Saturday November 18, 2017

World Environment Day on June 5: Here is what you can do to honor this ‘Global Festival’

Did you know 5th June is the World Environment Day? Read more to find out about this day.

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Group of people planting trees. VOA
  • Every year on the 5th June the world celebrates environment day 
  • People spread awareness on how to improve the environment and its importance

June 04, 2017: June 05 will be observed as World Environment day with the basic idea is to stress the importance of conserving the environment, a thought that we sometimes tend to forget. Its origins can be traced back to environmentalists who voiced that the effort to protect the environment is collective and global in nature.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

The world environment day is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which demands environmental protection action worldwide. The day is celebrated not just for awareness but also for the celebration of the years of hard work and efforts.

The first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973. Since then, it has been celebrated in the different parts of the world every year with different themes. Today, over 100 countries celebrate the festival.

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Canada will be hosting the 2017 World Environment Day. The theme set for this year is 'Connecting People to Nature' Click To TweetThe theme demands from us stepping out and interacting with the open environment around us. It is to cherish the relationship between man and environment.

This year’s theme ‘getting in touch with nature’. VOA

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Let us look at 10 of the SIMPLEST ways you can contribute to this global effort:

  • We consume over 80 trillion aluminium cans every year. Recycling just one can save you enough energy to run the television for three hours. Next time you’re drinking a can of coke, make sure you put in the recycle bin.
  • Save Water! Out of the world’s total water supply, just 1% is usable. Rest 97% are oceans and frozen water.
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage are thrown into the ocean, which kills more than 1,000,000 sea creatures every year. Ban plastic bags completely.

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  • Drop the idea of using your car and cycle the short distances. It makes more difference than you think.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint. Turn off unnecessary lights and switches.
  • The famous old suggestion – ‘Plant a Tree’. If that is too much, just water some plants in the park near you. Add to the growth of life.
  • Promote renewable sources of energy.

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  • Do not waste food. World Environment Day is closely associated with Sustainable Development. Resources must be optimally used.
  • Make sure that you voice your interest publicly in protecting the environment. It could influence others including the local politicians to act.
  • Wear Green and go for a walk outside.

The environment is an asset we must strive to protect it. Click To Tweet– By Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Women can Boost their Working Memory with Hormone Therapy

Benefits of oestrogen therapy in women.

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oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress
oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress. wikimedia commons

New York, Nov 5: Undergoing a type of hormone replacement therapy — used for menopausal treatment — may help protect as well as improve working memory for some women as they age, according to a new study.

Hormone replacement therapy uses female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – to treat common symptoms of menopause and ageing.

The findings showed that women taking oestrogen-only therapy had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and performed better on tests of “working memory” following exposure to stress compared to women taking a placebo.

“Our study suggests that oestrogen treatment after menopause protects the memory that is needed for short-term cognitive tasks from the effects of stress,” said lead author Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, a researcher at the University of Southern California – Davis.

To measure the effect of oestrogen therapy on working memory under stress, the team recruited 42 women with an average age of 66.

Half of the postmenopausal women had been on estradiol — a type of oestrogen therapy — for approximately five years, while the others had received a placebo.

The researchers, in the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, collected saliva to measure the women’s levels of cortisol, oestrogen, and progesterone.

They also ran a test of working memory called a “sentence span task”, in which the women were each given a series and then asked whether each sentence made sense. They also were asked to recall the last word of each one.

While women receiving oestrogen therapy had a smaller increase in cortisol and showed no decrease in working memory function, even after being exposed to stressful situation, those taking the placebo experienced a spike in cortisol levels as well as demonstrated a decrease in working memory function.

Previous studies have pointed to potential health risks — the Ahigher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots — of the treatment.

Thus, Herrera noted that “hormone replacement therapy may not be right for every woman, but women need to be able to have the conversation with their doctors”.(IANS)

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Divert a Portion of Peacekeeping Budget to Under-Funded Peace-Building Activities: India

India highlights huge mismatch b/w funds for peacekeeping & peace-building among challenges for sustaining peace

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un human rights council
UN General Assembly elect 15 new members of Human Rights Council. Wikimedia
  • The 2017-18 UN budget for peacekeeping operations is $7.3 billion
  • Peacekeeping operations rely on the deployment of troops contributed by member-nations to try to physically prevent conflict
  • Peace-building and finding political solutions require civilian developmental, diplomatic and institution-building resources

United Nations, Aug 30, 2017: India has suggested diverting a portion of the peacekeeping budget to the under-funded peace-building activities because there can be lasting peace only with development and political solutions.

Criticising UN peacekeeping, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal called on Tuesday for reforming the operations to align them with peace-building objectives and finding political solutions to conflicts — a view shared by UN experts and several countries, including the US.

“There is an obvious lack of appropriate investment into the political dialogue and a huge mismatch between resource allocation for peacekeeping and peace-building,” he told a Security Council debate on peacekeeping and sustaining peace.

While this problem was acknowledged, only lip service was paid finding the resources, he said.

Lal noted that only meagre resources are now available for development programmes and peace-building is allocated less than one per cent of the funds set aside for peacekeeping.

The 2017-18 UN budget for peacekeeping operations is $7.3 billion.

Therefore, he said: “We may consider whether the allocation of an appropriate percentage of funds from the peacekeeping budget to activities related to peace-building and sustaining peace in those situations could be an option to move forward to achieve sustaining peace in the various intra-state conflicts we are facing.”

“The long extending peacekeeping missions that go on for decades and elusive political solutions remind us the need to focus on long-term investment in sustainable development or institution building and inclusive political processes,” he added.

While peacekeeping operations rely on the deployment of troops contributed by member-nations to try to physically prevent conflict, peace-building and finding political solutions require civilian developmental, diplomatic and institution-building resources.

Lal welcomed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s idea of ensuring greater cooperation between different departments of the UN, in particular bringing together the department of political affairs and peacekeeping operations for closer internal coordination, to effectively carry out its role of ensuring peace and security.

The Chair of Advisory Group of Experts on UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review, Gert Rosenthal, pointed out that organisationally the responsibilities for peacekeeping and development were split between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.

“While there is considerable overlapping in carrying out these functions, generally the traditional ‘pillars’ of peace, human rights and development do operate in the proverbial ‘silos’ we all sadly have become accustomed to,” he said.

Also Read: UN Human Rights Chief Urges Iraqi Government to help Victims of Islamic State (ISIS) Sex Abuse 

“Peacekeeping missions alone cannot produce lasting peace,” US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley said.

“They can help create space for peace to take hold, but they must be a part of a larger strategy of coordinating the resources of the UN to prevent conflict to begin with and to address its causes,” she said.

Haley called for “a larger strategy of coordinating the resources of the UN to prevent conflict to begin with and to address its causes”.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that the Security Council should set realistic, up-to-date mandates that also have the flexibility to evolve over time.

“Looking ahead, we must work together to ensure that peacekeeping lives up to its full potential as an essential tool for sustaining peace, not in isolation, but as part of our new, integrated approach,” she said.

Lal also drew attention to a major challenge to peacekeeping which has changed its very nature — armed conflicts taking place within a country often involving non-state actors and international terrorist networks.

A member of the UN’s High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, Youssef Mahmoud, acknowledged this fact. He said: “Given that the drivers of instability tend to be transnational in origin and effect, the analysis should assess the drivers of peace and conflict from a regional perspective.” (IANS)

 

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Women of America Are Stepping Up As Nuclear Energy Advocates

Nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources

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Nuclear Energy
Engineering manager Kristin Zaitz and her co-worker Heather Matteson, a reactor operator, started Mothers for Nuclear. VOA
  • The availability of cheap natural gas and greater energy efficiency has reduced demand for nuclear energy in recent years
  • Nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources
  • Industry experts say that women who work in nuclear power can be powerful advocates for nuclear

San Francisco, August 26, 2017: Kristin Zaitz is confident that her nuclear power plant is safe.

Zaitz, an engineering manager, was at Diablo Canyon Power Plant during both her pregnancies and has scuba dived to inspect the plant, which hugs the California coast. Zaitz wears a pendant with a tiny bit of uranium inside, an item that tends to invite questions.

“We all have our perceptions of nuclear,” Zaitz said.

In a few years, Diablo Canyon will close, part of a trend nationwide. The availability of cheap natural gas and greater energy efficiency has reduced demand for nuclear energy in recent years. Add to that ongoing concerns about public safety, such as those raised by memories of disasters at nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Japan, Chernobyl in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) and Three Mile Island in the United States.

Nuclear is ‘cleaner’ than fossil fuels

Supporters of nuclear energy say that when a reactor-based generating station closes, not enough wind and solar power is available to make up the difference. They lament that energy companies tend to turn instead to fossil fuels — coal and natural gas — which produce environmentally harmful emissions.

Zaitz and her co-worker Heather Matteson, a reactor operator, started Mothers for Nuclear, their effort to get the word out that nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources.

“I went into the plant very skeptical of nuclear and being scared of it,” said Matteson. “It took me six to seven years to really feel like this is something good for the environment. I don’t want people to take six to seven years to make that decision. We don’t have that long.”

Matteson, too, wears the uranium necklace as a conversation starter. “Nuclear is fun,” she said. Is there any radiation emitted by the pendant? “There’s slightly more than from a banana,” she conceded.

Also Read: Indian nuclear industry growing fast, says former Atomic Energy Commission chief

Women seen as powerful advocates

Industry experts say that women who work in nuclear power can be powerful advocates for nuclear. They can help change attitudes of other women who tend to be more skeptical than men about nuclear energy’s benefits.

At the recent U.S. Women in Nuclear conference in San Francisco, women working in the industry talked about how more should be done to make nuclear power’s case to the public, and how they may be the best suited to do it.

“As mothers, I think we also have an important role to play in letting the public know that we support nuclear for the future, for our children,” said Matteson. “And we don’t know other mothers supporting nuclear power in a vocal way. We thought there was a gap to fill.”

Young women say they look at careers in this industry because they are socially minded.

‘Do something good for the world’

“I went into this wanting to do something good for the world,” Lenka Kollar, business strategy director at NuScale, a firm in Oregon that designs and markets small modular reactors. “Wanting to bring power to people. There are still more than a billion people in the world who don’t have electricity.”

Critics of nuclear energy say it doesn’t matter who is promoting it.

“Using mothers’ voices to argue for a technology that is fundamentally dangerous and that has been demonstrated by disasters like Fukushima to be not safe for the communities that surround the power plants or even cities that are hundreds of miles away is disingenuous,” said Kendra Klein, a staff scientist with Friends of the Earth, an environmental group.

While the future of nuclear power in the United States may be uncertain, the women here say they have a positive story to tell. (VOA)