Healthy Living

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serious times

 

 

World Hunger

  • 842 million people – or one in eight people in the world – do not have enough to eat. 2
  • 98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries.2
  • Where is hunger the worst?
    • Asia: 552 million2
    • Sub-Saharan Africa: 223 million2
    • Latin America and the Caribbean: 47 million2

Aiming at the very heart of hunger, The Hunger Project is currently committed to work in BangladeshBeninBurkina FasoEthiopiaIndiaGhana,MalawiMexicoMozambiquePeruSenegal and Uganda.

Women and Children

  • 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women.2
  • 50 percent of pregnant women in developing countries lack proper maternal care, resulting in 240,000 maternal deaths annually from childbirth.3
  • 1 out of 6 infants are born with a low birth weight in developing countries.4
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. That is 8,500 children per day.6
  • A third of all childhood death in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by hunger.5
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.6
  • Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.5

The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.

HIV/AIDS and other Diseases

  • 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.7
  • 52 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS are women.7
  • 88 percent of all children and 60 percent of all women living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.7
  • 6.9 million children died in 2011 each year – 19,000 a day- mostly from preventable health issues such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.5

Launched in 2003, The Hunger Project’s HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign works at the grassroots level to provide education about preventative and treatment measures.

Poverty

  • 1.4 billion people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less.8
  • Rural areas account for three out of every four people living on less than $1.25 a day.9
  • 22,000 children die each day due to conditions of poverty.10

Rural Hunger Project partners have access to income-generating workshops, empowering their self-reliance. Our Microfinance Program in Africa provides access to credit, adequate training and instilling in our partners the importance of saving.

Agriculture

  • 75 percent of the world’s poorest people — 1.4 billion women, children, and men — live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood.11
  • 50 percent of hungry people are farming families.11

In each region in which we work, The Hunger Project provides tools and training to increase farming production at the local level. In Africa, our epicenter partners run community farms where they implement new techniques while producing food for the epicenter food bank.

Water

  • 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.12
  • 2.3 billion people suffer from water-borne diseases each year.12
  • 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and none of the 12 percent lives in developing countries.13

The Hunger Project works with communities to develop new water resources, ensure clean water and improved sanitation, and implement water conservation techniques

 

Sources:

  1. US Census Bureau, International Data Base
  2. State of Food Security in the World 2013
  3. MDG Report – Goal 5, 2013 (pdf)
  4. World Hunger and Poverty Statistics, 2013
  5. MDG Report – Goal 4, 2013 (pdf)
  6. World Food Programme Hunger Statistics
  7. UN AIDS Report on the Global Epidemic, 2013
  8. IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011
  9. Human Development Report, 2007/2008
  10. UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2010 (pdf)
  11. FAO Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises, 2010 (pdf)
  12. WHO Unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (pdf)
  13. Water as Commodity – The Wrong Prescription by Maude Barlow, The Institute for Food and Development Policy
  14. A Life Free From Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition, Save the Children, Feb 2012

 

 

VICTIMS

SHORTLY after the birth of her sixth child, Mathilde went with her baby into the fields to collect the harvest. She saw two men approaching, wearing what she says was the uniform of the FDLR, a Rwandan militia. Fleeing them she ran into another man, who beat her head with a metal bar. She fell to the ground with her baby and lay still. Perhaps thinking he had murdered her, the man went away. The other two came and raped her, then they left her for dead.

Mathilde’s story is all too common. Rape in war is as old as war itself. After the sack of Rome 16 centuries ago Saint Augustine called rape in wartime an “ancient and customary evil”. For soldiers, it has long been considered one of the spoils of war. Antony Beevor, a historian who has written about rape during the Soviet conquest of Germany in 1945, says that rape has occurred in war since ancient times, often perpetrated by indisciplined soldiers. But he argues that there are also examples in history of rape being used strategically, to humiliate and to terrorise, such as the Moroccan regulares in Spain’s civil war.

As the reporting of rape has improved, the scale of the crime has become more horrifyingly apparent (see table). And with the Bosnian war of the 1990s came the widespread recognition that rape has been used systematically as a weapon of war and that it must be punished as an egregious crime. In 2008 the UN Security Council officially acknowledged that rape has been used as a tool of war. With these kinds of resolutions and global campaigns against rape in war, the world has become more sensitive. At least in theory, the Geneva Conventions, governing the treatment of civilians in war, are respected by politicians and generals in most decent states. Generals from rich countries know that their treatment of civilians in the theatre of war comes under ever closer scrutiny. The laws and customs of war are clear. But in many parts of the world, in the Hobbesian anarchy of irregular war, with ill-disciplined private armies or militias, these norms carry little weight.

Take Congo; it highlights both how horribly common rape is, and how hard it is to document and measure, let alone stop. The eastern part of the country has been a seething mess since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In 2008 the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian group, estimated that 5.4m people had died in “Africa’s world war”. Despite peace deals in 2003 and 2008, the tempest of violence has yet fully to subside. As Congo’s army and myriad militias do battle, the civilians suffer most. Rape has become an ugly and defining feature of the conflict.

Plenty of figures on how many women have been raped are available but none is conclusive. In October Roger Meece, the head of the United Nations in Congo, told the UN Security Council that 15,000 women had been raped throughout the country in 2009 (men suffer too, but most victims are female). The UN Population Fund estimated 17,500 victims for the same period. The IRC says it treated 40,000 survivors in the eastern province of South Kivu alone between 2003 and 2008.

“The data only tell you so much,” says Hillary Margolis, who runs the IRC’s sexual-violence programme in North Kivu. These numbers are the bare minimum; the true figures may be much higher. Sofia Candeias, who co-ordinates the UN Development Programme’s Access to Justice project in Congo, points out that more rapes are reported in places with health services. In the areas where fighting is fiercest, women may have to walk hundreds of miles to find anyone to tell that they have been attacked. Even if they can do so, it may be months or years after the assault. Many victims are killed by their assailants. Others die of injuries. Many do not report rape because of the stigma.

Congo’s horrors are mind-boggling. A recent study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Oxfam examined rape survivors at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a town in South Kivu province. Their ages ranged from three to 80. Some were single, some married, some widows. They came from all ethnicities. They were raped in homes, fields and forests. They were raped in front of husbands and children. Almost 60% were gang-raped. Sons were forced to rape mothers, and killed if they refused.

The attention paid to Congo reflects growing concern about rape in war. Historically the taboo surrounding rape has been so strong that few cases were reported; evidence of wartime rape before the 20th century is scarce. With better reporting, the world has woken up to the scale of the crime. The range of sexual violence in war has become apparent: the abduction of women as sex slaves, sexualised torture and mutilation, rape in public or private.

In some wars all parties engage in it. In others it is inflicted mainly by one side. Rape in wars in Africa has had a lot of attention in recent years, but it is not just an African problem. Conflicts with high levels of rape between 1980 and 2009 were most numerous in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Dara Kay Cohen of the University of Minnesota (see chart). But only a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s 28 civil wars saw the worst levels of rape—compared with half of Eastern Europe’s nine. And no part of the world has escaped the scourge.

The anarchy and impunity of war goes some way to explaining the violence. The conditions of war are often conducive to rape. Young, ill-trained men, fighting far from home, are freed from social and religious constraints. The costs of rape are lower, the potential rewards higher. And for ill-fed, underpaid combatants, rape can be a kind of payment.

Full article: http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

 

 

The power that gives life

Do you believe it’s possible that SOMETHING created the universe and all existence? Is it possible that a power greater than the universe exists?

-“yes, God is the creator of all existence, God alone commands all…”

-“How did the universe come into existence? That’s a hard one, but evidence suggests that the giver of life is controlling the universe, which makes it a greater power than the universe.”

-“SOMETHING HAD to have made life!! Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation of microorganisms, life doesn’t arise from nothing. The universe too, didn’t arise from nothing. The SOMETHING that brought the universe into existence is what most people in America refer to as GOD. The universe came from SOMETHING. That something is a power greater than the universe and what is known to mankind.”

-“How did we get here? I think the answer is so BIG that we would have difficulty wrapping our minds around it.”

-“I definately believe it’s possible. At our core we are but the light of consciousness. A power gives life to that light.”

-“Our people believe that the power that gives life is alive and we communicate with it and we give thanks for life and all the blessings of life. We live our lives in thanks and gratitude. It is a power that is greater than the universe…”

-“יהוה alone gives life to the universe. יהוה alone has power over all.”

Honey offers a successful approach to fighting antibiotic resistance

Honey, that delectable condiment for breads and fruits, could be one sweet solution to the serious, ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers said in Dallas today.

Honey could be one sweet solution to the serious, ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers said in Dallas* today. Medical professionals sometimes use honey successfully as a topical dressing, but it could play a larger role in fighting infections, the researchers predicted.

“The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance,” said study leader Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D. That is, it uses a combination of weapons, including hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols — all of which actively kill bacterial cells, she explained. The osmotic effect, which is the result of the high sugar concentration in honey, draws water from the bacterial cells, dehydrating and killing them.

In addition, several studies have shown that honey inhibits the formation of biofilms, or communities of slimy disease-causing bacteria, she said. “Honey may also disrupt quorum sensing, which weakens bacterial virulence, rendering the bacteria more susceptible to conventional antibiotics,” Meschwitz said. Quorum sensing is the way bacteria communicate with one another, and may be involved in the formation of biofilms. In certain bacteria, this communication system also controls the release of toxins, which affects the bacteria’s pathogenicity, or their ability to cause disease.

Meschwitz, who is with Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., said another advantage of honey is that unlike conventional antibiotics, it doesn’t target the essential growth processes of bacteria. The problem with this type of targeting, which is the basis of conventional antibiotics, is that it results in the bacteria building up resistance to the drugs.

Honey is effective because it is filled with healthful polyphenols, or antioxidants, she said. These include the phenolic acids, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid and ellagic acid, as well as many flavonoids. “Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between the non-peroxide antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of honey and the presence of honey phenolics,” she added. A large number of laboratory and limited clinical studies have confirmed the broad-spectrum antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of honey, according to Meschwitz.

She said that her team also is finding that honey has antioxidant properties and is an effective antibacterial. “We have run standard antioxidant tests on honey to measure the level of antioxidant activity,” she explained. “We have separated and identified the various antioxidant polyphenol compounds. In our antibacterial studies, we have been testing honey’s activity against E. coliStaphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, among others.”

*This study was presented the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316132801.htm

Eating organic food protects from pesticide exposure

Eating organic food protects from pesticide exposure

Filed Under: Pesticides Organics Health Children
Children who switched to eating organically-grown food greatly reduced their exposure to organophosphate insecticides. Scientists from Seattle and Atlanta just published the results of their study which linked pesticides in children’s urine to pesticide residues on food. Scientists worry that organophosphates might harm children’s developing nervous systems.

Children who switched to eating organically-grown food greatly reduced their exposure to organophosphate insecticides. Scientists from Seattle and Atlanta just published the results of their study which linked pesticides in children’s urine to pesticide residues on food. Scientists worry that organophosphates might harm children’s developing nervous systems.

Twenty-three elementary-aged children participated in a 15 day study which was divided into three parts. First the children ate their usual diet of conventionally-grown food for 3 days. Then they were switched to organically-grown substitutes for 5 days. For the final 7 days, they switched back to conventional food.

The organic substitutes were mainly fruits, vegetables, juices, and grain products (such as wheat) because these foods are often contaminated with organophosphates.

Urine samples were collected twice a day for each child. Researchers tested the urine for signs of pesticides.

In the case of two organophosphate insecticides — malathion and chlorpyrifos — the results were startling. Signs of these two chemicals were found in the urine in the first part of the study. Almost immediately after the children switched to an organic diet, these chemicals could not be detected. The chemicals showed up again when the children switched back to their normal diet.

The researchers said “We were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agriculture.”

More information on chlorpyrifos

The organophosphate family of chemicals damages the nervous system (which includes the brain), so scientists are particularly concerned about children’s exposure because their bodies are still developing. Chlorpyrifos is one of the many insecticides in this chemical family.

In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to start cancelling some uses of chlorpyrifos, in part because of some disturbing animal studies. For example, newborn rats were much more susceptible to toxic effects of chlorpyrifos than adults. Also, even low doses of chlorpyrifos caused structural changes in the development of the brain.

While chlorpyrifos has been greatly restricted for uses in and around homes, it is still widely used in agriculture. The study described above makes it clear that children are still exposed to chlorpyrifos from residues on food.

http://www.pesticide.org/the-buzz/eating-organic-food-protects-children-from-pesticide-exposure

deep inside the forest is a door into another land

Fight Oppression.

the power of pure/positive thought

i-hate-you-1050x787

 

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a researcher and alternative healer from Japan has given the world a good deal of evidence of the magic of positive thinking. He became famous when his water molecule experiments featured in the 2004 film, What The Bleep Do We Know? His experiments demonstrate that human thoughts and intentions can alter physical reality, such as the molecular structure of water. Given that humans are comprised of at least 60% water, his discovery has far reaching implications… can anyone really afford to have negative thoughts or intentions.

The rice experiment is another famous Emoto demonstration of the power of negative thinking (and conversely, the power of positive thinking.) Dr Emoto placed portions of cooked rice into two containers. On one container he wrote “thank you” and on the other “you fool”. He then instructed school children to say the labels on the jars out loud everyday when they passed them by. After 30 days, the rice in the container with positive thoughts had barely changed, while the other was moldy and rotten.

After watching this video, we have to ask ourselves…if our thoughts can do that to the water and rice?.. then what do our thoughts do to our body??? It seems clear that negative/impure thoughts damage our body. The more we allow our minds to dwell in negativity and impurity, the worse the damage is. The more we keep our minds on pure/positive thoughts, the more we can enhance our health and well-being.

http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/01/scientific-proof-thoughts-intentions-can-alter-the-physical-world-around-us/

tapped into a source that’s omnipotent

Taking Action to Reduce Global Warming

Taking Action to Reduce Global Warming

The following article is a review on a study taken from the journal Science Education entitled, Beliefs and Willingness to Act About Global Warming: Where to Focus Science Pedagogy?

[view full article online after registering] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sce.2013.97.issue-2/issuetoc

This article will focus on the role that science educators have in promoting student awareness of global warming and their role in empowering students to take action to reduce global warming. In this study, 500 secondary students from New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and 785 secondary students from England, contribute their thoughts regarding the effectiveness of various actions that need to be taken to address the issue of global warming through the use of a specially designed questionnaire. The relationship between beliefs and willingness to take action to help reduce the impact of global warming is a major focal point of this study, as well as actions science educators may take to encourage pro-environmental behavior. Herein, I will give a summary of the study and the points that I feel are the most important, and I will include my thoughts on actions science educators should take to address socioscientific issues.

Climate neutrality is a term that wraps up the goal of achieving a balanced and harmonious planet. To achieve this, the article explains, it is imperative that governments, cities, businesses, and individuals, especially in developed countries, make changes to their energy usage. For global warming to be reduced and eventually brought back to equilibrium, people need to change. This parallels the prophetic Biblical message that states for kingdoms to change, people need to change. Similarly, if we want to reduce green house gases and restore the natural balance, people need to change the way they think and the way they behave.

Science educators are employed to disseminate science understandings and science inquiry skills. However, this research supports the notion that science educators can make a real contribution to the adoption of pro-environmental behaviors. Science teachers, in my opinion, need to focus not only on issues surrounding global warming, but also on promoting students’ scientific knowledge and social activism in ways that reinforce each other.

In this study, science education would be making a necessary and essential contribution to enabling students to make reasoned decisions in science-related personal and civic matters. When students feel personally empowered to effect change related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this prerequisite for action will motivate them to engage in content-specific knowledge and cognitive skills. While socioscientific activism may not be a traditional role of science teachers, it is a role that is becoming more and more of a NEED.

This study begins by analyzing students from two different cultures and imploring their beliefs about the necessity to take action to reduce global warming, followed by their WILLINGNESS to take pro-environmental action. It was stated in this research, that for students to be empowered to meet the challenge of global warming, students must, “be motivated for action toward the global warming problem (have hope and vision for the future, have a general feeling that they can influence the future of the world, be interested and engaged in the global warming issue, and think that environmental protection is important for society),” and they need to have, “sufficient knowledge about the science of global warming, possible adequate actions in terms of personal lifestyle, technical solutions and political measures, and possible channels of influence through politics, organizations, etc.”

Sufficient knowledge thus becomes the role of science educators. Science educators need to broaden the awareness of the students. This can easily be done while maintaining the traditional approach of imparting science understanding. Planting trees and learning about botany is a great way for science teachers to impart the knowledge they are employed to impart, while promoting an ACTIVE role in reducing global warming. In the article, they go on to say that science education, “can assist in meeting many of these requirements, and a science teacher, focusing on social activism as well as science understanding and inquiry processes, and who is also aware of these empirical findings and theoretical positions about being pro-environmentally active, will make better informed pedagogical decisions that may assist students in deciding to take pro-environmental actions.” Science teachers may be able to enhance more of their students’ understanding by requiring them to compare energy use and consequent greenhouse gas emissions of different appliances and houses without insulation and other areas of study.

According to this study, more English students than NSW students believed that nuclear power, home insulation, less artificial fertilizer use, and more recycling would reduce global warming. About forty percent of all the students believed that the best ways to address global warming were to use public transportation, renewable resources, to plant more trees, to use smaller cars, and to use less home electricity. The other forty percent believed recycling, the use of nuclear energy, the use of energy efficient appliances, insulation (to reduce energy use), and fertilizer free foods is the best approach in addressing the global warming issue. Lastly, approximately twenty percent of the students believed that using fewer new items and eating less meat were important in creating a pro-environmental impact.

To increase economic savings, insulation improvements and the use of fuel-efficient vehicles was thought to be the major areas of improvement. However, while nuclear power was agreed to be a great way to produce energy without heavily damaging the environment, it comes at a high economic cost. In the grand scheme of things though, it is agreed that these costs are worthwhile and this form of energy use should be embraced. Like adults, students may be largely unaware that nuclear energy is a low greenhouse gas emission technology.

To add greater clarity to their thoughts, three categories were developed. The first category addresses the potential effectiveness of education. In both countries, students agree that the highest potential effectiveness of education are supporting energy production from renewable resources, planting more trees, purchasing energy-efficient domestic appliances, and accepting a diet with less meat content. This study suggests that educators can have a huge impact in increasing awareness that these actions can contribute to a reduction in global warming. Education, then, would serve as a great tool to create behavior change on a population basis.

The second area considered the natural willingness to act. In the study, students said that they were willing to save electricity at home, to buy more energy-efficient appliances, and to improve home insulation. However, there were differences in opinion between the two cultures regarding recycling, using smaller cars, planting more trees, using less artificial fertilizer in food production, buying fewer new items, and purchasing energy-efficient domestic goods. The English students said they were less willing to engage in action regarding these areas, whereas, NSW students said they were more inclined to undertake pro-environmental actions.
The third area considered the natural reluctance to act. The studies found that the action with the smallest natural reluctance to act was switching off unused domestic appliances. The studies also showed that English students appeared less reluctant to improve home insulation.

A major finding of this study is that the association between beliefs about the effectiveness of specific actions to reduce global warming and the willingness to take those specific actions varies greatly. This discussion is not suggesting that teachers tell students how to behave, but instead, for teachers to provide students with opportunities to debate, evaluate, and judge for themselves the relative merits of competing positions. For people to change, they have to WANT to change. When presented with clear information regarding the topic of global warming, hopefully everyone will make the selfless choice to take ACTION in order to create a positive pro-environmental change!

The studies showed that the most productive behaviors on which to focus education are eating less meat, using renewables, and to use fertilizer-free food. For some of these actions, students seemed to be unaware that eating meat increases one’s contribution to global warming. Most people are familiar with carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, but many people are unaware of the fact that methane produced by livestock and nitrous oxide released through fertilizer runoff promotes global warming and is destructive to the planet. It was concluded in this article that an increased understanding about the role of meat eating and fertilizer use in global warming needs more emphasis.

While this article addressing the scientific aspects of global warming, woven within it is a spiritual and philosophical message as well. For us to WANT to help the earth and all life in it and on it by working toward addressing the global warming issue, we have to have LOVE FOR LIFE! We have to CARE first and foremost. Only when we WANT to change, will we change. This study showed that may students (and adults) WANT to change and they do care, but how many will TAKE ACTION!?! The study showed us that while students care, only a small percentage are willing to take action. The actions that they take are certainly selfless when they go out of their way to conserve energy use and to avoid wasting and being cognizant of the impact of their actions in the natural world, yet the studies show clearly that while MANY agree that reducing meat intake is a necessary pro-environmental action, very FEW are willing to make the sacrifice. In order to make a big impact and to restore the natural equilibrium of the world, we MUST be willing to sacrifice our selfish desires and our unnecessary ways of life. We need to be DISCIPLINED and MOTIVATED to create a positive change and DEDICATED to inspiring others to change. Now is time to take action to create a better world for ourselves and for the future generations to come!

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