How can it be that we and our governments and businesses are still doing so little to combat the climate crisis when it’s now so overwhelmingly in our faces. Pretty well every day now there is news of new and continuing climate crisis disasters. Are we just hearing and not listening? Just to recap some of what is happening right now caused in great part by the 100 million tons of CO2 (let alone the other greenhouse gases) that we dump into our atmosphere every month by burning coal, oil and gas:
There is extensive mostly unheard of previously heat and/or drought (and often associated out of control fires) in: SW and NE USA, much of Mexico, the Arctic and Antarctic, India, much of China, East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia) now the worst in 40 years, Madagascar, UK, France, Spain (500 dead), Portugal, Russia, Syria, Jordan and Israel, and remember Australia and South Africa in past days.
There is extensive and highly impactful rain causing flooding in Pakistan, south and west China, South Korea, south and eastern USA (35 dead in Kentucky), Laos and Uganda. And who knows where else.
What’s even worse is that many of these events are set to worsen. The impact on food security and livelihoods is horrendous. Even for someone who tries to keep up with it all, it is a daunting challenge.
In Pakistan it is unbelievably devastating with 33 million persons displaced, >1200 deaths and many thousands more sick with vector and waterborne diseases and infections, ~1,000,000 homes destroyed, 200,000 hectares of farmland inundated and huge quantities of crops, harvest and livestock destroyed, 100s of schools and health facilities wiped away, businesses and everything else in the way of the flowing waters destroyed, and about 1/3 of the country flooded. Certainly, too, people’s faith in tomorrow, 'insurance' in life and leadership also has been washed away; let’s hope not solidarity too.
How can it be that there are still people doubting what we’re doing to Earth and its inhabitants, that most governments are doing next to nothing about it all, even exacerbating it by subsidizing oil companies and approving new fossil fuel projects, when they should be doing the exact opposite and actively reducing carbon emissions? How is it that banks are still funding fossil fuel expansion along with irresponsible insurance companies? And then there’s all the lies, greenwashing and immoral actions by the oil companies themselves, still spending millions to sow doubt and conflict.
When will we, including here in Canada, get our act together, and start facing reality and the messages Earth and its scientists are sending us. For sure, it’s already too late for maintaining yesterday’s reality with occasional big storms and droughts, but it’s not too late yet to prevent much greater catastrophe. But, alas, there truly isn’t a lot of hope around this, for the changes that are needed now are just not happening. Sadly too, because of Russia’s war on Ukraine, coal is re-emerging as an energy source. We’re actually going backwards in so many ways. Perhaps we should signal to Earth to start targeting capital cities and then see what happens. Perhaps, too, we are just too mesmerized with a status quo nostalgia to even respond, even when climate heating disasters strike with furrocious speed and intensity. Honestly, what is it going to take?
Please keep thinking of an answer and read on to learn more a in today’s Planetary Health Weekly (#35 of 2022):
CLIMATE CRISIS & BIODIVERSITY UPDATES:
UN weather agency predicts rare ‘triple-dip’ La Niña in 2022,
Deadly Pakistan floods are a climate catastrophe, says UN chief
China’s record drought is drying rivers and feeding its coal habit,
Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change,
Canada welcomes delegates to Montréal in December for biological diversity conference, COP15
How serious are the supply chain issues buffeting the offshore wind sector?
After finally passing a climate bill, US calls on others to act,
Democrats designed the climate law to be a game changer – here’s how (in a first, the measure legally defines greenhouse gases as pollution),
Our world is exploding – how can you help?
WHO and world leaders: how we’re building better, more equitable vaccine systems,
Ensuring widespread and equitable access to treatments for Covid-19,
In an effort to address its missteps during Covid, CDC plans an ‘ambitious’ agency overhaul,
Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/AP
The United Nations weather agency predicts the phenomenon known as La Nina is poised to last through the end of this year, a mysterious “triple dip” – the first this century – caused by three straight years of its effect on climate patterns such as drought and flooding worldwide.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said La Nina conditions, which involve a large-scale cooling of ocean surface temperatures, have strengthened in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific with an increase in trade winds in recent weeks.
A natural and cyclical cooling of parts of the equatorial Pacific, La Nina changes weather patterns worldwide and is usually associated with wetter conditions in some parts of the world, and drier conditions in others.
The better-known El Nino – an opposite phenomenon – is associated with warming in parts of the world.
“It is exceptional to have three consecutive years with a La Nina event,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. He was quick to caution that the “triple dip” of cooling does not mean global warming is easing. “Its cooling influence is temporarily slowing the rise in global temperatures, but it will not halt or reverse the long-term warming trend.” Read more at Aljazeera
At NewScientist: Deadly Pakistan floods are a climate catastrophe, says UN chief
Devastating floods that have killed more than 1000 people in Pakistan are a “climate catastrophe” requiring a strong international response, according to the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres.
“Pakistan is awash in suffering,” said Guterres in a video statement. “The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids – the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding.”
Eight weeks of torrential rain during a severe monsoon season have left a third of Pakistan underwater. In some areas, unprecedented water flows have been estimated by the Global Flood Awareness System, a European satellite monitoring scheme, with the most extreme destruction taking place in the south of the country.
Bed frames and helicopters have been used to rescue people during the floods, which have affected more than 33 million people. Government ministers have claimed the disaster will have an economic cost of more than $10 billion.
Pakistan has long been considered one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change, due to its geography and levels of poverty there. Earlier this year, the country, along with India, was hit by a prolonged and brutal heatwave. Jacobabad, one of the world’s hottest cities, reached a record high of 51°C. A study has since found that climate change made the heatwave at least 30 times more likely.
At NY Times: Democrats Designed The Climate Law to Be a Game Changer. Here’s How. (In a first, the measure legally defines greenhouse gases as pollution making new regulations much tougher to challenge in court.)
When the U.S. Supreme Court restricted the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fight climate change (earlier) this year, the reason it gave was that Congress had never granted the agency the broad authority to shift America away from burning fossil fuels. Now it has.
Throughout the landmark climate law, passed in, is language written specifically to address the Supreme Court’s justification for reining in the E.P.A., a ruling that was one of the court’s most consequential of the term. The new law amends the Clean Air Act, the country’s bedrock air-quality legislation, to define the carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels as an “air pollutant.”
That language, according to legal experts as well as the Democrats who worked it into the legislation, explicitly gives the E.P.A. the authority to regulate greenhouse gases and to use its power to push the adoption of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
The new law includes about $370 billion over 10 years to expand the use of electric vehicles, jump-start renewable energy such as solar and wind power, and develop newer energy sources like clean hydrogen. It is the largest investment in climate-change solutions in United States history, and it is expected to help cut emissions about 40% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade.
Car assembly plants and electronics factories in southwestern China have closed for lack of power. Owners of electric cars are waiting overnight at charging stations to recharge their vehicles. Rivers are so low there that ships can no longer carry supplies.
A record-setting drought and an 11-week heat wave are causing broad disruption in a region that depends on dams for more than three-quarters of its electricity generation. The factory shutdowns and logistical delays are hindering China’s efforts to revive its economy as the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, prepares to claim a third term in power this autumn.
Now, the extreme heat is adding to frustration by snarling power supplies, threatening crops and setting off wildfires. Reduced electricity from hydroelectric dams has prompted China to burn more coal, a large contributor to air pollution and to greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.
Many cities around the country have been forced to impose rolling blackouts or limit energy use. In Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, several neighbourhoods went without electricity for more than 10 hours a day. In Ezhou, a city in central China near Wuhan, the Yangtze River is now at its lowest level for this time of year since record-keeping began there in 1865.
The heat wave has scorched China for more than two months, stretching from Sichuan in the southwest to the country’s eastern coast and sending the mercury above 104 degreesF (40C) on many days. In Chongqing, a sprawling metropolis in the southwest with around 20 million people, the temperature soared to 113 degrees (45C) last week, the first time such a high reading had been recorded in a Chinese city outside the western desert region of Xinjiang.
The searing heat set off wildfires in the mountains and forests on Chongqing’s outskirts, where thousands of firefighters and volunteers have worked to put out blazes. Residents said the air smelled of acrid smoke. The drought has dried up dozens of rivers and reservoirs in the region and cut Sichuan’s hydropower generation capacity by half, hurting industrial production. Volkswagen closed its 6,000-employee factory in Chengdu for the past week and a half, and Toyota temporarily suspended operations at its assembly plant.
Prior to early 2020, climate change and its alleged effects were frequently in the news and therefore more at the forefront of our collective consciousness than ever before. Then Covid-19 began its global rampage, and our concern about carbon footprints was largely replaced by the immediate concerns of a novel and deadly viral pandemic.
Recently many new emergencies have arisen that might need our attention, such as monkeypox, inflation, autocratic threats to our democracy, the risk of a nuclear accident in Ukraine, and the gradual erosion of our civil rights. Surely, any of these can distract our critical thinking away from focused concern about climate change, but we can’t allow that to happen anymore; anticipated climate change disasters are HERE and NOW.
What we can do right now to help:
Save water. By being conscious of how much water we use – and waste. Many counties are undergoing strict water restrictions due to unprecedented drought conditions. Citizens are learning ways to conserve water such as turning off the water tap when brushing teeth and turning it back on to rinse, or taking quick showers instead of baths. It may not seem like much, but in a water crisis, every bit we save helps.
Grow your own. Whenever possible, growing our own food – which may take the form of a potted herb or vegetable garden or joining a community garden – and sharing the harvest when we can is a healthy way to care for ourselves and help our communities.
Save on gas. During the pandemic we learned to consolidate the number of trips we take to run errands throughout the week. Bike more as well as scooter around, if possible. Let’s keep this up as much as possible as it saves our fuel costs as well as lowers our carbon footprint.
Lower utility costs. By unplugging seldom-used electric items in our homes and businesses, we can help mitigate use of gas and electricity. More tips: Replace incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs; use standing or table lamps instead of overhead lights; make sure freezer and refrigerator settings are at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting; wash laundry using cold water and dry on medium heat instead of high: It will take a little longer but save energy and money in the long run.
Educate yourself and your family. Take advantage of the wealth of information on the internet about ways to help ourselves and our planet adapt. When you find a way, share it with others! The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) provides much current information on new technologies along with national and local policy advocacy initiatives.
Globally, nationally and locally, the pandemic continues in many countries. Many though erroneously feel it's over, whereas it just continues with high levels of hospitalization and death and with new founded worries about LC (long covid). Collective action and leadership has all but disappeared.
Over the last week, cases continue at about 700,000/day (same as last week though reporting is highly inaccurate); deaths were up double to about 7300/day; and vaccinations are down from 9 to 7 million/day.
Vaccination, despite ongoing concerns about waning immunity, along with other proven public health measures, remain the best ways to keep yourself and others safe from serious consequences (note the high numbers of deaths), including hospitalization and long Covid. Get all the shots/boosters you can, asap, and practise the other public health measures especially indoors with crowds.
See below for a few global stats and current hotspots:
Thanks to groundbreaking innovation, effective vaccines were developed in record time. However, at the outset, a concentration of vaccine and other health technology production was seen in a few, mostly rich, countries. Poorer nations ended up at the back of the queue. The situation has since changed, with global supply exceeding global demand.
The international community, led through the ACT-Accelerator and its COVAX facility, has played a crucial role, confirming that the response to scourges like COVID-19 requires ample preparedness and new ways of working in order to protect public health. Read more at USA Today
After hearing and seeing simple instructional materials, children and adolescents aged 4 to 14 years self-collected nasal swabs that closely agreed (~98%) on SARS-CoV-2 detection with swabs collected by health care workers.
Public Health Ontario is planning to
soon replace Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table with a new, smaller
group that will be more constrained, according to a science table memo obtained
by The Canadian Press.
The science table’s memo to Public Health
Ontario, sent this week, sets out a long list of concerns with what they
describe as the agency’s plan. They write that it will stifle the new group’s
independence in selecting topics to pursue, not allow for outside scientists to
collaborate with them on briefs, and hamper the group’s ability to communicate
findings to the public.
People wait in line for monkeypox vaccines in Washington DC.
Credit: Bill Clark/Getty Images
Polio, monkeypox, marburg virus, and other infectious diseases are surging around the globe. Experts say there's not one thing driving the surge — a multi-layered perfect storm has been brewing for some time. 2022 has been a banner year for global infectious disease spread — and it's not just COVID.
Here are the top seven factors driving disease outbreaks in 2022.
ONE: Humans and animals have more close contact
TWO: The pace of global travel and migration
THREE: The worsening climate crisis
FOUR: Not enough routine vaccines for kids
FIVE: The whole world is paying the price for years of neglecting developing countries' disease outbreaks
SIX: Our shifting perception of disease threats
SEVEN: We're still not sure how COVID exposure has affected our immune systems
Another pandemic is coming. We could stop it — but experts fear 'we've given up'. Read more at Insider
129,000,000,000 masks were being thrown out every month in 2020 (Credit: iStock)
When you imagine the plastic litter collected in a typical beach clean-up, the image of water bottles, grocery bags or takeout containers likely come to mind. But one of the top plastics found on beaches now is disposable masks. The personal protective equipment (PPE) we’re all using to stay safe from COVID-19 has resulted in a disappointing, if predictable, wave of global garbage.
Just how much garbage? One hundred and twenty-nine billion masks were being thrown out every month in 2020, according to a paper co-authored by Tony Walker, associate professor at Dalhousie’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies. “It’s one thing to have those masks going into the garbage,” he says. “But they leak into the environment. They’ve been turning up in car parks and beside roads, in ditches and in waterways.”
There have been thousands of reported incidents of animals being entangled in masks or ingesting them, and newer research shows that when they break down, most face masks turn into microplastics. “Just like a bag or some other single-use plastic item, masks will start to fragment and weather; they don’t simply go away,” says Walker.
It appears few want to sacrifice their health for a lighter environmental footprint—a trade-off that became especially pronounced with the new variants, as many Canadians switched from cloth masks to disposable N95s.
Even if the market for masks drops as mandates are removed across various provinces, the demand is still expected to exist in health-care. And even among the general public, using a mask in public will never feel as unfamiliar as it did at the outset of the pandemic, says David Fisman, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “The future will likely see us using masks much more readily in North America, much as is already the case, and has been for many years, in Asia,” he says. What’s also not going away is the waste problem. “Waste tonnage from PPE is a huge issue,” Fisman concurs. Read more at CPA Canada
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned sewage into gold.
People who are infected with the coronavirus shed the pathogen in their stool. By measuring and sequencing the viral material present in sewage, scientists can determine whether cases are rising in a particular area and which variants are circulating.
People excrete the virus even if they never seek testing or treatment. So wastewater surveillance has become a critical tool for keeping tabs on the virus, especially as Covid-19 testing has increasingly shifted to the home.
The institutions and localities that invested in wastewater surveillance over the last two years are discovering that it can be used to track other health threats, too. The Sewer Coronavirus Alert Network has already begun tracking the monkeypox virus in wastewater. And last week, New York City officials announced that polio had been detected in the city’s sewage. Read and see more at NY Times
Researchers have published a detailed collection of mortality estimates for diseases, disorders and external factors. The study provides a resource to estimate reductions in life expectancy for a comprehensive range of disorders. The atlas will be a useful tool for clinicians, academics and policymakers looking into links between disorders and mortality estimates, as well as for researchers studying specific diseases. Read more at Science Daily
A lawsuit from an industry group, challenging California’s Omnibus standard for heavy-duty trucks and vans aimed at dramatically cutting emissions, was dropped last week.
The challenge came from the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA), an industry group representing a long list of vehicle makers, including Ford, GM, Honda, Navistar, Paccar, Volkswagen Group North America, and Volvo Group North America.
EMA’s grievance versus the rules that 17 states have signed onto, with aims to electrify 30% of trucks and buses by 2030, was based on a technicality relating to the timeline of the regulation that would have pushed diesel engine makers harder on allowed levels of nitrogen oxide, which relates to smog and public health. It alleged that CARB was not providing the required four full model years of lead time before implementing any new heavy-duty emissions standard, as stipulated in the Clean Air Act. Read more at Green Car Reports
Global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem was targeted for 2020. We reviewed progress towards the elimination of active trachoma by country and geographical group.
We included data until Nov 10, 2021, for 38 countries, representing 2097 ever-endemic implementation units. Of these, 1923 (91·7%) have had mass drug administration. Of 1731 implementation units with a trachoma impact survey, the prevalence of trachoma—follicular among children aged 1–9 years (TF1–9) had reduced by at least 50% in 1465 (84·6%) implementation units and 1182 (56·4%) of 2097 ever-endemic implementation units had reached the elimination threshold. 2 years after reaching a TF1–9 prevalence below 5%, most implementation units sustained this target; however, 58 (56·3%) of 103 implementation units in Ethiopia showed recrudescence.
Global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem by 2020 was not possible, but this finding masks the great progress achieved. Implementation units in high baseline categories and recrudescent TF1–9 might prolong the attainment of elimination of active trachoma. Elimination is delayed but, with an understanding of the patterns and timelines to reaching elimination targets and a commitment toward meeting future targets, global elimination can still be achieved by 2030. Read more at Lancet
Pandemic nihilism has fractured and re-fractured Canadian society, writes Crawford Kilian. Credit: Craig Dingle via Shutterstock.
After two years of the pandemic, Canada might well be diagnosed as a case of political long COVID: We know what hit us, but we can’t seem to muster the energy to do anything about it.
Public health has disintegrated into “personal responsibility,” though public health officials continue to be paid good salaries. Doctors, nurses and other health-care workers are catching COVID-19 or just quitting, leaving hospitals and clinics understaffed. Some of us are lucky to have family doctors, even if it takes weeks to arrange a face-to-face 10-minute interview. Pierre Poilievre has reportedly signed up 300,000 new members of the Conservative Party of Canada, largely on the promise of doing away with all vaccine mandates.
From the start of the pandemic, writer and researcher Jon Parsons tracked our response to it — not just the numbers of cases and vaccinations, but our ethical responses. Our responses to the pandemic fall, he argues, into three categories: passive nihilism, active nihilism and ethical subjects. Read more at Tyee
SPOTLIGHT ON POLICY
New Report Finds Smoking Is A Cause Of Depression And Schizophrenia
Credit: University of Bristol
The evidence presented at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress, has been shared with the U.K. Government which is currently developing a new Tobacco Control Plan for publication later this year.
The Congress will also be given new data on the numbers of smokers with mental health conditions. Rates of smoking are much higher among people with mental health conditions than those without, and among England’s 6 million smokers there are an estimated:
230k smokers with severe mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder)
1.6 million with depression and anxiety
These analyses are timely as the Government is currently considering recommendations by the Khan Review for the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan to deliver its Smokefree 2030 ambition. The independent review by Javed Khan was commissioned by the Secretary of State to help the Government identify the most impactful interventions to reduce the uptake of smoking, and support people to stop smoking, for good. One of Khan’s 15 recommendations was that action is needed to tackle the issue of smoking and mental health.
One of the authors of the new report Marcus Munafò, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol, said: “There is no longer any doubt that smoking is bad for mental health and this needs to be a priority in the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan. Those working with people with mental health conditions need to understand and address the vicious cycle of bidirectional effects, whereby having symptoms of mental illness causes individuals to smoke more and to be more likely to become addicted. At the same time, smoking also increases the risk of subsequent mental illness and exacerbates mental health symptoms. Lower rates of smoking will improve overall levels of good mental health as well as physical health.”
The NHS has pledged to put support in place for smokers on mental health wards and those accessing support in the community, but this is largely confined to those with severe mental illness.
Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “Smoking addiction is not a trivial matter; it causes serious harm to both body and mind. Smokers with mental health conditions can quit with the right support from healthcare professionals. It’s our duty as psychiatrists to offer them the help they need to succeed.” Read more at University of Bristol
SPOTLIGHT ON INDIGENOUS WELLNESS
Trudeau Appoints Michelle O’Bonsawin, First Indigenous Justice On Canada’s Supreme Court
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Ontario judge Michelle O’Bonsawin to the Supreme Court of Canada, making her the first Indigenous person to sit on the country’s highest bench.
O’Bonsawin comes to the court after spending five years as a judge at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa. She has also taught law at the University of Ottawa and served as the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group’s general counsel for eight years.
O’Bonsawin identifies as a bilingual Franco-Ontarian and an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation, according to a biography released by the Prime Minister’s Office. The requirement for English-French bilingualism has been cited as a factor that previously complicated efforts to find Indigenous candidates for the court.
O’Bonsawin’s appointment will fill the vacancy left by Justice Michael Moldaver, who is set to retire Sept. 1. Read more at APTN News
Quote Of The Week:
Credit: Twitter, August 30, 2022 The climate-fuelled devastation unfolding in Pakistan is beyond heartbreaking. Countries in the Global South, that have contributed the least to the climate crisis, are drowning while Big Oil rakes in billions of dollars in profits.
This quote from climate activist Anam, who lives and organizes in Pakistan, is a stark reminder of that:
“The same high emitter countries of the global north colonized our land for hundreds of years, killing our ancestors and stealing our resources. Now they have colonized our atmosphere in their pursuit of wealth and development at the expense of our people’s lives and environment.”
Paksitani Climate Activist Anam (sourced from an email by Jennifer Deol from 350.org - September 1, 2022)
Remembering Professor Ron Laporte (1949-2021) and Dedicated Seminar Series
Dear Friends (on August 31, 2022),
The late Dr. Ronald Laporte, an emeritus Professor of Epidemiology, had a unique and lasting impact on Epidemiology in general and much more beyond. From pioneering research of Type 1 Diabetes and physical activity, his influence spread internationally with the establishment of an internet-based ‘supercourse” in Public Health, available to all free of charge, and the development of the Modern Research Methods Library of Alexandria, Egypt. His work embraced many other topics along the way including care for the homeless and the study of geoglyphs from space. He was a faculty member in Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh for 35 years and trained 35 PhD students who now hold many leadership positions in academia, industry and the government. A seminar series is being dedicated to his memory. 12 Seminars will be held at 12 noon SPH Auditorium G23 (Starting September 1, 2022), Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
List of all seminars (Poster already available!) and links to recorded seminars will be available at Ron's Supercourse Front page at https://sites.pitt.edu/~super1/
Ron's Supercourse seminar scheduled for October 27.
Sept. 15 Deadline and On-going: International Health Trends and Perspectives (IHTP, 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
Sept. 23 All over the World - Take part in the Climate Strike #FridaysForFuture #PeopleNotProfit There’s just 5 weeks to go for Fridays For Future’s big Global Climate Strike on September 23. Be sure to support your local youth! Here is their call to action: Join in for the Global Climate Strike as we demand policymakers and world leaders to prioritize #PeopleNotProfit! We demand that our Governments listen to MAPA voices  and immediately work to provide Loss & Damage Finance to the communities most affected by the climate crisis. One of the best ways you can help is by amplifying youth voices - if you can’t attend a march in your area (or if there aren’t any), make sure to follow youth groups on social media and amplify their call to action. All events, big or small, add up and politicians and the media take notice. Find out more: fridaysforfuture.org/september23 Official FFF Map (shows Canada events): https://fridaysforfuture.ca/event-map/
The International People’s Health University (IPHU) of the People’s Health Movement (PHM) is organizing a short training course “The Struggle for Health” for young health activists. The course is being organized jointly with Amel Association International and Gender, Justice, and Health Thematic Group of the PHM.
The IPHU short courses enable younger health activists to make new connections, share experiences and study together. They aim to strengthen the PHM’s growing activism. PHM has trained thousands of young activists from around the world over the past few years through the IPHU and built perspectives.
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".
U.S. House Committee Poised For Potential Subpoena Of PR Firm (FTI) For Climate Disinformation
Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) speaking at a Juneteenth weekend event in Louisiana in June 2022. Credit: Julie Dermansky
A powerful Washington, D.C., consulting and PR firm, with a long history of waging influence campaigns for fossil fuel corporations, is under scrutiny by a congressional committee as part of a broader investigation into the decades-long efforts by the oil industry and its allies to block action on the climate crisis.
FTI Consulting, a billion-dollar firm that has a global presence, is not a household name. But it has been instrumental in an array of oil industry campaigns meant to sow doubt about climate change, attack climate scientists, and play up the benefits of fossil fuels.
Last year, a House committee held hearings in which members of Congress questioned oil executives on their role in peddling climate disinformation. But in June of this year, a separate committee, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, sent letters to five PR firms — Story Partners, DDC Advocacy, Blue Advertising, Singer Associates, and FTI Consulting — requesting all documents related to their work running influence or marketing campaigns for oil, gas, and coal companies and their trade groups. The PR industry has been a critical but often overlooked player in the history of climate denial, as DeSmog has reported.
“For decades, fossil fuel companies and associations have engaged in public relations campaigns to downplay the threat of climate change and the central role fossil fuels have played in causing it,” the committee’s June letter stated. “Fossil fuel companies and trade groups have partnered with PR firms to use a variety of questionable tactics to undermine legislative and regulatory environmental initiatives.”
Then-Grenadian Minister for Climate Resilience Simon Stiell addresses a session at the U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Nov. 4, 2021. DANIEL LEAL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
This week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres named former Grenadian Environment Minister Simon Stiell as the new chief of U.N. climate negotiations. Stiell’s appointment surprised some observers, because he will be the third consecutive person from the Americas to hold the position. His predecessor, Patricia Espinosa, was a former Mexican foreign minister; she was preceded by Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres.
CVS, Walgreens And Walmart Ordered To Pay $650 Million To Ohio Counties In Opioid Case
The Lake County Courthouse in Painesville, Ohio. The county received more than 60 million opioid pills from 2006 to 2012, according to government data. Credit: NICK CAMMETT/ASSOCIATED PRESS
A federal judge in Ohio has ordered the companies owning CVS, Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies to pay $650 million over 15 years to two Ohio counties after a jury found them liable for contributing to the opioid epidemic.
The jury’s verdict last November, delivered after a six-week trial, came in a so-called bellwether case that attorneys elsewhere have watched closely. It was the first decision reached among lawsuits targeting pharmacy chains for their alleged role in the opioid crisis.
U.S. Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland issued his order on Wednesday after a separate nonjury trial was held to determine the appropriate amount the companies must pay.
Judge Polster ruled that the defendants were responsible for a portion of plans created for Lake and Trumbull counties, the plaintiffs in the case, to address problems linked to the opioid epidemic. He ordered the companies to immediately pay two year’s worth of those payments into a fund, or $86.7 million of the total $650.6 million.
The companies plan to appeal the decision. “We strongly disagree with the Court’s decision regarding the counties’ abatement plan, as well as last fall’s underlying verdict,” said Michael DeAngelis, executive director for corporate communications for CVS Health Corp. “Pharmacists fill legal prescriptions written by DEA-licensed doctors who prescribe legal, FDA-approved substances to treat actual patients in need.”
Following the inclusion of food insecurity as an indicator for Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2018, Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey (CIS) began annual monitoring of household food insecurity.
Drawing on data 54,000 households from the CIS, we present a portrait of household food insecurity in Canada in 2021, examining who is most affected and how food insecurity rates differ across the country. We also use CIS data to examine food insecurity rates in 2019 and 2020, providing a look at food insecurity before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, 15.9% of households in the ten provinces experienced some level of food insecurity in the previous 12 months. That amounts to 5.8 million people, including almost 1.4 million children under the age of 18, living in food-insecure households.
Users should also not compare statistics from CIS, described in this report, with previous reports using Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) due to important differences between the two surveys. See “Differences from other reporting of household food insecurity statistics” on page 10 of the report for more information.
If you have any mental image of Buckminster Fuller, you might picture him as a white-haired, bespectacled old man, standing in front of a chalkboard, holding up a model of a geodesic dome: a visionary, explaining his invention. This is how he appears in the second-and-a-half–long clip that Apple used in its “Think Different” commercial in 1997. Fuller’s image flashes on the screen as part of a parade of some of the most famous figures of the twentieth century: Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King Jr, Muhammad Ali. “Here’s to the crazy ones,” the voice-over, by actor Richard Dreyfuss, intones. “The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.”
Reimagine The Future Of Medicine And Education In The 21st Century Of Digital Technology
Credit: Bruno Mangyoku
Will artificial intelligence mean the end of doctors? AI is merely a useful intelligent tool, just like magnetic resonance imaging. AI will not replace radiologists; instead, it is spawning a new discipline that requires the understanding of both medicine and technology.
In his book Deep Medicine, Eric Topol writes: “Eventually, doctors will adopt artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms as their work partners. This levelling of the medical knowledge landscape will ultimately lead to a new premium: to find and train doctors who have the highest level of emotional intelligence.”
Recently, a cohort from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) went on an exploratory partnership trip to the US. Intriguingly, Topol’s words spoke to the crux of the trip. For some time now, UJ has toyed with the idea of starting a medical school. Yet, we knew this offering had to differ vastly from other medical schools in South Africa.
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, Carlos Jimenez, Evans Oppong, Jonathan Zakus, Dr. Aimée-Angélique Bouka & Elisabeth Huang
Bloggers: Edward Milner, Dr. Stephen Bezruchka, Aisha Saleem and Dr. Jay Kravitz