Daily Archives: August 12, 2021

Katie Porters DESTROYS oil industry over pollution

The Hill– Aug 12, 2021

In a social media video, Congresswoman Katie Porter slammed the oil industry for not cleaning up after cleaning.

Has Coronavirus Cleaning Gone Too Far?

Credit: vgajic / Getty Images

*This piece was originally published on February 26th, 2021.*

It has been said that cleanliness is next to godliness, but the constant disinfecting and scrubbing of our homes, offices and public spaces during the coronavirus pandemic has taken these seemingly virtuous efforts to a whole new level.

COVID-19 is now understood to spread primarily through close contact with infected people, rather than contaminated surfaces, but that hasn’t stopped consumers from snapping up cleaning products that promise to kill 99% of germs.

Trying to eliminate all bacteria, including those that are beneficial to us, can lead to autoimmune disorders, warns Rob Dunn. The professor of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University and author of: “Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live,” explains how we can be more intentional about our interactions with the living world (indoors and outdoors) and better understand its influence on our well-being.

Three Takeaways:

  • Dunn is concerned that some of the deep-cleaning practices deployed during the pandemic, including large-scale spraying of antimicrobial products into subways and other public spaces, are nothing more than a “biochemical gesture,” designed to make us feel safe, with scant evidence of being effective. He says what we are seeing now is part of a broader shift in society towards the use of biocides, including pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, which may have some brief short-term benefit but “often have a long-term consequence that really haunts us.”
  • Humans evolved while being exposed to many different species, explains Dunn. Our modern lifestyles, which typically involve spending lots of time indoors, have radically changed which species we are exposed to and have made us vulnerable to “all sorts of autoimmune disorders” such as: inflammatory bowel diseases (including Crohn’s), multiple sclerosis, allergies and asthma, he says.
  • How we interact with the living world, inside and outside, impacts our bodies and our health, according to Dunn. He says simple things – like making fermented foods, opening windows and doing activities outside like gardening – can expose us to microbes that will improve our well-being and even that of our offspring.

More Reading:

  • These articles in The Lancet and Nature explain why COVID-19 is unlikely to spread through surfaces and why there has been so much confusion about the issue.
  • Some cleaning initiatives during the pandemic have been dubbed “hygiene theater.” Find out why in these pieces in The Atlantic.
  • Want to learn more about the role that microbes play in our health? Check out this write-up about the magnificence of the human microbiome, in The Guardian.

What does the climate’s best-case scenario look like? | The World from PRX | Climate Change

The Big Fix | The World from PRX

America is becoming more urban, more diverse and less white, 2020 Census reveals

PBS NewsHourAug 12, 2021
Despite a “hot mess” of a rollout and months of delays, new 2020 Census data reveals how America is changing. More respondents reported multiracial identities and for the first time on record, the white population declined. Lisa Desjardins explored the new data with Hansi Lo Wang of NPR and Mark Hugo Lopez from the Pew Research Center.

Part 2 – African Food Crises and the Unraveling of the Global Food System – Extractive Agribusiness | EV & N 401 | CCTV



YouTube Version

The unfolding tragedies of famine, warfare and migrant refugees in Tigray in recent months are dramatic. There are many reasons that contribute to the repeated syndromes reflected in these tragedies, but over the long-run and on a large scale these food crises underscore the historical failure of colonial extractive agriculture and the exploitative nature of current petro-dependent models or “modern” agriculture, largely promoted by billionaire agribusiness firms whose origin and focus upon profit is directed from outside the African continent.


See related:

Coronavirus and the global food system – Michael Pollan in conversation with Rosie Boycott | 5×15

5×15 Stories – May 20, 2020

For more than thirty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds. He is the author of the multiple New York Times best sellers, including How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013). In his latest audiobook Caffeine: How caffeine created the modern world, Michal Pollan offers his provocative look into the profound ways that what we eat affects how we live.

Several of his books have been adapted for television. Netflix created a four-part documentary series based on Cooked in 2016, and documentary adaptations of In Defense of Food (2015) and The Botany of Desire (2009) both premiered on PBS. Pollan also appeared in the Academy Award nominated 2009 feature documentary, Food Inc. In 2015-2016, Pollan was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. In 2013, he was awarded Italy’s Premio Nonino prize. In 2010, Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Also in 2010 he was also awarded the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace by Yoko Ono. In 2009 he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders.”

Pollan is currently the Lewis K. Chan Arts Lecturer and Professor of the Practice of NonFiction at Harvard University. Since 2003, Pollan has held the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Recorded at the 5×15 Online Event (via Zoom) on May 18th 2020.

Transatlantic Slavery Symposium: Historic Sites Interpreting Slavery

George Washington’s Mount VernonStarted streaming 12 minutes ago
Dr. Laura Sandy, Senior Lecturer in the History of Slavery and co-director at the Centre for the Study of International Slavery at the University of Liverpool will lead a discussion about interpreting slavery at historic sites on both sides of the Atlantic. Featuring Ramin Ganeshram, Executive Director, at the Westport Museum for History & Culture; Dr. Antoinette T. Jackson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida; and Jean-Francis Manicom, Curator at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, the panel will consider the challenge of presenting slavery at public history sites.

The Transatlantic Slavery Symposium is a joint venture between Benjamin Franklin House in London, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Our aim is to bring together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to address the lasting impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade through panel discussions on themes ranging from its historical foundations and development in the Revolutionary Atlantic world to current best practices in the museums and heritage sector. We hope that by addressing this complex topic from a historical and contemporary perspective, we can spark further discussions on how to bring stories of enslaved people to the forefront of public history internationally.

See full series:

As Delta Variant Drives Surge in New Cases, History Shows It Could Get Worse Before It Gets Better

Democracy Now!Aug 12, 2021
More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, over 3.5 million people have died around the world, including nearly 500,000 in the United States. Historian and writer John Barry says the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus was a predictable development based on how previous pandemics have developed. “This is not unusual, what we’re going through,” he says. “The question is whether the next variant is going to be even more transmissible and possibly more virulent, or whether it’s going to be toned down.” He says it’s likely that people will continue to need booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines in the months and years to come.

“There Just Isn’t Enough Supply”: Vaccine Gap Between Rich & Poor Countries Fuels COVID in Indonesia

Democracy Now!Aug 12, 2021
As the World Health Organization warns over 100 million more people will be infected with COVID-19 by early next year as the Delta variant continues to rapidly spread, we look at Indonesia, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in Asia. Over the past 28 days, Indonesia has recorded 43,000 deaths, more than anywhere else in the world. More than half of the deaths have occurred in the past two months as the Delta variant overwhelmed hospitals across the country. Sana Jaffrey, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta, says the public debate is largely focused on whether to protect public health or allow economic activity to continue. “It is unfair that we are still stuck in this discussion when, in Western countries, people are getting vaccinated or choosing not to get vaccinated,” Jaffrey says. “Indonesia is not able to break out of this trap of these two options because there just isn’t enough supply of vaccines in the country.” We also speak with Dr. Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist, who says it’s important to combine vaccination with other measures such as testing, tracing and isolation. “We have to combine the strategies,” he says.