 2.53 million children drop out of school due to conflict and 401,000 children are out of school because of drought.
The UNOCHA report also stated about 85% of schools in Ethiopia's Tigray region need desks and blackboards, as well as 4,400 schools in parts of Ethiopia's Afar and Amhara regions. The report further stated school feeding programs for more than one million primary school children have been impacted by school closures.
"Generally, high humanitarian needs are likely to continue well into 2023 due to expanding drought and increased violence," the UNOCHA report disclosed.
The UNOCHA report also disclosed that 20 million people in Ethiopia, including 13 million people in northern Ethiopia have been identified to be food insecure and in need of food assistance.
Citadel Hill was built to protect the Halifax port from European intruders. It was so well fortified that it was never actually utilized as no one attempted to ever invade! It was also stocked with enough supplies to survive a 6 week siege. Today, the citadel is a historic site where on site actors provide guided tours!
JULY 14, 2022
The waterfront features old ships that can be toured throughout the day, as well as many local shops and restaurants. Downtown, many of the historical buildings have been reclaimed and reused for modern day purposes.
Museum of Natural History
JULY 15, 2022
The museum of natural history featured a Mastodon exhibit! The mastodon is a relative of the wooly mammoth and roamed North American for over 20,000,000 years! The last recorded mastodon was said to be 80,000 years old.
Below are photos of a juvenile mastodon that was found in Nova Scotia in a sink hole by a miner in the 80s! The mastodon was estimated to be 6 years old!
Rainbow Haven Beach and the
Salt Marsh Trail
Coal Harbour, NS
JULY 9, 2022
The Salt Marsh Trail is a sanctuary for maturing salmon. Many species of bird can also be observed here such as the great blue heron and the osprey!
Rainbow Haven Beach is located in Coal Harbour and is a local favorite for family beach days!
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