jump to navigation

Farming For Our Future November 29, 2012

Posted by ToYourHealth in Global Health, Public Health.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

More households turn to growing their own food as unsustainable food production practices ravage large crop lands.

We’re on track to deplete the earth of it’s ability to produce food.

Global crop land increased by 12% but agricultural production by 150% over the last 50 years. We’ve managed to keep barely ahead of the curve for overall food production. But not sustainably. The projected world population growth will pass 9 billion by 2050, and that means an increase in food production by 70% and better methods of distribution to meet the food security demand.

Agriculture’s continued dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels for production/fertilizer/irrigation, machinery, processing, transportation, packaging and marketing has direct and unsustainable consequences for farmlands. A recent United Nations study indicates that “all continents are experiencing land degradation, with particularly high incidence along the west coast of the Americas, across the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe and North Africa, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and throughout Asia. The greatest threat is the loss of soil quality, followed by biodiversity loss and depletion of water resources.”

Farmed animals consume 70% of the grains produced on U.S. farms. Droughts have already caused food riots and war in recent years. Irrigation currently accounts for 70% of all water use and 19% of farm energy use in the U.S. Once groundwater sources are depleted, the amount of land available for cultivation will diminish substantially. Groundwater levels of the North China plains have declined to the point where rice production, which accounts for 90% of water usage there, are overexploited and now scarce.

Maintaining and improving ecosystems, including coastal habitats and oceans is also critical, as TIME reports

“The world has ignored the ominous constellation of factors that now make feeding humanity sustainably our most pressing task – even in times of economic and climatic crisis,” writes Professor Cribb. But Professor Cribb  isn’t the only scientist clamoring for politicians to take climate change seriously. In a recent study by the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, it warned of a potential mass extinction as the number of ocean dead zones – waters starved of oxygen – increase at an accelerating pace.  The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research also put out a study that shows the increasing likelihood of frightening changes to rainfall, water supplies, weather systems, sea levels and crop harvests by the end of the century.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/12/07/impending-crisis-earth-to-run-out-of-food-by-2050/#ixzz2DSOyogVl

Progress exists somewhat in alternative forms of energy– nuclear, coal, wind and solar–but none produce liquid fuels. Countries gather regularly to discuss these impending changes, but have yet to enact solutions on the largest crop lands.

Transitional Farms

Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute, a Chapel Hill, NC educational farm and sustainability living center, was established by Tim Toben, an eco-revolutionary who believes sustainability will require more personal responsibility and that farms will be plentiful in rural areas by 2050 as Americans minimize their grandiose lifestyles out of necessity. This transitional farming is self-sustaining and, he believes, is likely to become the new American Dream.

What kind of connection do you want to have with your food? Will you make any changes to help ensure our planet is able to produce enough food for us in the next decades? Would you live in a cob cottage or stop eating industrial meat in order to preserve the land?

Related Reading:

The Future of Farming: Eight Solutions For a Hungry World (www.popsci.com)

Investing In Ecosystem Services Can Boost Food Security, Raise Incomes (www.un.org)

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (www.peakoil.net)

Regreening Africa (www.thenation.com)

Children of Our Fields (www.acroan.com)

Hidden Hunger in the Heartland (www.acroan.com)

Location, location, location! The High Cost of Living in a Food Desert (www.acroan.com)

A Little More Shuga, Please March 22, 2012

Posted by ToYourHealth in Global Health.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
HIV/AIDS Kenya Shuga Family Planning

HIV prevalence by African country

One of the most effective public health education tools to combat HIV/AIDS in Kenya is back. Last month, the popular TV program Shuga began airing it’s second season.

Three episodes were funded for the first season through MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation and other funding partners, but demand has landed six new episodes this season. PATH joined with other sponsors PEPFAR and UNICEF to bring this meaningful tool to Nairobi. And since it’s rights-cleared, it will air on all five major broadcast companies throughout Kenya.

In addition to teaching safe sex and HIV transmission methods, this season of Shuga: Love, Sex and Money addresses alcohol use, transactional sex, rape and homosexuality. This was an important part of their sexual behavior communication plan, as it is still illegal to be gay in Africa.

What makes the show so popular?

It’s steamy hot, which, for all intents and purposes, is unchartered programming territory for the 16-24 year old Kenyan target group. It’s sexy, fun, and relatable.

What makes the show so successful?

It’s changing behaviors and saving lives. Read here about reaching young adults who had little to no access to TV or internet in 2009. Between 60% and 80% of all viewers were more receptive to this teaching tool for behavior change. About the new season, from The Saturday Post Zambia,

The documentary addresses social and economic factors that contribute to the high HIV prevalence and new infection rates, particularly among young people, in Sub-Saharan Africa and the world. The film resonates with young people. The main [goal] is to increase knowledge and start a debate about HIV among young people so that they don’t get infected. It aims to encourage behaviour change to prevent new infections.

The secondary phase is to remind people that HIV is not a death sentence. People can live positively with HIV. The campaign is an explosive drama shot and produced in Kenya that challenges young people to ignite a movement to change their sexual behaviour and turn their norms to stop the spread of the killer disease specifically in Kenya, Trinidad, Ukraine and Zambia.

Take a look at the Season 2 trailer:

Shuga: Love, Sex, Money Still To Come… from mtv staying alive on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Sesame Square, Kami and Shuga Battle HIV

MTV Shuga

MTV Staying Alive Foundation

PATH: A Catalyst for Global Health

Peace. It’s Your Business. November 23, 2011

Posted by ToYourHealth in Global Health.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Humanity for economic prosperity.

Usually, a study of peace is really a focus on conflict. Since 2007, however, a Global Peace Index ranks 153 countries measuring 23 indicators including income, social sustainability, spending, warring, climate change, amount spent on weapons, safety, respect for human rights, education and distribution of resources. The top-rated countries in this index provide an opportunity to study the structure of peaceful nations, and the tools we need to determine the peacefulness and economic environment we can create for our own future.

A nation’s inequalities define its functionality and have a direct impact on its economy. As the Institute for Economics and Peace claims, violence—both internal and external—creates costs for business and government and reduces productivity. This seems obvious, but it translates into billions of dollars. Had the U.S., which ranked 82nd on the GPI, similar levels of peacefulness to Canada, ranking 8th, the U.S. economy would have benefitted by $361 billion per year, and would have stimulated about 2.7 million additional jobs, reducing our unemployment rate by about 20%. In turn, arts and business would also flourish.

The strength of a society’s peace factor determines the likelihood that the society can withstand serious crises. Social sustainability structures are outlined in this short video:

Interestingly, the two social sustainability structures that carry the most weight are Acceptance of the Rights of Others, and Good Relations with Neighbors. The U.S. could begin it’s climb up the index ladder by focusing on these two notions.

For the first time, the United States was ranked according to state and based upon the absence of violence.

US Peace Index, global peace index

Image by ChartsBin.com

We, each of us, can shape our own future both individually and collectively. Ignoring the data for structure of peace would be irresponsible and detrimental to our economic future. We are now at the precipice. How unwise it would be to let another year pass in the same direction we’ve been heading. Our federal government is losing stability and has become an unreliable factor. We, as people and institutions, must start going about the business of peace and hope the government will join us, as it is a necessary indicator on the index. We must rely on ourselves to accomplish peace. Don’t think as an individual you can make much of a difference? Let this woman be your inspiration.

Global Peace Index 2011

  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Japan
  4. Denmark
  5. Czech Republic
  6. Austria
  7. Finland
  8. Canada
  9. Norway
  10. Slovenia
  11. Ireland
  12. Qatar
  13. Sweden
  14. Belgium
  15. Germany
  16. Switzerland
  17. Portugal
  18. Australia
  19. Malaysia
  20. Hungary
  21. Uruguay
  22. Poland
  23. Slovakia
  24. Singapore
  25. Netherlands
  26. United Kingdom
  27. Taiwan
  28. Spain
  29. Kuwait
  30. Vietnam
  31. Costa Rica
  32. Laos
  33. United Arab Emirates
  34. Bhutan
  35. Botswana
  36. France
  37. Croatia
  38. Chile
  39. Malawi
  40. Romania
  41. Oman
  42. Ghana
  43. Lithuania
  44. Tunisia
  45. Italy
  46. Latvia
  47. Estonia
  48. Mozambique
  49. Panama
  50. South Korea
  51. Burkina Faso
  52. Zambia
  53. Bulgaria
  54. Namibia
  55. Argentina
  56. Tanzania
  57. Mongolia
  58. Morocco
  59. Moldova
  60. Bosnia and Hercegovina
  61. Sierra Leone
  62. The Gambia
  63. Albania
  64. Jordan
  65. Greece
  66. Paraguay
  67. Cuba
  68. Indonesia
  69. Ukraine
  70. Swaziland
  71. Cyprus
  72. Nicaragua
  73. Egypt
  74. Brazil
  75. Equatorial Guinea
  76. Bolivia
  77. Senegal
  78. Macedonia
  79. Trinidad and Tobago
  80. China
  81. Gabon
  82. United States of America
  83. Bangladesh
  84. Serbia
  85. Peru
  86. Cameroon
  87. Angola
  88. Guyana
  89. Montenegro
  90. Ecuador
  91. Dominican Republic
  92. Guinea
  93. Kazakhstan
  94. Papua New Guinea
  95. Nepal
  96. Liberia
  97. Uganda
  98. Congo
  99. Rwanda
  100. Mali
  101. Saudi Arabia
  102. El Salvador
  103. Tajikistan
  104. Eritrea
  105. Madagascar
  106. Jamaica
  107. Thailand
  108. Turkmenistan
  109. Armenia
  110. Uzbekistan
  111. Kenya
  112. Belarus
  113. Haiti
  114. Kyrgyz Republic
  115. Cambodia
  116. Syria
  117. Honduras
  118. (blank)
  119. Iran
  120. Niger
  121. Mexico
  122. Azerbaijan
  123. Bahrain
  124. Venezuela
  125. Guatemala
  126. Sri Lanka
  127. Turkey
  128. Cote d’Ivoire
  129. Algeria
  130. Maruitania
  131. Ethiopia
  132. Burundi
  133. Myanmar
  134. Georgia
  135. India
  136. Philippines
  137. Lebanon
  138. Yemen
  139. Colombia
  140. Zimbabwe
  141. Chad
  142. Nigeria
  143. Libya
  144. Central African Republic
  145. Israel
  146. Pakistan
  147. Russia
  148. Democratic Republic of Congo
  149. North Korea
  150. Afghanistan
  151. Sudan
  152. Iraq
  153. Somalia
%d bloggers like this: