Category Archives: Health

Uncharted Territory: WHO Warns on Climate Change

The Guardian reported on the World Health Organization’s report recent assessment of record temperatures in 2016 and implications for the future. “Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” said David Carlson, director of the WMO’s world climate research programme.

Here’s a clip:

2016 saw the hottest global average among thermometer measurements stretching back to 1880. But scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about 115,000 years ago and that the planet has not experienced such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 4m years.

2017 has seen temperature records continue to tumble, in the US where February was exceptionally warm, and in Australia, where prolonged and extreme heat struck many states. The consequences have been particularly stark at the poles.

“Arctic ice conditions have been tracking at record low conditions since October, persisting for six consecutive months, something not seen before in the [four-decade] satellite data record,” said Prof Julienne Stroeve, at University College London in the UK. “Over in the southern hemisphere, the sea ice also broke new record lows in the seasonal maximum and minimum extents, leading to the least amount of global sea ice ever recorded.”

Indigenous Iowa breaks ground on Earth Mother Camp, an environmentally progressive think tank

Indeigenous activist Cheryl Angel speaks at the site of the new Earth Mother Camp. Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann.

Indigenous Iowa, a social and environmental justice organization rooted in indigenous culture, welcomed the first visitors to the Earth Mother Community Education Camp near Williamsburg, Iowa on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The ceremony began with a song to welcome water protectors from Oceti Sakowin, a camp at Standing Rock, North Dakota resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Cedric Goodhouse was

invited to start the ceremonial fire, setting positive intentions for the camp. There were speeches by Oceti Sakowin, Indigenous Iowa and Meskwaki speakers at the ceremony.

Click here to read the full article.

Turning Deadly Poop Into Fertile Soil

Due to lack of a proper sanitation system Haiti is fighting the worst CHOLERA epidemic in modern History. “Since 2006 a non-profit organization called SOIL has been transforming human waste into resources in Haiti. Through the use of ecological sanitation, SOIL is working to create a revolutionary business model for providing access to safe, dignified sanitation that produces rich, organic compost as a natural resource for Haiti’s badly-depleted soils, while also creating economic opportunities in some of the world’s most under-resourced communities”.

This ecological sanitation is a game changer, this is one of the most organic fertilizers, there are no chemicals added and is rich in nutrients and minerals, this is what allows plants to grow healthy and stronger. It also adds organic matter to the soil which may improve soil structure, aeration, soil moisture-holding capacity, and water infiltration. Plants that grow in a rich soil environment are stronger than those plants that grow in a soil full of fertilizers made in labs by humans, that have added chemicals and therefore need insecticidal because a plant needs more than NPK( Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) to be strong, and this manure fertilizer provides more of the nutrients that the plants and the soils needs.

For more details please see the following video, courtesy of AJ+:

Turning Deadly Poop Into Fertile Soil

Haiti is fighting cholera by turning human poop into rich fertilizer.

Posted by AJ+ on Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kate’s Outline


C  N  P    O U T L I N E

Theme : will be based on the concept of oil and crude materials and their destruction of nature and society as a whole. The idea is the spilling of oil will have an effect everywhere with its drips touching everything.

General storyline I (maybe with someone else) will walk up representing humanity/Big Oil. Will admire this beautiful piece, and then spill all over it. Subject matter/ pieces in the whole canvas: forest, ocean, desert, cityscapes, possibly Iowa City, polar ice caps, human health, and how our culture is impacting these elements.

Main characters me, the piece, humanity. 

Interviews / Research Erica Damman (arts medium), Richard Priest (oil background), online research of artists of inspiration

Arts Medium  slanted canvas with acrylic subjects. Then real oil or a replacement will be spilt over it, dripping on ceramic/plastic figures of humans on a map.

Addicted to Oil

From the beginning I have been interested in the question, “if we know our current system is bad, and there is a better option, why don’t we do it?” This seems to be at the heart of every activist; trying to understand why change is not happening. What I have come up with is that Americans are plain addicted to their ways. I want to use the metaphor comparing Big Oil companies to Drug Dealers, as they facilitate quick, easy, dirty oil into our system and make almost all our products that much easier to access. Companies understand that using fossil fuels is damaging our environment, but “we must support ourselves and using Big Oil is just what our company does.” But isn’t that the same thing as providing something you know is bad because “its a part of my job”? Drug dealers don’t make you buy their product, but they are readily available when you need a fix.
As a part of my project, I would like to explore this metaphor in depth and come up with parallel examples of how the two are similar. I could put this into an art form using painting, sculpture, or a fictional short film.

Here is one example of a glass sculpture piece I would like to do.

The idea of this piece is the funnel-like quality for one thing to impact everything there after. This sculpture form could play with the idea of drugs by using objects associated (powder, oil, syringes, etc.)


I am also concidering a film that documents a drug dealer’s choices and decisions, and comparing that to a figure affiliated with Big Oil.

Projected Plant Hardiness Zones Indicate An Uncertain Future

The USDA updated the Plant Hardiness Zone map in 2012 for the first time since 1990 because there had been such advancements in technology that the map became much more precise. The USDA will need to update again just half a decade later because of the ever changing climate and the impact it is having.

The National Climate Assessment, in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have put together projected zone shifts by 2040. The maps indicate a positive feedback response that is accelerating the rate at which the zones are shifting. Some estimates have put Iowa in the zone that northern Louisiana occupied in the updated map.

This shift is currently having a great impact on agriculture and water quality, but may also impact our societal norms by a shifting demography simultaneously. We are in uncharted waters and the future is an unknown. Unfortunately, at this point all one can do is hold on and hope for the best.


The thirst for meat is rising worldwide at a rate that is unsustainable under the current model for production. This TED Talk provides a possible solution to some major issues: desertification, an increased demand for meat and climate change on the whole.  This is a radical idea, but it provides a paradigm for working with nature rather than leaving it to it’s own devices. We as humans are still animals and can provide an ecosystem service that can have benefits for all species living on this planet. We must come to terms with the reality that is before us, instead of fantasizing about an idealized outcome. Life is hard and it should be; one must struggle to ensure that progress is made. This talk may seem counter-intuitive to what most believe to be true, but if one were to look at how nature works at an optimum level, death and population correction is one of the most crucial parts of the equation. For an example, simply look at deer in Iowa, Kangaroo in Australia or what happened in Yellowstone after the wolves were eradicated. Without an apex predator, populations of some go out of control and destroy an even larger area than humans could. Finding a niche is the only way we can prosper and that niche is not from the outside looking in.

We must be participants in the ecological world using the most valuable tool nature gave us… our brain.


Intentional Cooperative Agriculture

Dan Barber, a famous chef from New York City, talks about his profound experience of seeing the best foie gras in the world being cultivated by a rancher in Spain. This talk highlights the missing link between our food and our lives. Many people think that food comes from the store and heat comes from the furnace. As a former chef, I can attest that most do not know and do not want to know where the they eat comes from… especially fine dining. A process like gavage is a prime example of humans manipulating nature to attain a product that is made naturally if one has the patience.



Will Health Dangers Get Public Engaged on Climate Action?

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 8.11.54 AMWriting in the Conversation online magazine, Professor Mathew Nisbet from Northeastern examines the role of public health issues in making breakthroughs on climate change awareness and action, drawn from “a series of studies that I conducted with several colleagues in 2010 and 2011,” where Nisbet examined “how Americans respond to information about climate change when the issue is reframed as a public health problem.”

Here’s a clip:

“In comparison to messages that defined climate change in terms of either the environment or national security, talking about climate change as a public health problem generated greater feelings of hope among subjects. Research suggests that fostering a sense of hope, specifically a belief that actions to combat climate change will be successful, is likely to promote greater public involvement and participation on the issue.

Among subjects who tended to doubt or dismiss climate change as a problem, the public health focus also helped diffuse anger in reaction to information about the issue, creating the opportunity for opinion change.”

Read the full story here:

Climate change threat to public health worse than polio, White House warns

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 10.06.07 AMWhite House officials showcased a new study this week on the looming health impacts of climate change. In a line: Climate change poses a serious danger to public health – worse than polio in some respects – and will strike especially hard at pregnant women, children, low-income people and communities of color, an authoritative US government report warned on Monday.

Read the full story at the Guardian. Here’s a clip:

The report, The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment, formally unveiled at the White House, warned of sweeping risks to public health from rising temperatures in the coming decades – with increased deaths and illnesses from heat stroke, respiratory failure and diseases such as West Nile virus.