Almost 7 years ago, while going through some personal issues, I made a terrible mistake and ended up being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of California. It was a dark period in my life, but I have moved on and learned my lesson. This spring, however, my intoxicated driving conviction […]
You might think that having a heart attack would be motivating when it came to behaviour change, and that taking medications is a very straightforward behaviour.
The Post-Myocardial Infarction Free Rx Event and Economic Evaluation (MI FREEE) trial set out to study whether or not cost had a role to play in why so many patients, even post heart attack, don’t take the medications prescribed to them in the hopes of preventing another one by freely providing them with those medications.
Results wise, though the group receiving free preventive medications were taking more of them than the group that did not, at the end 1.5 years, only 41% of those receiving all their medications for free, medications prescribed to them after they had an actual heart attack, were taking them.
So file these results under human beings, even when faced with knowledge, and in this case knowledge coupled with a very real glimpse at mortality, struggle to maintain even the easiest of behaviour changes, and consider that in the context of the trope of education and personal responsibility as the sole means to target diet and weight related diseases. If we want to see population level changes, we’re going to need to change the food environment.
The nine to five brought you together. Cracking jokes by the copier, swapping stories on the line, laughing in the lunchroom, you found a friend between policies, procedures, and paperwork. When you got together you started noticing you were just you, just hanging out, just laughing about your day. Then one day your friendship zoomed […]
The post #465 When a work friend evolves into an outside-of-work friend appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.
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Last month, four residents from Louisiana neighborhoods impacted by air pollution traveled far from their Mississippi River parishes to Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, Japan, seeking help in their struggle for clean air.
St. James Parish’s Sharon Lavigne and Barbara Washington, both fighting to prevent additional petrochemical plant construction near their homes, attended the Congressional Convening on Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C., on June 26.*
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This story is being updated.
The speech started late, and with a reference to the heavy rains in Washington, D.C.
The rest of the world may be forgiven some skepticism about America’s environmental leadership — particularly under Trump. Within six months of taking office, Donald Trump had announced that he planned to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, the world’s framework for coordinating the international response to climate change, which scientists and world leaders have described as the most consequential environmental issue of our time.
Vancouver, Canada’s third most populous city, sits within the Cascadia subduction zone, known to produce powerful earthquakes. (Photo: JamesZ_Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
Kate Moran sleeps with a pair of shoes and a flashlight by her bed in Victoria.
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A recently published report has called into question the efficacy of land-based solutions being pushed by NGOs and major oil companies alike to mitigate climate change.
Natural climate solutions (NCS) — including programs referred to as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) — represent a body of land-based approaches for capturing carbon from the atmosphere and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NCS proposals range from enhanced forest management to conservation agriculture and ecosystem restoration.
Geoff Manaugh, in The Atlantic, on Law and Order: Mars.
Aaron Ross Coleman, in Buzzfeed, on fast food, blood pressure, and black Americans.
Pam Belluck, in The New York Times, on a scientist who solves her daughter’s rare medical mystery.
[And if you’ve the time and inclination, I really enjoyed speaking with the Balance365 podcast on healthy attitudes regarding weight management]
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From a natural gas industry conference to a major metropolitan area, more signs are emerging that natural gas is in a losing economic battle with renewables and battery storage. And considering recent news that existing fossil fuel projects are already enough to push the world past international climate goals, this emerging economic reality couldn’t come soon enough.
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Next Friday, July 12, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in south Philadelphia is slated to close its doors, marking the end of an era that began in 1866, one year after the Civil War ended, when 50,000 barrels of kerosene and chemicals were first stored on site.
The plant — which continued to struggle financially after emerging from bankruptcy in August 2018 — experienced a major industrial accident on June 21. That morning, a massive fireball lit up the pre-dawn sky over Philadelphia after leaking hydrocarbon gas had ignited. Five workers were injured, all treated on site. Three explosions shook walls in Philadelphia and the blast was reportedly felt as far away as South Jersey.
Emerging evidence suggests that the disaster could have been far more severe — in large part due to a deadly chemical used at the PES refinery and roughly 50 others nationwide.
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The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an environmental group with close ties to the corporate community, has taken a friendly approach to the explosion of the natural gas industry in the United States. In the early years of the fracking boom, EDF touted natural gas as a “bridge fuel” toward renewable energy. The organization helped to promote industry-funded misinformation by signing off on sham studies — for example from the University of Texas and the State University of New York at Buffalo — that claimed fracking was safe, but were fatally marred by basic errors in arithmetic and undisclosed conflicts of interest.
According to Cancer Research UK’s new public advertisements, obesity is apparently the new smoking.
What that means of course is that by formally adopting, amplifying, and promoting the message that obesity, like smoking, is a choice people make, Cancer Research UK fuels hateful weight based stigma.
More amazing perhaps is that the aim of the campaign is to apparently target the environment with their ads steering people, in the small print that people will likely miss and certainly can’t click on in train stations, to their web page calling for an end to junk food advertising to kids.
Obesity is the normal consequence of normal people living in abnormal, obesigenic, environments. Obesity often has hugely negative impacts upon health and quality of life (especially at its extremes), fuelled in no small part by the never ending blame, shame, and scorn heaped upon those who have obesity by society, and yet here is Cancer Research UK’s campaign to further justify that weight hate.
Shame on them. They absolutely should have known better.
Many years ago, I was reading a blog post by a blogger I’d been following for a while. She wrote about a recent struggle with depression and her honest words made such an impact on me. I remember thinking how brave it was for her to tell her story. While I hated that she was […]
William Langewiesche, in The Atlantic, with just incredible reporting on what we do and don’t know about the final flight of Malaysia Airlines MH370.
Andre Picard, in The Globe and Mail (but via his Tumblr), on how we’ve forgotten that vaccination isn’t just for children.
Ed Caesar, in The New York Times, on the epic hunt for a lost WWII aircraft carrier.
Podcast placeholder leading up to July 20
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Today, UCSF Library launched a new Fossil Fuel Industry Documents Archive featuring over 1,000 internal documents from the fossil fuel industry illustrating strategies to cast doubt on climate science and delay policy action. The documents were collected over two decades by the Climate Investigations Center.
UC San Francisco‘s Industry Documents Library (IDL) is a unique resource. It gathers and organizes internal documents from companies that privatize profits and socialize costs, risks or damage to health or environment.
Real science is often inconvenient for profits, so such companies spend money on politics, disinformation, doubt-creation and attacks on science and scientists, sometimes via “independent” think tanks or front groups often covered here on DeSmog.
UCSF has gotten tobacco documents for decades, but over the last few years has added Drug, Chemical and Food sections to the archive as well. Internal documents from lawsuits, whistleblowers and other sources can be quite valuable for exposing malfeasance, helping community action, backing legislation and supporting lawsuits. It is incredibly helpful to have one database of well-curated documents from multiple industries, as they use similar tactics often employed by some of the same people and organizations, as illustrated by personal experience below.
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On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Back in 2014, Sheffield told Forbes that he expected Pioneer could produce a million barrels of oil a day from the Permian basin by 2024 – up from 45,000 barrels a day in 2011.
Now, Sheffield, who left the helm of Pioneer in 2016 and returned this February, says that those million-barrel-a-day plans are looking increasingly doubtful as the industry has struggled to prove to investors that it’s capable not only of producing enormous volumes of oil and gas, but that it can do so while booking profits rather than losses.
“We lost the growth investors,” Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield told the Journal. “Now we’ve got to attract a whole other set of investors.”
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By Karen Savage, Climate Liability News. Originally posted on Climate Liability News.
The majority of Americans say fossil fuel companies should pay for damage caused by climate change, according to a recent poll released by Yale University on Wednesday.
Researchers asked 5,131 Americans how much they think global warming is harming their local communities, who they think should be responsible for paying for the damages, and whether they support lawsuits to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for those costs.
Today’s guest post comes from Dylan MacKay. Dylan is a nutritional biochemist who has type 1 diabetes and when I saw RD Marie Spano’s Instagram post, I knew he would have both personal and professional thoughts to share and so I invited him to do so.
I don’t know what it is with grapes but they always seem to be raisin my ire…
I mean as a person with type 1 diabetes, a PhD in Human Nutritional Science, and who does diabetes research and occasionally clinical trials looking at glucose response, maybe I’m not the one to talk about this, but I just can’t not.
Recently a Welch’s (*cough* big grape juice) “nutrition advisor” posted the above nutrition translation travesty on Instagram.
This is really kind of surprised me because when I have low blood sugar I often drink grape juice, How am I still alive? I mean I can honestly say there are times grape juice may have saved my life (by raising my blood sugar). Yet you could potentially look at this Instagram post and fairly think
“drinking 100% juice made from polyphenol-rich fruit juice does not raise your blood sugar”
unlike apparently that bad candy or pop that raises your blood sugar.
That would be of course 100% wrong.
Polyphenols are not magic sugar blockers, otherwise we would be using them to treat diabetes and you would get serious gastrointestinal upset from eating berries and grapes. I feel like you don’t even really need to be an RD to see this messaging is bad (Seriously, Welch’s advisors, how much do you get paid for your credibility?). Especially on a social media platform, where someone might not scroll to the end of the associated comment and look at the “reference” provided.
Speaking of the reference used for this knowledge translation crime, it is for a review article called Impact of Dietary Polyphenols on Carbohydrate Metabolism and having reviewed it I can say it does not in support the claim in that post. Most of the article talks about animal or cell culture results that show polyphenols may impact glucose digestion or absorption, but there’s nothing in the article showing it stops it. It even concludes that
“To confirm the implications of polyphenol consumption for prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and eventually type 2 diabetes, human trials with well-defined diets, controlled study designs and clinically relevant endpoints… are needed.”
The closest thing in the article supporting the Instagram post is
“The shape of the plasma glucose curve with reduced concentrations in the early phase and a slightly elevated concentration in the later phase indicates delayed response due to berry consumption”
about a study done with 12 healthy participants looking at berry puree (rich in polyphenols). The polyphenols (or something else in the berries) changed the timing of the blood sugar elevation.
I suppose the Welch’s RD nutrition advisor might say
“well actually Dylan, changing the shape of the blood sugar elevation means it doesn’t actually raise blood sugar like candy”
and we could get into a long argument of how you define “like”. When people are arguing over minutia or semantics big food companies have won.
This type of nutrition misinformation advertising works because ultimately it is designed to ruin peoples’ trust in nutritional science and nutrition experts (especially RDs). If consumers are confused and can’t trust anything in nutrition, they are ripe for the next trend or fad or advertising claim. That is a good thing for companies, but a bad thing for people.
If you like grape juice, drink it, I sometimes do when I have low blood sugar (I have chugged maple syrup for that too so…), but know that grape juice will raise your blood sugar, and liquid calories, like those found from the 9 teaspoons of sugar per glass of grape juice, are an easy way to go over on your energy intake. Most of us are trying to avoid excess energy intake, so for that, in my opinion, you can’t beat water.
Dylan MacKay PhD is a nutritional biochemist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. He is also a Clinical Trialist at the George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation. Dylan has a special interest in human clinical trials related to lifestyle and diabetes. He is originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland where he started his graduate studies at Memorial University.
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On June 18, the government of Canada declared a national climate emergency. The next day, the same government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX), which will be able to move almost 600,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the Port of Burnaby in British Columbia.
If this seems like a contradiction, you are not alone.
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Steve Schlotterbeck, who led drilling company EQT as it expanded to become the nation’s largest producer of natural gas in 2017, arrived at a petrochemical industry conference in Pittsburgh Friday morning with a blunt message about shale gas drilling and fracking.
“The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions,” Schlotterbeck, who left the helm of EQT last year, continued. “In fact, I’m not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”
“While hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to hundreds of millions of people, the amount of shareholder value destruction registers in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said. “The industry is self-destructive.”
Anna Merlan, in Jezebel, in what she learned getting kicked out of America’s biggest anti-vax conference.
Rachel Pearson, in The New Yorker, on vulnerable child syndrome
[And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s my most recent piece for Medscape on what actually works for obesity at a population level (hint, it’s not shame, blame, or fear)]
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While still in office, Massachusetts’ former energy and environmental secretary Matthew Beaton, who recently left his post for the private sector, took part in discussions about a natural gas project involving his new employer, DeSmog has found.
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Originally posted on Climate Investigations Center.
The collection of Global Climate Coalition (GCC) documents we compiled and released this April reveal that the organization had a singular focus, slowing down or derailing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations process and “tracking” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), undermining the scientists’ message of urgency. In the GCC meeting minutes and press releases we see numerous interventions at the UN meetings along with strategies, budgets and debriefs.
So we decided it would be interesting to compile every fossil fuel company and trade group delegate who ever attended UNFCCC meetings. This research debuted in an Agence-France Press AFP piece and on Yahoo News this week during a UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, Germany.
Your Wi-Fi router could be used to watch you in your home
Dogs expressive eyebrows make us fall for their cute faces
Do electric car batteries take more CO2 to make than they save?
Darwin’s finches are being devastated by beak parasites
An AI learned numeracy while being trained for another task
Honing in on why some people think beets taste and smell like dirt
Sea sponges are better than scientists at DNA collection
It’s been been a while since I checked in on my favourite “fearless source of news, opinion, and activism that you can’t find anywhere else”. I was therefore shocked – shocked! – to discover that the Rebel appears in the…
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House Democrats in the Energy and Commerce Committee are actively investigating the oil industry’s role in shaping the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for cars and light duty trucks.
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As part of a growing trend of lawsuits over climate change impacts, cities and states across the U.S. are seeking damages from oil, gas, and coal companies whose products drive the crisis and which for years evidently engaged in disinformation and denial campaigns to stall climate action.
Behind the scenes, politically affiliated groups are quietly providing support. One of the outfits promoting the efforts to counter the slew of climate lawsuits is none other than the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a center-left Washington, D.C.-based think tank with links to the Democratic party.
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Former coal lobbyist and Trump-appointed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a rule Wednesday that officially replaces the Obama-era Clean Power Planwith a new regulation that Wheeler said could lead to the opening of more coal plants, the Associated Press reported.
Cynically, I’ve been known to ask for examples of population based initiatives that actually led to sustained increases in physical activity (with the expectation of there not being any).
Well, I can’t do so anymore as Scotland’s managed to increase recreational walking by 13% over a 6 year period for the whole of their population!
Their National Walking Strategy targeted Scotland’s 5 million residents with messages about the health benefits of walking.
The strategy involved multiple sectors including:
And together their aim was to create a culture of walking by way of developing better walking environments that supported ease and convenience.
How to counsel patients on physical activity became a topic in medical schools. The Daily Mile encouraged 1,000 schools to help every student walk, run, or jog a mile a day, increased funding for active transport programs was obtained including a doubling of infrastructure funding for same, #SoMe was leveraged to share encouragement and information to the public, and community walking programs were launched nationwide.
Now before you get too excited, the bar was low to begin with whereby the increase in walking represented the self-report of walking at least 30 minutes for recreation once over the past month, but at least it’s a start.
Changing behaviour requires more than just education and a good reason to do so, it also requires a change to social norms and culture, as well as environmental engineering. Clearly there’s more to do in Scotland and elsewhere, but nice to see that these needles might actually be movable.
…but far from built. I’ve talked about this before. My opinion is that Trudeau did the right thing by approving the pipeline. You can’t really rule this country if the entire middle bit hates your guts because you took away the…
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday is reportedly expected to approve a $5.5 billion expansion of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, a move environmentalists warned would make an “absolute mockery” of the House of Commons’ vote to declare a climate emergency just hours earlier.
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Scientists and security analysts have warned for more than a decade that global warming is a potential national security concern.
They project that the consequences of global warming — rising seas, powerful storms, famine and diminished access to fresh water — may make regions of the world politically unstable and prompt mass migration and refugee crises.
Some worry that wars may follow.
Yet with few exceptions, the U.S. military’s significant contribution to climate change has received little attention. Although the Defense Department has significantly reduced its fossil fuel consumption since the early 2000s, it remains the world’s single largest consumer of oil — and as a result, one of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters.