July’s latest and greatest reads on deforestation, global health, and everything in between.
1. "Bornean orangutan declared 'critically endangered' as forests shrink" by Loren Bell at Mongabay
As many of you may have heard, this month the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released a new assessment that lists Bornean Orangutans as Critically Endangered - just one step from going extinct. We know this isn't the most encouraging news, but not everything is doom and gloom. Andrew Marshall, one of the authors of the assessment points out that recent studies are showing that orangutans are "more adaptable and fare better in degraded forests" than we originally thought. And with Indonesia's latest commitments to eliminate deforestation (see moratorium on palm oil permits), the future could be brighter than we think. For us, it's a reminder that while the fight for a healthy planet isn't always an easy one, we are so grateful for our community of supporters who refuse to give up and are ensuring that these orangutans continue to have a home in Gunung Palung National Park!
2. "Does Producing More Food Have to Lead to Deforestation?" by Jason Best at TakePart
Back to some happier news, the latest State of the World's Forests report from the FAO has stated that its possible to feed the world's population without chopping down more of our world's forests. Today, more than 70% of deforestation is caused by agriculture of all kinds, but what the report's authors found is that when countries approached land planning holistically ie. giving local communities rights to the land, there is better stewardship. There are a variety of innovative solutions that have made it possible for communities to protect forested lands, including Health In Harmony and ASRI's approach of conducting trainings in sustainable agriculture - drawing people away from slash-and-burn practices and teaching them how to keep the soil fertile. And while the article rightfully points out the unaddressed impact of meat consumption on land use, we are still moving in the right direction.
3. "Scaling Up Innovations in Maternal and Newborn Health: 5 Lessons Learned" by Neil Spicer at Maternal Health Task Force Blog
This year, we've developed an even stronger emphasis on collecting robust data and exploring potential sites for scaling up this model. With Kari and Bethany in the lead, our research and replication programs go hand in hand, and that is emphasized incredibly well in MHTF's lessons learned from a maternal and neonatal health program. This blog illustrates some fantastic insights that we are putting into practice today at Health In Harmony. They just forgot to mention radical listening! ;-)