Did you ever want something so badly that you continually badgered your parents until you got it? If so, it’s time to remember those skills that worked that day. With the announcement this week by one of Canada’s largest residential gas suppliers wanting to increase its prices and have customers pay for a new $16 billion pipeline, I just about keeled over with such insanity. With almost the entire oil industry doing its best to sink our civilization while making record profits, what’s is happening? Where’s our political and business leadership? Where’s anyone who to fight this (and they are assemblying)? Where is the intelligence we humans are trademarked with? Seems it’s not so any longer. It all makes me think, as I just arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, today that maybe I can escape the insanity for a while. Not likely. But seeing Earth below as I cruised at 37,000 feet (11,000m) inspires me even more. It’s just too wonderful, too beautiful to give up on despite this pandemic of insanity now gone well beyond that of Covid-19.
What made me successful with my parents was making sure that the ask was ‘rational’, something not out of line, and then not giving up until they were convinced, trying my best arguements. Substituting parents for government I feel it’s time to really begin to work on it and make sure that this pipeline and all other new oil, gas and coal infrastructure never gets built. NEVER. How audacious of that company, Enbridge, and all the others proposing such ludicrous investments. We know we must not continue mining more oil, gas and coal than what’s already taking place, which alone is driving Earth’s support systems passed their limits, luckily though not yet past any of the many proposed tipping points. But we are getting too close, and for many it’s already too late.
I remember the Secretary-General of the United Nations saying recenntly that such abhorrent behaviour is taking us for a ride on the ‘highway to climate hell’. Hasn’t Enbridge, Shell, Exxon, Aramco, BHP, Rio Tinto and all their ilk, the many other fossil fuel companies, gotten the message? Maybe the maxim about respecting credible warnings hasn’t gotten to them yet, and maybe governments are too bought to stop them, even to regulate them properly and for sure to stop subsidizing them. Maybe the banks aren’t smart enough to divert their payloads from Earth shattering investments, maybe educators aren’t doing enough to teach what’s going on, and maybe we citizens are just too complacent or ‘bought’ too by the lies and greenwashing going on and the good life we don’t want to disturb. Whatever happened to love of neighbour, even love of self? And with a war spreading social disruption around the world, and global competition to keep economies, even populations, growing we’ve gotten to the point where parents are scared. Hopefully they won’t fall for the deception. Our children and grandchildren are worth more and we mustn’t leave it to them to solve this giant problem.
As I travel this coming month in Thailand I won’t be forgetting all this, but will try to bring new insights from a different culture into what’s being presented every week in the Planetary Health Weekly. Do keep reading on in today’s edition, 8th of our rapidly progressing new and highly eventful year and remain motivated for the big fight coming.
David Zakus, Editor and Publisher
SUNSET IN DOWNTOWN BANGKOK
February 23, 2023
IN COMPLETE SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINE SEEKING PEACE AND VICTORY
Great Ukrainian Poet T. Shevchenko and His Friend, Doctor A. Kozachkovsky in 1845 (Artist: L. Vitkovsky) in: "The Way Artists See It" (1994) by A. Grando, founder and director of the Central Museum of Medicine of Ukraine in Kyiv. ISBN
Global Biodiversity Framework: Almost 200 Countries Have Signed, But Is It ‘Truly Historic’?
The president of COP15, China's Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu, passes the Global Biodiversity Framework in Montreal, Canada, 19 December 2022. Credit: Julian Haber/UN Biodiversity/Handout via REUTERS
Almost 200 countries have agreed on the new Kumming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at COP15. The framework commits nations to protect 30% of the planet by 2030, increase financing for nature restoration and protection, and halt human-induced extinction - among other measures.
The first on that list, the 30x30 pledge, has been the most hotly discussed part of COP15 - and not just because of its pithy slogan. It is arguably the boldest and most tangible feature of the new framework. If implemented, almost a third of land and sea would be protected by the end of the decade.
The reaction to the GBF has been broadly positive, yet its limitations have not gone unnoticed. Anne Larigauderie's “one major regret”? The absence of milestone numbers for the three levels of biodiversity - genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity. This lack of granularity means there are only outcomes for 2050 secured, without any intermediary targets. Others also have their doubts about the strength of the agreement, and at this stage are only cautiously optimistic - particularly as, much like the Paris Agreement, this is not a legally binding commitment.
Which countries have not agreed to the GBF?
Only two countries in the world did not attend COP15: the United States and the Vatican. While President Biden committed his administration to the 30x30 goal in 2021, the US is notably not a signatory of the GBF.
Does the GBF address Indigenous Rights?
Throughout the framework, there are references to Indigenous communities and knowledge - 18 times in fact. This is a major departure from the usual language used in biodiversity commitments, in which Indigenous groups have been largely ignored.
There is now less sea ice surrounding the Antarctic continent than at any time since we began using satellites to measure it in the late 1970s.Three of the last record-breaking years for low sea ice have happened in the past seven years: 2017, 2022 and now 2023.
How unusual is this new record?
Scientists consider the behaviour of the Antarctic sea ice to be a complicated phenomenon which cannot simply be ascribed to climate change. It's likely this year's record sea-ice minimum has been influenced by the unusually high air temperatures to the west and east of the Antarctic Peninsula. These have been 1.5C above the long-term average.
Computer models had predicted that it would show a long-term decline, much like we have seen in the Arctic, where summer sea-ice extent has been shrinking by 12-13% per decade as a result of global warming. But the Antarctic hasn't behaved like that.
Why is this important?
Freezing seawater at the surface of the ocean expels salt, making the water below denser, causing it to sink. This is part of the engine that drives the great ocean conveyor - the mass movement of water that helps regulate energy in the climate system. Sea ice is also hugely important for life at the poles. The algae that cling to the ice are a source of food for the small crustaceans known as krill, which are a basic food resource for whales, seals, penguins and other birds. Sea ice is also a platform on which some species will haul out and rest.
Energy giant Enbridge is plotting a multibillion-dollar expansion to its gas network in Ontario that would lock the province into a fossil fuel future for decades to come. In a 7,000-plus-page application, the Calgary-based fossil fuel company is asking the Ontario Energy Board to approve a rate hike for customers that would fund a dramatic spending increase to expand its gas network with new pipes across the province.
The plan conflicts with the city’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the company’s failure to show replacing the pipeline was necessary.
An 'Inland Tsunami': 15 Million People are At Risk From Catastrophic Glacial Lake Outbursts, Researchers Find
Dig Tsho in the Langmoche valley, Khumbu Himal, Nepal. This lake breached in 1985 due to an ice avalanche-induced impulse wave, causing catastrophic damage downstream. Credit: Article
Glaciers around the world are melting at an alarming rate, and are leaving massive pools of water in their wake. The meltwater fills the depression left behind by the glacier, forming what's known as a glacial lake. As temperatures get warmer and more pieces of the glacier melt away, the lake rises — and living downstream from one could be incredibly dangerous. If the lake rises too high or the surrounding land or ice gives way, the lake could burst, sending water and debris rushing down mountains.
This phenomenon is called a glacial lake outburst, and according to a study just published in the journal Nature Communications, the roughly 15 million people around the globe that live within 30 miles of a glacial lake are at risk. More than half of them are concentrated in just four countries — India, Pakistan, Peru and China. A glacial lake outburst is like an "island tsunami". Its impact can be compared to a sudden dam collapse.
These floods happen with little to no warning. Previous glacial lake outbursts have killed thousands of people and destroyed property and critical infrastructure.
The study found the region most exposed to these outbursts is High-Mountains Asia, which includes Nepal, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. On average, every person in this region lives within roughly six miles of a glacial lake, scientists noted. But the Andes region, including Peru and Bolivia, was one of the most concerning, considering how little research has been done in the area.
Melting glaciers are one of the clearest, most visible signs of the climate crisis. As temperatures continue to warm, this research could help global leaders determine which countries are most in need of early warning systems for extreme flooding caused by glacial melt.
Marburg Disease: Ebola-like Virus Suspected in Second Country (Cameroon)
Credit: World Health Organization
Cameroon has detected two suspected cases of the deadly Marburg disease, days after neighboring Equatorial Guinea declared an outbreak of the Ebola-like virus. Forty-two people who came into contact with the two children have been identified and contact tracing was ongoing, he added.
Equatorial Guinea, which is home to just 1.6 million people, has so far reported nine deaths as well as 16 suspected cases of Marburg. Symptoms include fever, fatigue and blood-stained vomit, and diarrhea. More than 4,000 people have been placed in quarantine at their homes.
Researchers collected sediment cores near the Ebro delta to trace decades of microplastics trapped on the seafloor. Credit: Lena Heins
The world produces about 380 million metric tons of plastic annually. A huge share of plastic debris ends up in the world’s oceans, riversc and lakes in the form of microplastics, contaminating countless ecosystems and threatening animals and humans.
A new study conducted in the Mediterranean Sea hints at the scale of the problem. Researchers found that the mass of particles that have settled to the seafloor mimics global plastic production over the past five decades. Once buried in sediment, the study found, microplastics remain intact. Additionally, it has been found that the mass of microplastics in the seafloor sediments had tripled in the past 20 years, and its accumulation followed the same trend observed in global plastic production.
“We were surprised that the results fit so well with the global production,” said study coauthor Michaël Grelaud, a paleoceanographer at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in Spain. “The fact that we impact our environment is clear: We are capable of beautiful things that last thousands of years, but at the same time, in less than 70 years, we were able to distribute this plastic all around the world. It is sad.”
Ex-Nigerian Minister Appointed CEO of Top Global Health Initiative GAVI
Nigeria's former Minister of State for Health, Muhammed Pate Credit: Article
Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Health, Muhammad Pate, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the vaccine alliance, GAVI. Mr Pate will assume duties on 3 August when he will take over from Seth Berkley, who has well led the alliance in the past 12 years, GAVI announced on Monday.
As Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health between 2011 and 2013, he led a flagship initiative to revive routine vaccinations and primary health care, chaired a presidential task force to eradicate polio, and introduced new vaccines into the country.
Commenting on the appointment, the Chair of the GAVI Board, José Barroso, said: “Dr Muhammad Ali Pate stood out in a field of world-class candidates. With his knowledge and experience of both national immunization programming and international emergency response and global finance, I am confident that GAVI will continue to build on its vision and mission, as well as navigate the many challenges and opportunities we will face.”
Chronic Disease Care Integration into Primary Care Services in sub-Saharan Africa: A ‘Best Fit’ Framework Synthesis and New Conceptual Model
Credit: Frontiers USA
To examine the relevance of existing chronic care models for the integration of chronic disease care into primary care services in sub-Saharan Africa and determine whether additional context-specific model elements should be considered.
Two conceptual models of chronic disease care, comprising six themes, were used to develop the a priori framework. The systematic review of primary research identified 16 articles, within which all 6 of the a priori framework themes, along with 5 new themes: Improving patient access, stigma and confidentiality, patient-provider partnerships, task-shifting, and clinical mentoring. A new conceptual model was constructed from the a priori and new themes.
The a priori framework themes confirm a need for co-ordinated, longitudinal chronic disease care integration into primary care services in sub-Saharan Africa. Analysis of the primary research suggests integrated care for HIV and diabetes at a primary care level is feasible and new themes identified a need for a contextualised chronic disease care model for sub-Saharan Africa.
Covid-19 continues to spread globally; it is not going away, the pandemic continues, but now to a lower extent. Information about Covid-19's presence in our communities and outcomes is hard to find, and many erroneously feel it's over. In Canada, it is still infecting many and killing about 32/day (down slightly since last week) with total deaths now well over 50,000. Collective action, data reporting and leadership have all but disappeared.
Over the last week, reported cases are down by about 30% to ~140,000/day; deaths down about 33% to ~1000/day; and vaccinations are up again to about 3.4 million/day.
Vaccination, despite ongoing concerns about waning immunity and much misinformation, along with other proven public health measures, remain the best ways to keep yourself and others safe from serious consequences.
See below for more global stats and current hotspots.
Note even fewer high risk areas, a continuing good sign.
"It is the plague in seemingly all sincerity." Bob Woodward
After 3 Years Of Covid, CNN Went Into Rural China For Lunar New Year. Here’s What We Found And How Officials Tried Stopping Us
Government minders follow CNN into a village clinic. Credit: CNN
China’s CDC says the Covid peak across the country has passed since the government abandoned its zero-Covid policy.
It says that 80% of the population, or more than 1.1 billion people, have already been infected. Health authorities claim that visits to clinics for fever and Covid hospitalizations have declined since their peaks in late December and early January.
Experts say China’s population had almost no underlying natural immunity before reopening, while existing Chinese vaccines offer limited protection against infection from Omicron, so one massive wave ended up sweeping over the whole country – hitting rural and urban areas almost simultaneously.
What makes China different is that Covid “can spread like wildfire without any impediment”, said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. “The speed and scale of the spread challenged conventional wisdom. Almost at the same time Covid was wreaking havoc in urban areas, we saw the rapid increase of infections in many parts of rural China.”
But Huang adds that the government has not released accurate data on the scale and toll of the outbreak. The Chinese government says more than 72,500 people with Covid died in hospitals between December 8 and January 19, but the World Health Organization has suggested these numbers “under-represent the true impact of the disease.”
In rural areas, experts say there’s likely far more silent suffering. More people likely died at home because they couldn’t afford, or were unable, to get to the hospital.
The Impact of the International Marine Protected Areas Congress
I had the privilege of attending the 5th International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) in Vancouver on behalf of Planetary Health Weekly from February 3rd to 9th.
My first thought was “wow, an overwhelming number of people dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans and conserving biodiversity are here”. This observation was immediately followed by an intense feeling of gratitude to bear witness to this gathering of diverse individuals all learning and sharing together. Not only was I astounded by the academic diversity in the building (from citizen scientists, to academics, to researchers, to policy makers, to current world leaders and youth/young professionals) but also the amazing cultural diversity that was present. There were over 130 different nationalities present. Not to mention so many incredible Indigenous leaders from all parts of Canada and around the world.
The congress focused on 5 main themes: 1. Building a Global Marine Protected Area Network 2. Managing Marine Protected Areas and Human Activity 3. Conserving Biodiversity and Addressing the Climate Crisis 4. Advancing Conservation in the Blue Economy 5. Connecting Ocean, Culture and Human Well-Being
The main point was clear from the start of the congress. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are vital to conserving the health of our oceans and in turn our planet. The point was immediately followed by the harrowing fact that we are far from the goal of having 30% of our oceans protected by 2030. Aulani Wilhelm (a Hawaiian native, conservationist,and political leader) highlighted in her keynote address that currently only about 8% of the world’s ocean is protected. It took nearly 25 years to achieve 8%, and somehow we need to get to 30% in the next 7 years.
And what happens when we achieve 30%? Is the world suddenly saved? Marine biodiversity restored forever? Not even close. Aulani was clear that 30%x cannot be a blind drive. It is a target, but it can’t be the end. She emphasized that we need scaled solutions to achieve this, and that “the benefits derived from MPAs need to be shared equitably”.
Bearing this sense of urgency in mind, we need to proceed cautiously and thoughtfully. Political targets and agendas must not be pushed and forced upon communities that aren’t ready for them. Both Aulani and Cristina Mittermeier (scientist, wildlife photographer and cofounder of SeaLegacy) cautioned for the importance of community led change. Cristina gave an example of this from Mexico where there has been a reduction in shark finning due to local fishermen pivoting to jobs in tourism rather than fishing. However, the success of this project is due to the relationship building between conservationists, local government and shark fishermen. The development of these relationships led to a mutual understanding of the needs of the fishermen, while also meeting government targets. The fishermen were supported by the local government and NGOs to pivot to tourism, preventing them from being left without a means of income. This is a great example of how NGOs, governments and the local people can work together to improve the health of our oceans.
Hastily implemented conservation and climate policies are not only ineffective but they also disadvantage local communities. Pelika Andrade, a Hawaiian native and proponent of Indigenous led management of Hawaii’s watersheds and coastline echoed the need for Indigenous involvement in the development of ocean conservation policy. She urged leaders in her lecture to walk in the shoes of the people they are making decisions and policy for and to actively work to understand Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing.
The congress also focused on the importance of Indigenous ways of knowing. Indigenous peoples are foundational in land stewardship and marine conservation. An amazing example from the Inuit people of Belcher Islands in Nunavut is the development of SIKU: an indigenous knowledge social network. The Arctic Elder Society identified a need to interconnect the Inuit way of thinking, with research and science.
“The Inuit know the environment is changing, we want you [scientists] to prove it” – Arctic Elder Society
The Inuit’s knowledge is shared through oral history, but they needed a way to quantify it. From this, the Arctic Elder Society developed SIKU, a citizen science data collection app which documents data collected by Inuit fishermen and hunters. Fishermen can upload data on their catch including size, location, sex and diet, while hunters can provide information on their harvest. They can also upload information about their travel routes and total trips. The data gives the community the ability to make real time resource management decisions and highlights the immense benefit of investing in Indigenous led conservation.
I think this conference also turned the spotlight back on Canada. It was Cristina Mittenmeier who pointed out that while Canada is hosting IMPAC5, in November at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Panama, Canada voted AGAINST limiting and regulating the global shark fin trade. This is a sobering reminder that while globally we are making advancements in ocean conservation, Canada needs to put its words into action and begin leading by example.
Following the conference, I’ve had time to reflect. I started thinking about how disconnected health care in Canada is from planetary health. It was the Lancet (April 2022) who said “the future health of the planet and human health are inextricably linked. An estimated 13 million deaths annually are attributable to avoidable environmental causes, and that number will continue to grow unless overconsumption and reliance on fossil fuels are curbed”. I started to think of all the examples of climate related health emergencies I’ve seen working as a nurse in the emergency department over the last 2 years. From heat waves claiming the lives of many elderly and vulnerable persons this past summer, to the lower British Columbia mainland floods causing mass displacement and death of livestock, to the effect pollution and wildfire smoke has on air quality and lung health. Yet for some reason, we in healthcare continue to ignore the fact that our patients’ health is linked to the environment. As one of the largest employment sectors in Canada, we must lobby for biodiversity conservation and blue economy investment. This isn’t just a problem for biologists and policy makers. We need to use our voice to advocate for the health of our planet, because it’s our patient too.
Thank you to IMPAC 5 for granting Planetary Health Weekly media accreditation to attend and report on the congress. And to our editor David for entrusting me to represent our newsletter. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be in the same building as many leading scientists, policy makers, conservationists and Indigenous leaders. Thank you to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations for hosting IMPAC5 on your beautiful, unceded territories.
Julia Chalmers, RN, BScN Planetary Health Weekly Production Manager
SPOTLIGHT ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Lula Accuses Bolsonaro of Genocide Against Yanomami in the Amazon
Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, visiting a Yanomami health venue in a rural area of Boa Vista, Roraima, on 21 January this year. Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/Brazilian Presidency/AFP/Getty Images
Brazil’s new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has accused former president Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right administration of committing genocide against the Yanomami people of the Amazon, amid public outrage over a humanitarian catastrophe in the country’s largest Indigenous territory.
Lula recently visited the Amazon state of Roraima to denounce the plight of the Yanomami, whose supposedly protected lands have been plunged into crisis by government neglect and the explosion of illegal mining.
“More than a humanitarian crisis, what I saw in Roraima was a genocide. A premeditated crime against the Yanomami, committed by a government impervious to the suffering of the Brazilian people,” Lula tweeted one day after visiting an overcrowded clinic for Yanomami patients in Roraima’s capital, Boa Vista.
Lula’s justice minister, Flávio Dino, said he would order a federal police investigation into “strong indications” the Yanomami had suffered crimes including genocide – meaning the deliberate attempt to partially or completely destroy an ethnic, national, racial or religious group.
Horrifying photographs of emaciated Yanomami children and adults emerged on the eve of Lula’s trip, laying bare the scale of the health crisis facing the territory’s estimated 30,000 Indigenous inhabitants.
“The photos really shook me because it’s impossible to understand how a country like Brazil neglects our Indigenous citizens to such an extent,” the president told reporters in Boa Vista.
‘It’s Known as Holy Week’: All Native Basketball Tournament Huge for Indigenous People in B.C.
WATCH: A very special basketball tournament is underway in Prince Rupert this week. Emad Agahi reports. Credit: Article
Hundreds of basketball players, their friends, family members and fans descended on Prince Rupert, B.C., last week for the All Native Basketball Tournament. In its 63rd year, the tournament hosted more than 50 Indigenous teams competing across four different divisions.
It started out as sport, very quickly became social and now it’s culture. So, you have three components that make up the tournament. The All Native serves as a meeting place for various Indigenous communities that would never otherwise have the chance to interact.
“A sense of pride is instilled within this tournament. And everybody wants to represent their community in a good way,” said Collinson, coach of the Skidegate Saints. “The most important part is the mentorship we’ve brought through our community. Hopefully, someone’s able to reach that level and raise the bar for the overall betterment of all our communities.”
Oil and gas companies are lobbying the federal government for billions in tax dollars to push an expensive and unproven technology — carbon capture, utilization and storage — as a magical solution to the climate crisis. But in reality, the real goal is to continue business as usual until every drop of oil is burned.
Scientists have long been clear: this is the most critical decade for climate action. We must cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. Fortunately, we have the tools to achieve this. It has never been easier or more affordable to start putting climate solutions into practice — tools like renewable energy, electrifying our homes and transportation, and making our buildings and industries more energy efficient. Of course, this represents a major threat to powerful fossil fuel companies.
In recent years, as outright climate denial has become increasingly indefensible, fossil fuel companies have pivoted towards a politics of delay. Their latest scheme: pushing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). CCUS is not a climate solution. It’s a distraction from the need for a rapid transformation away from fossil fuel use that is required to keep global warming below catastrophic levels within this decade.
Five decades on from the first carbon capture project, and despite decades of research and tens of billions of dollars in public subsidies globally, carbon capture projects have not made a dent in reducing emissions.
An EU ruling against Meta marks the beginning of the end of targeted ads. Surveillance capitalism just got a kicking. In an ultimatum, the European Union has demanded that Meta reform its approach to personalized advertising.
The ruling, which comes with a €390 million ($414 million) fine attached, is targeted specifically at Facebook and Instagram, but it’s a huge blow to Big Tech as a whole. "It really asks the whole advertising industry, how do they move forward?"
EU regulators did not tell Meta how to reform its operations, but many believe the company has only one option—to introduce an Apple-style system that asks users explicitly if they want to be tracked. Research shows that when given the choice, a large chunk of Apple users (between 54 and 96 percent, according to different estimates) declined to be tracked. If Meta was forced to introduce a similar system, it would threaten one of the company’s main revenue streams.
“If everything becomes opt-in in the future, I think we have gained a lot because then we will actually have to understand what we’re opting into."
Teaching Evidence-Based Medicine: A Toolkit for Educators (Edited by Daniella A. Zipkin)
Credit: Amazon/ Book cover
Practicing evidence-based medicine is widely regarded both as the best clinical practice, and as the cornerstone of meeting the ACGME competencies in Practice-Based Learning and Improvement.
This book provides a modular curriculum structure for instructors, with each topic area taking up one section, or one hour of instructional time.
Developed over the past 14 years as an introductory course for interns in the internal medicine residency program at Duke University, the curriculum will cover core content areas in evidence-based medicine and best teaching practices for them and skills such as literaturesearching and applying evidence to patients. Most importantly, it will centre on actual patient questions and use current literature as examples that instructors can use as teaching exercises. There will also be ample diagrams that have been shown to be effective with learners and each module will include a video tutorial of a sample teaching session.
This is an ideal guide for residency program directors and core faculty, either within internal medicine or more broadly in family medicine, pediatrics, surgery, OB-gyn, as well as all healthcare professions faculty for use with students.
“The Darkness Manifesto: On Light Pollution, Night Ecology, and the Ancient Rhythms That Sustain Life” by Johan Eklöf
Credit: Book Cover
In the bestselling tradition of Why We Sleep and The Sixth Extinction, an urgent and insightful look at the hidden impact of light pollution, and a passionate appeal to cherish natural darkness for the sake of the environment, our own well-being, and all life on earth.
In the last 150 years, we have extended our day—and in doing so have forced out the inhabitants of the night and disrupted the circadian rhythms necessary to sustain all living things, including ourselves.
In this persuasive, well-researched book, Swedish conservationist Johan Eklöf urges us to appreciate natural darkness, its creatures and its unique benefits.
The Darkness Manifesto depicts the domino effect of diminishing darkness: insects, dumbfounded by street lamps, failing to reproduce; birds blinded and bewildered by artificial lights; and bats starving as they wait in vain for food insects that only come out in the dark of night. For humans, light-induced sleep disturbances impact our hormones and weight, and can contribute to mental health problems like chronic stress and depression. The street lamps, floodlights, and neon signs of cities are altering entire ecosystems, and scientists are only just beginning to understand the long-term effects. The light bulb—long the symbol of progress and development—needs to be turned off.
"The scientific consensus about climate change and biodiversity loss is overwhelming. But we urgently need to translate this understanding into a new economic paradigm at the international financial institutions, so that they can reshape their lending practices accordingly." MIA AMOR MOTTLEY and SVENJA SCHULZE
Mia Amor Mottley is Prime Minister of Barbados and a World Bank governor. Svenja Schulze is Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany and a World Bank governor.
Rethinking Artificial Sweeteners? Fake Sugars May Not Cause Cancer but They’re Not Great for Losing Weight Either
Credit: Ruiz-Ojeda et. al.
Let's start by noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned against using artificial sweeteners for weight control. The WHO’s guidelines were issued following a major meta-review of the literature on weight loss and artificial sweeteners published in April. While not final and still open to comment, the guidelines are anything but equivocal. The WHO advises against using artificial sweeteners for dieting purposes.
A recent study reported in Cell magazine agrees. Artificial sweeteners don’t work on a long-term basis. “Higher NSS (non-sugar sweetener) consumption by adults led to lower body weight and BMI … when assessed in short-term randomized controlled trials, but was associated with increased BMI and risk of incident obesity in long-term prospective observational studies.”
Visualizing the Odds of Dying from Various Accidents
Fatal accidents account for a significant number of deaths in the U.S. every year. For example, nearly 43,000 Americans died in traffic accidents in 2021. Without the right context, however, it can be difficult to properly interpret these figures. To help you understand your chances, we’ve compiled data from the National Safety Council, and visualized the lifetime odds of dying from various accidents.
June 22-23, 2023: Positive Zero Transport Futures and Mobility Network will host the Emerging Mobility Scholars Conference at the University of Toronto. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows across Canadian institutions are invited to join in person at the University of Toronto to exchange ideas and showcase research relative to mobility and climate change. https://www.mobilitynetwork.ut...
Publisher and Editor: Dr. David Zakus Production: Emily Aurora Long and Julia Chalmers Social Media: Shalini Kainth, Mahdia Abidi and Ishneer Mankoo Website, Index and Advisory: Edward Milner, Carlos Jimenez, 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 (RIP)