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June's latest and greatest reads on deforestation, global health, and everything in between.
1. "10 reasons to be optimistic for forests" by Rhett Butler at Mongabay
With more than 30% of Borneo's rain forests lost to deforestation and fires, we'll be the first to tell you that sometimes it's easy to feel helpless about the state of the world's forests. But all is not lost! We're going to end this month on a high note and share Rhett Butler's top 10 reasons to be optimistic for forests. Our favorites are:
What makes you optimistic for forests?
2. "Fair access to residency programs for a fair distribution of Indonesian doctors" by Laura Harris at The Jakarta Post
This might come as a surprise to some, but in Indonesia, completing your medical residency is very different from what we see in the United States. In Indonesia, medical residents, "receive no incentives for their work as competent medical professionals for years. They have to pay tuition fees, cover living costs, daily operational expenses, as well as health insurance." Unfortunately, this reality comes with great consequences: Skilled doctors who are unable to afford the high cost of residency programs cannot pursue specialized training, meaning that the demographic of residents is largely skewed towards affluent doctors. This means that rural areas, where many of the less affluent doctors are coming from, are largely lacking in specialized health care professionals with a doctor-patient ratio of 1 to 10,417 in West Sulawesi, compared to 1 to 608 in Jakarta.
We don't like it either. So, thanks to our incredible donors, Health In Harmony is covering the tuition and living expenses of three ASRI doctors (Ron, Willy, and Nur pictured above). They are currently completing their residencies in Surgery, OB/GYN, and Internal Medicine and in return, all three are contracted to work at ASRI's Community Hospital and Training Center for at least five years upon completing their programs. If you are interested in contributing to the costs of these doctor's residencies, we still need your help! Make a donation to the health care program to ensure that these doctors can complete their specialized training, regardless of their economic situation.
3. "Rising CO2 is reducing nutritional value of food, impacting ecosystems" by Claire Salisbury at Mongabay
Yet another example of how climate change is impacting human health: A recent report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program found that rising levels of carbon dioxide will reduce the nutritional quality of food. Usually, we'd consider atmospheric CO2 beneficial for plants, because it stimulates photosynthesis, yielding larger plants that make more carbohydrates. But other nutrients in the plant are unable to keep up, meaning that plants end up having a high carbohydrate ratio to fewer proteins and minerals. The implications of this finding are especially great for low-income countries that rely on crops for their micronutrients. Alison Crimmins of the Environmental Protection Agency sums it up best, “The impact on the nutrition of our food is a direct effect of rising greenhouse gas emissions, so it is vital that we reduce these emissions. Taking action on climate change now and reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions is not just an environmental imperative; it is crucial for protecting public health.”