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Health Care Without Harm, the official Race to Zero healthcare partner, on Monday announced that over 50 healthcare institutions collectively representing more than 11,500 healthcare facilities in 21 countries including India's Kerala, are part of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign.
In joining the Race to Zero, these organizations commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. They become part of the largest ever alliance outside of national governments committed to delivering a zero-carbon world in line with the Paris Agreement.
The healthcare organizations in Race to Zero include institutions ranging from individual, public and private hospitals and health systems to entire provincial or state government health departments. In recent weeks several large health systems have signed on to this vital commitment.
These systems include the Directorate of Health Services in Kerala, the international private healthcare and insurance system, Bupa, and CommonSpirit Health in the US.
They demonstrate global leadership in the healthcare sector by committing to net zero emissions and taking immediate climate action.
"It's exciting to see the momentum of healthcare organizations worldwide join the Race to Zero. All health organizations, large and small, can accelerate the transition to a healthier, sustainable, and more equitable world," said UN High-Level Climate Champion Gonzalo Muoz.
"At a time when Kerala is facing unprecedented climate events, the state Health Department has shown its commitment to climate resilience and pledged to achieve net-zero healthcare by signing up to the Race to Zero program. This initiative brings health facilities of the state on track to being low carbon and climate-resilient," said Kerala Minister of Health and Family Welfare Veena George.
"As a global healthcare company, we are very conscious that people's health depends on a healthy planet and we believe we can continue to deliver high-quality healthcare while mitigating our impact on the environment. We can't do this alone, that's why we are so incredibly proud to join the Race to Zero campaign with Health Care Without Harm, setting our ambition to become a net-zero business by 2040 and joining leading healthcare companies that are also committed to driving change for a healthy people and healthy planet," said Nigel Sullivan, Chief Sustainability and People Officer, Bupa.
In the lead-up to COP26, Race to Zero healthcare leadership is part of a diverse and growing global health sector movement for climate action.
National government ministries are making high-level commitments to healthcare decarbonization and resilience, while more than 45 million health professionals have called for aggressive action to protect people's health from climate change.
Health sector decarbonization is critical to reducing global emissions.
Health Care Without Harm's 2019 report shows the sector's climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4 per cent of global net emissions, with the majority originating from fossil fuels used across facility operations, the supply chain, and the broader economy.
To guide the sector's decarbonization, Health Care Without Harm's Global Road Map demonstrates how implementing seven high-impact actions can reduce global emissions by 44 gigatons over 36 years, equivalent to keeping more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil in the ground each year, and potentially saving more than five million lives by the end of the century. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: United Nations, Health, Kerala Population, Global emissions, a global healthcare company
Considered the pancake of the South, Appams are relished by all south Indians for their unique sweet taste. The thin, lacy sides and the pillowy white centre coupled with stew is a famous breakfast item that most Malayali restaurants sell outside Kerala. Eating the Appam is not just a matter of tasting a Malayali dish, but an experience.
Ingredient-wise it is similar to the Dosa, which is larger, flatter, and non-sweet. Dosa is usually paired with sambar or chutney, and depending on what it is served with, forms one of the numerous varieties available across the southern states. Dosa is made of rice that has been soaked the previous night and is ground to produce a sort of thick batter. Appam, on the other hand, is made from rice flour and coconut milk, and is primarily served with a vegetarian or non-vegetarian stew.
Sri Lankans crack an egg directly into the pan while the Appam is still cooking Image credit: wikimedia commons
The Appam is believed to be a dish that the Jews brought to India when they came here after the Second Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem. The presence of a strong Jewish presence in Kerala suggests this connection. Not just them, even the Syrian Orthodox order of Christians that perhaps began with the coming of Vasco da Gama and other voyagers is still religiously carried on. The inclusion of their cultural tastes being included in the culinary practices, is therefore, not a coincidence.
Sri Lanka shares cultural roots with Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and this is reflected in their version of Appam. In Tamil Nadu, Appam is served with coconut milk separately, while Sri Lankans crack an egg directly into the pan while the Appam is still cooking. The bowl-shaped pancake takes on a new look and flavour with these minor changes.
Pesaha appam is a variety that is not fermented Image source: wikimedia commons
Using the same batter-base, different kinds of Appam have been developed, and are used in certain festive settings. Appam fermented with toddy instead of yeast is a specialty in Kerala. Acchappam, Kalappam, and Pesaha Appam are varieties that are not prepared every day. They include additions like black gram, garlic, onion, and the batter is not fermented in some cases.
Within traditional bounds, Appam has a history and significance unique to the growth of Kerala as a state. Outside Kerala, the Appam still remains one of the most exotic inter-state foods, and most people like to celebrate special occasions with this as a starter.
Keywords: Appam, Coconut milk, Kerala, Sri Lanka, Peninsula, Pancake, Dosa
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
Every part of South India changes colour on Onam and Vishu when Malayalis begin their celebrations. They cannot be missed for they decorate themselves in subtle shades of gold and white, and dot the streets in their traditional attire.
The white kerala saree, known as kasavu, has a rather interesting history. It grew to prominence when the Portuguese reached India, and began trade. Gold was exchanged for spices, and women began to incorporate gold into their sarees. The white part of the kasavu is believed to be inspired by the Greco-Roman one-piece, also known as 'toga' or 'palmyrene'.In Ravi Verma's paintings, the Malayali woman is visibly very similar to the European contemporary when she is decked in her adornments.
A classical dancer dressed in gold and white kasavu Image source: wikimedia commons
The traditional malayalis used to wear what is called a mundu, or a settu-mundu, which consisted of a rectangular piece of cloth tied around the waist. They did not cover their upper bodies. Later, women began to wear a blouse or place a cloth to cover their upper body, and the mundu became a two-piece affair. Today, women wear three different pieces. The blouse is worn with one cloth wrapped around the waist, and another wrapped around the chest. Colours are also incorporated according to each one's taste.
The kasavu yarn is spun and dyed in the required colours, and stretched, ideally in the early hours of the morning. It is also soaked and stamped to make it soft. It is then mounted on the loom and woven. The stretching allows the fabric to become resilient, and it does not break easily. Once woven, it is immediately turned into sarees or mundus. Since it is a relatively plain weave, it does not require a post-weave process.
The kasavu saree is very simple and common among the malayalis, and with added colours, even among other south Indians. The luxury of this saree lies in the fact that it is woven with real gold in the borders.
Keywords: Kasavu, mundu, Kerala, Gold, White