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Defending the Amazon, Indigenous Rights & Planetary Integrity

As the Amazon Rainforest crisis persists, our inability to protect our planet poses an existential threat to all of Earth’s inhabitants. As the sky recently turned black over Sao Paulo, Brazil because of smoke (thousands of kilometers away) from the fires that is so thick it can be viewed by NASA space satellites, the world’s leaders were assembled at the G-7 summit in Europe, seemingly more interested in exchanging sophomoric insults than solving the world’s most pressing and urgent problems.  According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, almost 73,000 forest fires have been documented this year alone. That’s an alarming 84% increase from what was observed in 2018. 

As Indigenous groups and conservationists scramble to defend the lungs of our planet, Brazil’ President Jair Bolsonaro audaciously shrugged off the news and blamed NGO’s and Indigenous groups for the glaring uptick in fires in the Amazon. Since taking office in January, Bolsonaro has promised to roll back environmental protections and indigenous rights in order to exploit the Amazon for increased farming and mining, and he has made good on that promise.

Invasion of indigenous territories are on the rise in Brazil, and indigenous groups are increasingly under threat as titans of industry within mining, logging, and animal farming continue to encroach upon indigenous land and destroy precious parcels of the Amazon for commercial exploitation.   Bolsonaro has emboldened these invasions. Recently, a group of heavily armed miners invaded indigenous land in Northern Brazil and assassinated one of the community’s indigenous leaders.

Indigenous peoples in Brazil are once again on the front lines today of one of the most brutal attacks on their rights and on the forest in recent history. We’re now seeing the drastic rollback of 30 years of progress on human rights and environmental protection in Brazil under Bolsonaro’s regime, which romanticizes Brazil’s past when military dictatorship took helm and presided over wanton destruction of the forest. The Munduruku people have been resisting encroachment and destruction of their land for centuries, and their fight (along with other indigenous groups and the very spirit of the Amazon jungle itself) is more urgent than ever as Brazil’s government and commercial industries continue to violate with impunity.

The tragedy currently taking place in the Amazon is indicative of a broader cultural problem in regards to our relationship with our planet. 1/5th of all the world’s plants and birds and about 1/10th of all mammal species are found in the Amazon. Earth has lost half its wildlife in the past four decades. Based on an analysis of thousands of vertebrate species by the wildlife group WWF and the Zoological Society of London, our way of life has presided over the destruction of 60% of our animal populations since 1970. The report calculates a global “ecological footprint,” which measures the area required to supply the ecological goods and services humans use. It concludes that humanity currently needs the regenerative capacity of 1.5 Earths to supply these goods and services each year.

With the planet’s population expected to grow by 2.4 billion people by 2050, the challenge of providing enough food, water and energy (while sustaining planetary health) will be difficult. This should be the real “RED ALERT” placated all over the media, as the shocking and rapid decline of planetary biodiversity poses an imminent catastrophe that plagues all of us, requiring urgent and bold alterations to our way of life.

That being said, we have more than enough resources to profit food and shelter to billions of people. Solutions done seem to be the problem, it’s human consciousness, greed and ego.

Outrage is an understandable response to the Amazon crisis, but not sufficient to redress the problem.  We need to take individual action in our daily lives by altering our lifestyles. One of the most under-reported aspects of Amazonian deforestation is our addiction to consuming meat. Beef, soy, palm oil and wood drive the majority of tropical deforestation.

Animal agriculture is devastating for the Earth. Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is a primary factor in the proliferation of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

“1.2 billion farmed animals are slaughtered globally every week for human consumption. In one week, more farmed animals are killed than the total number of people killed in all wars throughout history. Although these animals are treated as commodity, they are — in fact — sentient beings — like your pet cat or dog. We tend to assume that only vegans and vegetarians follow a belief system — but when eating animals is not a necessity (which is the case in much of the world today) — then it is a choice, and choices stem from beliefs. “Carnism” is a dominant philosophy — as eating animals is just the way things are — yet it runs contrary to core human values such as compassion, justice, and authenticity. And so — they need to use defense mechanisms that distort our thoughts and numb our feelings so that we act against our core values without fully realizing what we are even doing.” ~Dr. Melanie Joy  

The challenges that face our planet, our indigenous family, and our own imminent future are immense. It is easy to feel discouraged, angry, and hopeless about the state of the world, but the ability to harness humanity’s intelligence, creativity and compassion to steer the planet in a new direction is with us right now. We can take individual responsibility today, which can resonate immediately and create waves of influence that can lead to a collective change in behavior and attitudinal shift towards our relationship with nature and with ourselves.  This change starts from within, and this work begins with each of us making the choice to defend and protect this wondrous planet which has so graciously hosted our livelihood.

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Planet Earth

Strokes, Heart Attacks Spike on Days With Poor Air Quality

Hold Your Breath

Researchers already knew that chronic exposure to air pollution could wreak havoc on a person’s longterm health, causing serious ailments ranging from lung cancer to respiratory infection.

But now, new data out of the United Kingdom shows that air pollution can seemingly trigger heart attacks and stokes, too — bringing into focus the more immediate impacts of poor air quality.

Health Emergency

For this study, researchers from King’s College London gathered data on daily air pollution levels in nine cities in the U.K. and divided the data into “high pollution days” and “low pollution days.”

The researchers then looked at daily data on heart attacks and strokes in each city, and found that emergency services treated an average of 124 more people for heart attacks and 231 more people for strokes on high pollution days than on low.

Air Quote

King’s College plans to release its full report on the study in November, but according to Simon Stevens, National Health Service England’s chief executive, the preliminary data shows there’s no time to waste in addressing air pollution in England and beyond.

“These new figures show air pollution is now causing thousands of strokes, cardiac arrests, and asthma attacks, so it’s clear that the climate emergency is in fact also a health emergency,” he told The Guardian. “Since these avoidable deaths are happening now, not in 2025 or 2050, together we need to act now.”

READ MORE: Scores more heart attacks and strokes on high pollution days, figures show [The Guardian]

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Planet Earth

What Would Avicenna Want You To Eat?

Who is Avicenna?

Born in the 10th century, Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna, was a physician, the most famous and influential of the philosopher-scientists of the Islamic world during its golden age. He was particularly noted for his contributions in the fields of Aristotelian philosophy and medicine and of the 450 works he is believed to have written, around 240 of which have survived, including 150 on philosophy and 40 on medicine.

What Would Avicenna Want You To Eat?

Avicenna Portrait on Silver Vase – Museum at BuAli Sina (Avicenna) Mausoleum – Hamadan – Western Iran (Image Source)

The Canon of Medicine

His most famous work was probably “The Canon of Medicine,” which is an encyclopedia of medicine in five books. Apart from establishing the foundation for modern medicine, this book also features recipes for those who are suffering from certain illnesses. In his Book 5, Avicenna lists 650 compound drugs, attributing them to various Arabic, Indian and Greek sources. He also added his own comments, giving remedies to those who need it with simple foods and plants they can find.

Here are some of the foods that Avicenna advises you to consume:

Sesame:

What Would Avicenna Want You To Eat?

Sesame is a good source of calcium which makes your hair and nails grow stronger

This tiny seed is rich in oil and vitamin E. It is a good source of calcium which makes your hair and nails grow stronger. Avicenna also says that it is good for the brain and nerve cells as it contains lecithin.

Zucchini water:

What Would Avicenna Want You To Eat?

Zucchini is good for regulating blood pressure

Detox lovers are familiar with zucchini. It is said to improve eye health and is the number one source of anti-aging products. But according to Avicenna, it is also good for regulating blood pressure. He advises you to squeeze out zucchini water and consume it a few times a week.

Cauliflower:

What Would Avicenna Want You To Eat?

Cauliflower aids with liver health

Avicenna says that cauliflower is the best way to clean up your liver. When you consume this vegetable your liver produces a detoxifying enzyme. And thanks to the sulfur compounds it contains, cauliflower aids with liver health. This vegetable is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer.

Almond:

What Would Avicenna Want You To Eat?

Almond may help prevent respiratory diseases

If you are suffering from respiratory diseases, Avicenna’s recipe for you is to eat more almonds. Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. Avicenna says that if you consume almonds and drink honey sherbet afterwards, you will feel much better.

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Some Storms Are so Strong They Shake the Ocean Floor, Says Study

Seismic Mystery

It’s easy to see the impact an off-coast storm has on the water’s surface. But according to a new study, severe storms can actually shake the ocean floor as well, causing “stormquakes” — a previously unknown phenomena that solves a seismic mystery.

Scientists already knew prior to this study that the ocean produces seismic signals. But while some of those signals could be explained by the ocean’s waves, there was a band of signals that occurred at a frequency between 0.02 and 0.05 hertz that were seemingly inexplicable.

Weather Connection

It was those signals that the U.S.-based researchers behind this new study, which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on Monday, sought to explain — and after analyzing nearly 10 years’ worth of seismic data, they noticed a strange pattern emerging.

“[The signals] were seasonal,” researcher Wenyuan Fan told Science News. “Earthquakes do not have seasonality. But weather does.”

That led the team to the discovery that the shaking of the ocean floor coincided with the raging of a storm above it.

Perfect Storm

However, a storm alone isn’t enough to cause a stormquake — the seafloor below the storm has to be just the right shape, too.

“It’s something about the shape — or the bathymetry — of the seafloor interacting with these big ocean waves that are produced during storms,” researcher Wendy Bohon told Motherboard. “You’re getting some kind of energy relief that’s beating on the seafloor in a particular way, and those waves are moving out in all directions as coherent packages which we’re then able to detect using seismometers.”

READ MORE: Scientists Discover a New Phenomena Called ‘Stormquakes’ [Motherboard]

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