The week that was 3 - 10 July | The Jackal

10 Jul 2011

The week that was 3 - 10 July

On Tuesday the United Nations announced in its annual survey of economic and social trends, that World food production will have to increase by up to 100% by the year 2050.

It also advocated for a focus on greener sustainable production methods to meet the requirements of an expected 9 billion people.

The UN’s annual World Economic and Social Survey (PDF) called for governments to invest nearly $2 trillion per year to help small-scale farming and to reduce environmental harm.
"A fundamental technological overhaul will be required. Technologies will need to undergo drastic changes so as to become more efficient in the use of energy and other resources and minimize the generation of harmful pollutants.

At present, 90 percent of energy is generated through brown technologies that utilize fossil fuels, with this type of production being responsible for about 60 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emis- sions.

According to the more cautious scenario, for CO2 equivalent concentrations to be stabilized at 450 parts per million (consistent with the target of stabilizing global warming at a 2o C temperature increase from pre-industrial levels), the use of fossil fuels would need to drop by 80 per cent by mid-century," the report said.
The United Nations also said that 925 million people are currently undernourished throughout the world. Two-thirds are concentrated in seven countries: Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

The NZ Medical Association is calling for a reduction in social inequity, largely inspired by a worldwide review undertaken by the England based Whitehall Studies group.

The Principal Investigator Michael Marmott has headed the research group looking into worldwide health inequalities for the past 30 years. They are investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality.

New Zealand has a higher than normal rate of hospitalisations for children with diseases of poverty such as skin infections and lung diseases. Rheumatic fever, a severe throat infection which damages the heart, is 23 times more likely for Maori, and 49 times more likely for Pacific people, than for Europeans.
"I was struck by the high number of people who were affected by a whole range of diseases including the more predictable obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but also asthma, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, developmental delay, skin infections, drug addictions and congenital disease," Dr Don Simmers, who heads the association's health equity subcommittee said.
The Medical Association advocates a wide-ranging package to tackle inequality including banning cigarette sales, exempting healthy food from GST, and fixing welfare levels and the minimum wage in line with a "minimum income for healthy living".

NZ Art Guild Project 2010
The New Zealand Art Guild has collaborated 56 artworks into one giant piece for charity to be unveiled at the Mairangi Art Centre in Auckland on July 26.

The major work entitled Light of My Life, will raise funds for KidsCan, a national charitable trust supporting disadvantaged Kiwi kids.

The artwork will be auctioned on Trademe from July 27 with 100% of the proceeds donated to KidsCan.

The New Zealand Art Guild undertook a similar fundraising event last year by selling a painting of 90 separate panels, which was a collaboration of 88 individual New Zealand artists from throughout the country. The artwork was entitled Reach Out, and raised a total of $2000 for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

All 56 individual artworks that make up Light of My Life, will be combined to create a piece measuring 1.3 by 1.15 metres. The exact image of the collaborative artwork will be kept secret, even from those participating in it, until unveiling night. 100 limited edition prints of the artwork will also be available with a percentage of the proceeds going to KidsCan.

"We appreciate the support and generosity we have received from our guild members over the past six years with these annual collaborative charity fundraisers. KidsCan rely heavily on donations to do their amazing work and our members are thrilled to get behind such a worthwhile charity," New Zealand Art Guild executive director Sophia Elise said.

Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to allow the process of hydraulic fracturing across 85 percent of New York’s Marcellus Shale, a coalition of 47 consumer, faith, food, environmental and multi-issue advocacy organizations called for a statewide ban on fracking on Thursday.

Last week, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its recommendations on fracking, allowing the practice in most areas of the state outside of the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. The DEC’s plan, which informed Governor Cuomo’s decision, leaves many New Yorkers without equal protection from the environmental and public health risks associated with fracking, and still exposes New York City and Syracuse residents to many impacts of shale gas drilling, including toxic air emissions.

A recent investigative series by The New York Times found that the natural gas industry has exaggerated the economic benefits of fracking, while downplaying its risks to public health and the environment.
“It’s wrong and unfair for the Cuomo administration to lift the ban on fracking, as it is a technology that has proven to destroy land, water, public health and economic growth. It is especially despicable to provide an exception for the Syracuse and New York City watersheds, while opening up the rest of the state to hazardous drilling. If it’s too dangerous for these urban areas, then it is too dangerous for all of New York. People across the state deserve equal protection. Governor Cuomo, don’t frack New York!” said Lois Marie Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice.
The coalition opposing fracking includes several national and state organizations including Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Credo Action, Center for Heath Environment and Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Citizen Action New York.

To date, more than 60 municipalities in the United States have passed measures against fracking.

The Human Rights Watch reported yesterday that Yemeni forces may have recently killed dozens more civilians in unlawful attacks while fighting an Islamist armed group in southern Abyan province. The conflict has continued since May 2011.

The army's 25th Mechanized Brigade has been launching artillery and other strikes on Zinjibar and surrounding areas from its base on the outskirts of Zinjibar, assisted by the air force and navy.
"As Yemeni government forces battle armed militants in Abyan, civilians are paying the price. Both sides need to be doing much more to protect civilians from harm, and the government should be investigating possible laws-of-war violations by its forces in Abyan," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
The Yemeni army and other state security forces have clashed with the Ansar al-Sharia forces for more than three months in Abyan. The militants, who authorities claim are linked to al-Qaeda, overran the town of Jaar on March 27 and seized Abyan's nearby provincial capital city, Zinjibar, on May 29.

Since February, pro-democracy protesters have frequently protested across the country, calling to end President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule.

Yesterday, Cities across Egypt saw the largest demonstrations since the revolutionary struggles that forced the resignation of US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak on February 11.

Protests, including indefinite sit-ins in public squares like those that forced Mubarak from power, showed the rising opposition to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) military junta that replaced Mubarak.

Among those joining the protests were striking workers from several critical industrial facilities in Egypt, including the Suez Canal and the Mahalla textile plants.

A key cause of public anger is the SCAF’s defense of Mubarak regime officials, and police who imprisoned or killed protesters. In contrast, the SCAF has passed a law banning strikes and protests that hurt the economy, trying and convicting an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 civilians in military tribunals.