What We're Reading: May 2016

May’s latest and greatest reads on deforestation, global health, and everything in between.

1. "A Boon for Soil, and for the Environment" by Beth Gardiner at The New York Times

Typically, agriculture is thought of as a huge contributor to climate change, but this article points to the potential of soil to store immense amounts of carbon - if the farming is done right. In Indonesia and many places in the world, farmers traditionally use slash-and-burn techniques, where forests or woodlands are cleared to create fields for farming. This process depletes the soil of its nutrients, forcing the farmer to move to another plot of land and repeat the cycle. Our partner ASRI works to solve this problem by providing farmers and ex-loggers with training in sustainable farming (no chemicals, no burning, etc), which has lead to the formation of 16 farmers cooperatives. If climate-friendly farming practices are adopted worldwide, depleted soils could reabsorb 80 billion to 100 billion metric tons of carbon!


via AFP/Getty Images

2. "The planet's health is essential to prevent infectious disease" by Sonila Cook and Oren Ahoobim at The Guardian

For the past few years, we've been flooded with stories about the latest pandemic and how our health systems have failed to manage these outbreaks. This article wisely points out that we must must recognize that, "the conditions that allow for outbreak in the first place are rooted in environmental change." Deforestation, for example, has made it easier for people to come in contact with zoonotic diseases, which is how many think Ebola was spread to humans. We've said it once and we'll say it again, and again: when the health of our planet suffers, so do we. The article sums it up perfectly, "The connection between environmental change and human health is increasingly clear, but this big-picture view is not how we currently orient ourselves." At Health In Harmony we hope that with you, we can lead the charge in the reorientation process.

3. VIDEO: Kevin Spacey is the Rain Forest

Just because we love the videos from Conservation International's Nature Is Speaking campaign, here is Kevin Spacey as the rain forest. If you ask me, he makes a pretty compelling case for protecting the rain forest!


About Darya Minovi | View all posts by Darya Minovi

Darya is the Communications and Outreach Manager at Health In Harmony, based in Portland, OR. After studying Public Health and Environmental Policy at the College of William and Mary, Darya knew she wanted to dedicate her career to protecting human and environmental health. When she's not at work, you can find Darya enjoying the great outdoors, exploring Portland's farmers markets, or watching live music.