'We Have So Much More to Do': Youth Climate Activists Declare as Global Elite Close Out Davos Forum
By Andrea Germanos
Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.
Among those taking part in the march were Rise Up Movement founder Vanessa Nakate of Uganda and School Strike for Climate trailblazer Greta Thunberg of Sweden. Thunberg has already taken forum participants to task this week for their vacuous promises and insufficient plans to rein in planet-cooking emissions.
WEEK 59 #ClimateStrike in Davos w/@GretaThunberg @Luisamneubauer @isabelle_ax and so many more amazing activists! W… https://t.co/Z9Tw0PfSmE— Alexandria Villaseñor is in Davos (@Alexandria Villaseñor is in Davos)1579867790.0
"As long as the science is being ignored, as long as the facts are not being taken into account, and as long as the situation is not being treated as a crisis, then world and business leaders can of course continue to ignore the situation," Thunberg said at a news conference Friday.
Thunberg's headline-grabbing voice is just one part of a loud and youthful chorus at the summit. One of the stages for this chorus has been the "Arctic basecamp," a scientist-created concept to highlight at the annual forum the climate crisis's particular threat to the region.
Would you sleep in sub-zero temperatures to save the climate? #WEF2020 #WorldEconomicForum #Davos @ArcticBasecamp… https://t.co/qhBnO17YJH— DW Business (@DW Business)1579470603.0
The basecamp hosted several young activists at this year's summit, including Nakate, who talked to CNBC International about the discrepancy between the campers and the jet-setting forum-goers.
"We are just trying to show them that we are doing the right thing despite the fact that we are not sleeping or staying in the best conditions," Nakate told the outlet. "And, as they are enjoying their first class (flights), they should know that there are people who are actually living in worse conditions."
"So, we are practically representing those people who are already facing the impact of the climate crisis. It is time to get out of our comfort zones," she added.
Interview with @CNBCi https://t.co/KuuW6i3ZBD #Davos2020 #WEF20 https://t.co/Rq1FDg7ab4— Vanessa Nakate (@Vanessa Nakate)1579797814.0
Nakate joined fellow Arctic Basecamp guests Kaime Silvestre of Brazil, Brooks Whiteman of England, Eva Jones of the U.S. and Wenying Zhu of China for a roundtable discussion Tuesday with Rolling Stone.
During the discussion, Nakate expressed her frustration with the lack of concrete and sufficient commitments at summit, saying, "What they do is speak and promise but they don't take action."
Corporate media coverage of the climate crisis also came in for criticism, with Nakate saying the recent torrential rains falling in African nations have not received the scope of coverage as other disasters elsewhere in the world.
"I have no problem with them reporting other disasters, but we saw the California fires and they would report about them every day," said Nakate. "We've seen the Australian fires, and they've been reporting about them every day, and donations have been coming out to those kinds of people. It really saddens me because there are people as well in African countries."
That erasure of humanity was punctuated Friday, when Nakate said she was temporarily "cropped out" of a photo accompanying an Associated Press article. The omission, Nakate suggested, was intentional.
The original photo showed five climate activists. The four that remained — Luisa Neubauer, Greta Thunberg, Isabelle Axelsson and Loukina Tille — are white.
If you look very carefully, you can see where @AP cropped black climate activist @vanessa_vash out of the photo It… https://t.co/XroKsQJfKQ— Charlene (@Charlene)1579878188.0
In a video she shared on Twitter, Nakate said, "This is the first time in my life I understood the definition of racism....Does it mean that I have no value?"
"Africa is the least emitter of carbon but we have [been] the most affected by the climate crisis. But you erasing our voices won't change anything."
Share if you can What it means to be removed from a photo! https://t.co/1dmcbyneYV— Vanessa Nakate (@Vanessa Nakate)1579877854.0
BuzzFeed reported on the photo change and included a comment from AP.
"There was no ill intent," an AP spokesperson told the outlet. "AP routinely publishes photos as they come in and when we received additional images from the field, we updated the story. AP has published a number of images of Vanessa Nakate."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Greta Thunberg Punches Back After Treasury Secretary Mnuchin ... ›
- 4 Ways to Be a Real Youth Activist - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
In Major Win for Indigenous Rights, Supreme Court Rules Much of Eastern Oklahoma Is Still a Reservation
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
- Federal Judge Orders Trump Admin to Give Native Americans Their ... ›
- Police Were Ready to Shoot Indigenous Pipeline Protesters in ... ›
- Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally for Wet'suwet'en ... ›
By Tiffany Means
Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.
The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.
- Airborne Coronavirus Transmission Must Be Taken Seriously, 239 ... ›
- Trump Halts WHO Funding Amidst Criticism of His Own Coronavirus ... ›
- Here's Why COVID-19 Can Spread So Easily at Gyms and Fitness ... ›
- Is the New Coronavirus Airborne? A Study From China Finds Evidence ›
By Angela Nicoletti
The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.
- Global Frog Pandemic May Become Even Deadlier as Strains ... ›
- New Species of Diamond Frog Discovered in Remote Pocket of ... ›
- Frogs Are on the Verge of Mass Extinction, Scientists Say - EcoWatch ›
A new analysis by scientists at the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that lemurs and the North Atlantic right whale are on the brink of extinction.
- Trump Admin Denies Endangered Species Protections to Pacific ... ›
- Trump Admin Failed to Protect 241 Species From Extinction ... ›
- New Border Wall Construction Threatens 8 Species With Extinction ... ›
By Julia Vergin
It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
- 8 Ways to Tell if You Are Vitamin D Deficient - EcoWatch ›
- 7 Healthy Foods That Are High in Vitamin D - EcoWatch ›
- 7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common ›
Ocean scientists have been busy creating a global network to understand and measure changes in ocean life. The system will aggregate data from the oceans, climate and human activity to better inform sustainable marine management practices.
EcoWatch sat down with some of the scientists spearheading the collaboration to learn more.
Climate models are predicting faster warming of the North Atlantic Ocean, which will shift the Gulf Stream. NASA
- Could the Climate Crisis Spell the End for Maine Lobster? - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Reasons Why Biodiversity Matters - EcoWatch ›
- World Leaders, Media Ignore Biodiversity Report Detailing Mass ... ›
- The Top 10 Ocean Biodiversity Hotspots to Protect - EcoWatch ›