LOL, I’ve been doing my best to think of positive and good things this past week to try to get out of the pessimistic mindset I continue to develop. A few days ago got me right into the mood. Looking out over a lake, all of a sudden two Canada Geese families paddled by, four adults and 11 darling goslings. I thought, what a wonderful place, where there’s peace and security to live and flourish. Being 200 km north of Toronto I see lots of nature’s beauty all over, especially now with Spring in full swing, with many small animals, birds, insects, colourful flowers and the many Spring shades of green (see Endshots). The mind can really rest when the noise is blocked out.
In trying to retain inspiration and momentum in environmental wellness and global health my thoughts rely on:
Geese returning to northern areas in their beautiful V formation.
Nature get-aways and the wonderful national and provincial park systems we Canadians have for camping, hiking, water activities, forest bathing and breathing in nature.
Indigenous peoples in Canada finally getting some standing and progress on reconciliation.
The great number of teachers working to inspire their students to action and leadership.
The great engagement of universities, their professors, teaching and research.
The various media working to spread facts and analysis, to expose and combat injustice, mis-information, conspiracies and green-washing.
The huge number of health care workers all over the world, including those engaged in international solidarity, sharing their skills and knowledge in foreign lands.
So many great NGOs, including religious ones, working diligently on their missions to improve the environment and biodiversity, reduce carbon emissions, fight poverty, ensure food security and protect human health…including the ones that I have personally worked with including: Horizons of Friendship, Volunteer International Christian Service, Development and Peace, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, Population Media Center, World Vision, Health Poverty Action, and Farm Radio International.
The incredible amount of research going on to enable the new green economy, including working on new replacement energy sources (solar, wind and hydrogen, even nuclear) and storage (batteries, again hydrogen, perhaps even carbon capture and storage), with such momentum that these technologies to get us off fossil fuels have never been more cost-effective.
The seeding of coral reefs to either add resilience or replace destroyed reefs, and now synergizing this with offshore wind turbines, which also protect fish species, create new spawning area and provide hunting grounds for seals.
Poland (and other neighbouring nations) warmly welcoming millions of Ukrainian refugees.
The huge Western support of Ukraine against Russia.
The leadership of Volodymyr Zelenksyy and even Joe Biden in fighting against deadly mind boggling aggression.
New vaccines for Covid-19 and malaria.
Forgetting about the Ottawa ‘trucker’ protest against Covid-19 mandates, and almost forgetting about Covid-19 at times; and the current downward trend of Covid-19 with hopefully some type of end in sight.
Discovering new things about Earth and the Universe…like a newly discovered sink hole in China growing a forest, the world’s largest plant at 181 kilometres, and photographs of distant galaxies.
The UN system’s and its Secretary General’s unwavering commitment to fighting the climate crisis and improving global health.
The few (and growing) number of businesses that are reducing their carbon emissions, and Canadian Mark Carney working relentlessly to get business on-side developing a green economy.
The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission's plan to require all domestic or foreign registrants to include climate-related information in its registration statements and periodic reports.
And, how about freshly squeezed orange juice?
And also just today, making me very happy, the announcement that the G7 plans to stop overseas fossil fuel development by the end of this year.
Heavy pre-monsoon rains in India and Bangladesh have washed away train stations, towns and villages, leaving millions of people homeless as extreme weather events, including heat waves, intense rainfall and floods, become more common in South Asia.
More than 60 people have been killed in days of flooding, landslides and thunderstorms that have left many people without food and drinking water and have isolated them by cutting off the internet.
The devastation in India’s northeast, one of the worst affected regions, has submerged railway tracks, bridges and roads. In the remote state of Assam, 31 of its 33 districts have been affected by floods, affecting the lives of more than 700,000 people. At least 18 people have died in the state because of floods and landslides, according to news reports. Read more at the Globe and Mail.
Never before has the case for keeping oil, fossil gas, and coal in the ground been stronger. And despite an array of new ‘net zero’ pledges released in the past two years, the climate promises of major U.S. and European oil and gas companies still fail to meet the bare minimum for alignment with the Paris Agreement.
This report, titled “Big Oil Reality Check,” is an update from an inaugural 2020 study which analyzed the latest climate pledges of BP, Chevron, Eni, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell, and TotalEnergies against 10 minimum benchmarks for alignment with the 1.5°C temperature goal outlined in the Paris Agreement. We reveal that these eight oil and gas companies alone are involved in over 200 expansion projects on track for approval from 2022 through 2025 — equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 77 new coal power plants.
Residents of Belmont County in eastern Ohio have long suffered from health problems they suspected were the result of air pollution from fracking facilities, but regulators dismissed and downplayed their concerns. With technical assistance from volunteer scientists, local advocacy groups set up their own network of low-cost sensors. They found that the region's three EPA sensors were not providing an accurate picture: The sensors revealed concerning levels of air pollution, and correlations between local spikes and health impacts.
At reNews.biz: Ørsted enters North Sea rewilding pact
Ørsted, headquartered in Denmark, is partnering with ARK Nature to test the potential of rewilding principles to restore vital ocean biodiversity as the renewable energy transition gathers pace. One initial focus is restoring shellfish reefs that are fundamental to ecological restoration in the North Sea and to use learnings from the project to develop the best ways to scale up work globally to ensure an overall net-positive impact on nature when building offshore wind farms.
Globally, nationally and locally, the pandemic still continues in many to most all countries, with cases continuing to decline and deaths up sharply this week. The Covid-19 pandemic remains far from being over.
The virus is still circulating widely; take care. Vaccination remains the best way to be safe from serious consequences, including long Covid; ensure to get all the shots you can.
Over the last week there is again about 4 million new cases (though testing is sorely insufficient and many mild cases go unreported), ~14,000 deaths (increasing ~20%) and about 141 million people received a Covid-19 vaccine (up ~60%).
See below for a few global stats and current hotspots.
North Korea breached two million fever cases as Kim Jong-un faces a stark choice about whether to shun foreign aid to protect his strongman image, or to accept overseas help to prevent what health experts warn could be a catastrophic loss of lives to Covid-19.
North Korea and Eritrea – both impoverished and ruled by brutal authoritarians – are the only two countries in the world that have refused to vaccinate their populations, leaving some 32 million people at higher risk of severe disease and death from mutating Covid variants.
In both isolated nations, the ruling elites are rumoured to be already vaccinated, but have made an outward political show of refusing to join global vaccine-sharing initiatives. . Read more at Telegraph.
Health authorities in Mozambique declared an outbreak of wild poliovirus type 1 after confirming that a child in the country’s north-eastern Tete province had contracted the disease. This marks the second imported case of wild poliovirus in southern Africa this year, following an outbreak in Malawi in mid-February.
So far, one case in Mozambique – the country’s first since 1992 – has been detected. The virus was found in a child who began experiencing onset of paralysis in late March. Genomic sequencing analysis indicates that the newly confirmed case is linked to a strain that had been circulating in Pakistan in 2019, similar to the case reported in Malawi earlier this year.
The case in Mozambique and the earlier one in Malawi do not affect Africa’s wild poliovirus-free certification because the virus strain is not indigenous. Africa was declared free of indigenous wild polio in August 2020 after eliminating all forms of wild polio from the region.. Read more at WHO Afro
The pine forests around Irpin are Oleh Bondarenko's happy place. He discovered them as a child, when his mom sent him to the area for summer camp, and he has been coming back ever since.
"It's a place full of memories. Vorzel, Irpin, Bucha, the forests, the fresh air. For me, this is a place of respite," the 64-year-old environmental scientist told CNN during a recent trip to Irpin.The hour-long journey from Kyiv -- a trip he has made many times over the decades -- was filled with anguish for Bondarenko, who worried what he would find in Irpin. "This is the first time I am coming back since our brothers 'visited' Irpin," he said, referring to Russian troops.
In addition to the human toll, the destruction Russian forces caused to the landscape here is brutal and omnipresent: Scorched earth, forest floors ravaged by missiles, and trees broken down and uprooted, while abandoned military equipment litters the ground. Many of the town's neat houses lie in ruins; the woodland and green spaces around them are off limits. Read more at CNN
Heavy gunfire recently rained on a once-quiet neighbourhood in Haiti’s capital that has become the battlefield in a gang fight that has killed at least 20 people, injured more than a dozen, and forced thousands to flee their homes.
Parents clenched their children’s hands as they balanced bags on their heads with the few belongings they could save after gang members expelled them from their homes.
The fighting blazes in four districts on the northern side of Port-au-Prince reached their height in criminal violence, which has surged as increasingly powerful gangs try to control more territory during the political power vacuum left by the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Read more at nycaribnews
When the World Health Organization approved a malaria vaccine for the first time in October 2021, it was widely hailed as a milestone. “This is a historic moment,” said recently re-elected WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement that month.
The vaccine — dubbed RTS,S — promises a 30% reduction in severe malaria in fully vaccinated children. In 2020, a research team estimated that each year, the vaccine could prevent between 3 and 10 million malaria cases, and save the lives of 14,000 to 51,000 small children, depending on how it’s implemented. But, why has it taken so long for it to be developed? Read more at Undark
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland released Volume 1 of the investigative report called for as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive effort to address the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies. This report lays the groundwork for the continued work of the Interior Department to address the intergenerational trauma created by historical federal Indian boarding school policies.
This investigative report is a significant step by the federal government to comprehensively address the facts and consequences of its federal Indian boarding school policies—implemented for more than a century and a half—resulting in the twin goals of cultural assimilation and territorial dispossession of Indigenous peoples through the forced removal and relocation of their children. It reflects an extensive and first-ever inventory of federally operated schools, including profiles and maps.
The investigation found that from 1819 to 1969, the federal Indian boarding school system consisted of 408 federal schools across 37 states or then territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and 7 schools in Hawaii. The investigation identified marked or unmarked burial sites at approximately 53 different schools across the school system. As the investigation continues, the Department expects the number of identified burial sites to increase. Read more at Dept of Interior
In Cape Town, South Africa, NewDay United has stepped up during the pandemic to make sure everyone has access to a bright future. As an after-school program, NewDay United is addressing some of the inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19 and helping children and young adults build a better future. They’re providing both hands-on learning and training, and tackling food security with homegrown solutions. Here’s a look at how. Read more at One.
There are some figures whose place in the story of the American past is so central that schoolchildren cannot help but know them: George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, or Rosa Parks. But there is also a group of people who have not passed into national legend, and perhaps whose lives are not considered fit to explain to children. They are most likely to be encountered, if they are encountered at all, in the institutions that often engage the attention of young people between the ages of 18 and 22. Among those, there is probably only a single person who will be discovered almost exclusively by two generally nonoverlapping groups: avid readers of the corpus of Noam Chomsky, and members of the Marine Corps. That man, standing lonely astride the lens-shaped center of a peculiar Venn diagram, has the unlikely name of Smedley Darlington Butler. Read more at Telegraph
Researchers from Toronto Metropolitan (formerly Ryerson) University are leading critical policy conversations as emerging issues and technologies impact how we consume and use water.
While water research is primarily led by scientists and engineers, politics and public administration professor Carolyn Johns, urban and regional planning professor Pamela Robinson and law and business professor Patricia Hania are examining areas where policy and legislation around water are slow to adapt to current urban realities.
“Toronto Metropolitan University’s focus on collaboration allows our researchers to not only see the broad implications of our water use through a policy lens, but also zeros in on the emerging issues with an eye toward future impact,” said vice-president, research and innovation, Steven N. Liss. “The conversation around urban water infrastructure and management must be an ongoing, evolving discussion.”. Read more at torontomu
SPOTLIGHT ON INDIGENOUS WELLNESS
Thirsty and Forgotten: Water Insecurity Threatens Future of Colombia’s Indigenous Groups
Wayuu leader Alexander Palmar inspects a well with his cousin. Credit: Catherine Ellis
In a small hut made of cactus and mud, three children lie bundled together in a hammock, their faces smothered in a thick brown paste of mushrooms and goat fat to protect their skin from the sun. “They’re tired, they’ve just got back from fetching water from the jagüey,” says their mother Anabel, nodding towards the plastic cartons outside, basking in the afternoon heat.
It is rainy season in La Guajira, a remote state on Colombia’s rugged northern peninsula, home to the country’s largest indigenous group, the Wayuu. But there has been little rainfall.
In Castillete, a community of about 2,000 people, the large jagüey – or traditional reservoir – should be full. But it’s been empty for four months. The nearest one with water is a two-hour walk across windswept dusty plains, with no shade from an unforgiving sun. Read more at The Telegraph
Quote Of The Week:
“The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”
Marcus Garvey, Sr. ONH (1887 – 1940) was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur and orator. He was known as the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Associationaiming to achieve Black nationalism through the celebration of African history and culture.
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 Health Join 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".
FYI#1 SPOTLIGHT ON MEDIA
Visualizing the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies
Credit: Visual Capitalist
Who are the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies?
Some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies have played a central role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it’s likely no surprise that the pandemic has also been great for many healthcare businesses. In fact, in 2020 alone, the world’s 50 largest pharmaceutical companies still combined for a whopping $851 billion in revenues.
In this graphic, using data from Companies Market Cap, we list the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by market capitalization. It’s worth noting this list also includes healthcare companies that work closely with pharmaceuticals, including biotech, pharmaceutical retailers, clinical laboratories, etc.
A new study shows that a longer period of exclusive breastfeeding was associated with decreased odds of current asthma.
Pregnant women and new mothers are often presented with information on the benefits of breastfeeding their infants. A new study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) shows that a longer period of exclusive breastfeeding was associated with decreased odds of current asthma.
"The results of the study indicated that the longer a mother exclusively breastfed, the lower the relative odds of her child having asthma, or asthma-related outcomes," said Keadrea Wilson, MD, lead author of the study and Assistant Professor of Neonatology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. "There was a 'dose-response' effect depending on how long the mother breastfed: Babies that were breastfed for 2-4 months had only 64% likelihood of having as many asthma outcomes as those who were breastfed less than 2 months; those breastfed for 5-6 months had 61% likelihood, and those breastfed for more than 6 months had a 52% likelihood."
Antioxidants are a must in your diet if you want to age in a healthy way. Their well-documented health benefits include slowing the effects of aging, which means they’ll help you feel younger for longer. That’s why it’s so important to be consuming antioxidant rich foods on a regular basis. They feed your body at the cellular level and keep its protective defenses working full-force. As more studies have been done on antioxidants, we have more insight into which foods contain the most. The highest antioxidant foods on earth are little known to many people and may surprise you. However, there are also plenty of more common foods high in antioxidants that can go right on your shopping list, as you’re about to see. They include: coffee cherries, sumac, Indian gooseberries, sorghum bran, baobab, acai berries...and 13 common foods are also listed.
Scientists Find Sea Corals are Source of Sought-after 'Anti-cancer' Compound
Credit: Article The bottom of the ocean is full of mysteries but scientists have recently uncovered one of its best-kept secrets. For 25 years, drug hunters have been searching for the source of a natural chemical that had shown promise in initial studies for treating cancer. Now, researchers report that easy-to-find soft corals -- flexible corals that resemble underwater plants -- make the elusive compound.
Global Climate Change And Human Health: From Science To Practice (2nd Edition)
Credit: Book Cover
The Second Edition of Global Climate Change and Human Health delivers an accessible and comprehensive exploration of the rapidly accelerating and increasingly ubiquitous effects of climate change and global warming on human health and disease. The distinguished and accomplished authors discuss the health impacts of the economic, climatological and geopolitical effects of global warming. You'll learn about: The effect of extreme weather events on public health and the effects of changing meteorological conditions on human health; How changes in hydrology impact the spread of waterborne disease and noninfectious waterborne threats; Adaptation to, and the mitigation and governance of, climate change, including international perspectives on climate change adaptation. Perfect for students of public health, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, Global Climate Change and Human Health, Second Edition is an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in the intersection of climate and human health and disease.
Millions of school children across large parts of sub-Saharan Africa are sat silently in classrooms, struggling to follow lessons, and not progressing in their learning due to an insistence that all lessons should be taught in English, say the authors of a new report.
Publisher and Editor: Dr. David Zakus Production: Aisha Saleem & Julia Chalmers Social Media: Mahdia Abidi, Shalini Kainth and Ishneer Mankoo Website, Index and Advisory: Eunice Anteh, Gaël Chetaille, Evans Oppong, Jonathan Zakus, Dr. Aimée-Angélique Bouka & Elisabeth Huang Bloggers: Edward Milner, Dr. Stephen Bezruchka, Aisha Saleem and Dr. Jay Kravitz