Daily Archives: September 26, 2014

After Ebola, should world have standby medical corps?

‘Just as our troops in blue helmets help keep people safe, a corps in white coats could help keep people healthy,’ says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Ayee Macaraig

Published 7:16 AM, Sep 26, 2014
Updated 7:17 AM, Sep 26, 2014

WHITE COATS? Guinea’s health workers wearing protective suits join members of the Medecins Sans Frontieres Ebola treatement centre near the main Donka hospital in Conakry on September 25, 2014. Poto by Cellou Binani/AFP

UNITED NATIONS – If there are blue helmets to maintain peace in conflict zones, should the world also have “white coats” for crises like the Ebola outbreak?

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon proposed the idea as US President Barack Obama and other heads of state met at the UN to discuss what they admit is a slow and inadequate global response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Speaking at the high-level meeting he convened on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, Ban said that the crisis in West Africa showed the need to strengthen early identification systems and swift action.

“We should consider whether the world needs a standby corps of medical professionals, backed by the expertise of [the World
Health Organization] and the logistical capacity of the United Nations. Just as our troops in blue helmets help keep people safe, a corps in white coats could help keep people healthy,” Ban said on Thursday, September 25.

It was a reference to UN peacekeepers tasked with providing security and support to war-torn countries transitioning to peace.

The most severely affected countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – are overwhelmed. They have weak health systems and lack human and infrastructural resources, having only emerged from conflict and instability. (READ: World ‘losing battle’ to contain Ebola)

The UN’s peacekeeping mission in Liberia is supporting efforts to fight the outbreak but admits it not medically trained to take a primary role.

The World Health Organization and groups like Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to respond to the crisis but the needs are immense.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

BBC News – Complex organic molecule found in interstellar space

26 September 2014 Last updated at 05:56 ET
By Michael Eyre Science reporter

The scientists searched for the molecule deep in the Milky Way

Related Stories

Scientists have found the beginnings of life-bearing chemistry at the centre of the galaxy.

Iso-propyl cyanide has been detected in a star-forming cloud 27,000 light-years from Earth.

Its branched carbon structure is closer to the complex organic molecules of life than any previous finding from interstellar space.

The discovery suggests the building blocks of life may be widespread throughout our galaxy.

Various organic molecules have previously been discovered in interstellar space, but i-propyl cyanide is the first with a branched carbon backbone.

The branched structure is important as it shows that interstellar space could be the origin of more complex branched molecules, such as amino acids, that are necessary for life on Earth.

Dr Arnaud Belloche from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy is lead author of the research, which appears in the journal Science.

“Amino acids on Earth are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are very important for life as we know it. The question in the background is: is there life somewhere else in the galaxy?”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

BBC News – The companies vying to turn asteroids into filling stations

25 September 2014 Last updated at 19:27 ET
By Debbie Siegelbaum BBC News, Washington

Private companies want to mine asteroids for fuel, and build filling stations in space. A bill now in front of the US Congress would help by allowing them to own what they discover – but it might, if passed, meet stiff international opposition.

Chris Lewicki is trying to get water from a stone. A really big stone thousands of miles from Earth.

The president of space mining firm Planetary Resources used to oversee robotic Mars missions at Nasa, but today he’s betting big on asteroids.

The chunks of matter hurtling through the cosmos are rich in valuable minerals, he says, but finding water could be like striking liquid gold.

“We can tell from telescopes that look out from mountaintops here on Earth that certain types of asteroids can be relatively abundant in water and water-bearing minerals,” he says.

But why is water, which covers much of our planet, so valuable in space?

According to Lewicki, it currently costs nearly $2bn (£1.2bn) per year to launch enough water – six tons per person – to sustain the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

BBC News – UN climate summit: China pledges emissions action

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-29334807
24 September 2014 Last updated at 03:18 ET

Zhang Gaoli said China would aim to cap emissions or have them peak “as early as possible”
Related Stories

China has pledged for the first time to take firm action on climate change, telling a UN summit that its emissions, the world’s highest, would soon peak.

Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli also said China would make its economy much more carbon efficient by 2020.

US President Barack Obama said climate change was moving faster than efforts to address it, and the US and China had a responsibility to lead other nations.

The summit was the largest high-level climate meeting since 2009.

Hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it aimed to encourage 120 member states to sign up to a comprehensive new global climate agreement at talks in Paris next year.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Preparing for Climate Change: Building Community Resilience – CDD – City of Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge-dev

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Bernie Sanders calls out the Corporate Media…


thomhartmann

Published on Sep 19, 2014

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shares a Think Progress piece that looks at how little coverage the major networks give to stories about money in politics.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

U.S.-Led Strikes Target ISIS Oil Operations in Syria + Rouhani Blames Western Intervention for Rise of ISIS

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

“We Deserve To Do More Than Just Survive”: Marshall Islands Poet’s Plea to the UN Climate Summit


democracynow

Published on Sep 26, 2014

http://democracynow.org – We end today’s show with one of the most memorable speeches at the one-day United Nations climate summit this week. On Tuesday, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands read a poem to world leaders, written as a letter to her child. “Even though there are those hidden behind platinum titles who like to pretend that we don’t exist,” she writes, “that the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Maldives and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and floods of Pakistan, Algeria, and Colombia and all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidalwaves didn’t exist. Still there are those who see us hands reaching out.”

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC)

Fifth High-Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC)

22 September 2014 | New York, United States of America

http://www.iisd.ca/climate/ccac/hla/

The fifth High-Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) took place on 22 September 2014 in New York, US, ahead of the UN Climate Summit that took place on 23 September 2014 in New York. Attracting 197 representatives and partners, the Assembly convened at the New York Marriott East Side Hotel for a two-hour session on Monday 22 September.

The CCAC High Level Assembly opened with a pre-recorded message from the UN Secretary-General before proceeding to consider a number of initiatives to be presented on the floor of the UN Climate Summit. Participants also heard an update on the science of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), considered a summary of the CCAC’s highlights and progress during 2014 and key deliverables for the future, and discussed its deliverables for consideration at the Summit. The Coalition also appointed new Working Group Co-Chairs, approved its Steering Committee membership, and extended its mandate for another five years.

Members accepted an invitation from Switzerland to host the next High-Level Assembly in Geneva in May 2015 on the margins of the World Health Assembly, when members will invite their health counterparts to join them in a dialogue on mutual concerns.

The Summary of this meeting is now available

in PDF format at http://www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/sd/crsvol172num17e.pdf

and in HTML format at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/ccac/hla/html/crsvol172num17e.html

Our CCAC video is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/videos/climate/ccac-hla/

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Marina Silva, the Amazon champion who could lead Brazil

Last updated on 25 September 2014, 12:41 pm

Known globally as a tireless defender of the rainforest, Marina Silva has a strong chance of becoming Brazil’s next president
Marina Silva could become Brazil’s first black president

Marina Silva could become the first black woman to lead Brazil
(Pic: Agencia Brasil)

By Fabíola Ortiz in Rio de Janeiro

Born to a poor family of rubber tappers and raised in the middle of the Amazon jungle, Marina Silva breaks the mould for Brazilian politicians.

The 56-year-old activist and former environment minister has overcome battles with tropical diseases and health problems from mercury poisoning to enter the presidential race.

And when 200 million people go to the polls on 5 October, Silva could become the first black woman to lead Brazil. The latest polls put her neck and neck with incumbent Dilma Rousseff.

So what would a Silva victory mean for climate protection?

“Silva is the main political symbol of sustainability in Brazil,” economist Jose Eli da Veiga tells RTCC.

“There will hardly be other candidates comparable to her. But from an electoral point of view, most voters identify themselves with her life story rather than with her discussion of sustainability.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice