Wednesday, November 20, 2013

World Sanitation Day

Yesterday, November 19 was the "celebration" of what is known as World Toilet Day. This is a day to acknowledge the crisis of lack of sanitation for 2.5 billion people on our planet and the 1.1. billion who still defecate in the open because of no sanitation facilities. It is also a call for a global response to provide hygiene and sanitation to decrease water borne diseases. Research states 2,000 children a day die from diarrhea related diseases. Two thousand children a day dying from something that is absolutely preventable by us. However, you don't see that on your local nightly news.

Sanitation is so important in having a world of health and progress. In many areas of the developing world young girls especially cannot attain an education simply because there is no sanitation (especially young women who reach menstruating age) or water access. Women are also in danger without sanitation access as they become targets of sexual attacks and women are more prone to infections. Lack of sanitation causes major health problems, contaminated water sources, food sources and contributes to economic losses in the developing world totaling 260 billion dollars a year.

For many however, this topic is something they do not wish to discuss because well, it discusses poo. We need to get over the barriers we put up in discussing these problems however, if we are to ever solve them. In the 21st Century when more people in the developing world own a cell phone than have sanitation/hygiene access we must realize that something has gone very askew with our priorities. Here in the US we take this for granted, but remember there was also a time when sanitation systems were something we in the "developed" world did not have either:

Cholera Comes To Victorian London

A major engineering operation occurred as a result of this then- public sanitation systems and yet we cannot do it today? Actually, even in ancient Rome they had plumbing and sewerage. Granted, the world has come a long way in providing sanitation access to two thirds of the world's population, but why does it seem to always be the world's poorest who continue to be left out of this progress?

This isn't just about access to a place to defecate. This is about health, jobs, education, CLEAN WATER, safe food, preservation of rivers and other waterways- and DIGNITY. In this the 21st Century if we cannot provide that to ALL people on this planet then how can we say we have progressed? Having a cell phone doesn't mean you have progressed. Having true equality and humanity however does.

Toilet Hackers

This is no joke. Your toilet is a lifesaver. Thank it today and be grateful you have one.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Philippines Need Our Help

UPDATE: November 20: All updated reports from MSF


Doctors Without Borders Emergency Relief Fund

Below is the most recent note I received from Doctors Without Borders regarding their work in the Philippines. The situation there is beyond dire-it is hell on Earth. I am going to post more information on this as well as more updated news on the fast for climate being conducted by Yeb Sano and other COP 19 delegates in Warsaw at this time. I have not been here in the last few days because I have been following the news and also because I have been conducting my own personal fast in solidarity as have others.

If there was any time when we need to come together as a human race this is the time. We can no longer allow the voices of the status quo to drown out the cries of those suffering from this.

Also, the clean water situation in the Philippines is non existent because water systems in these hard hit areas are now non existent and disease stalks those who continue to live there many without any cover from the elements as all buildings were destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan particularly in Tacloban.

Whatever you can do be it a donation, passing this on and yes, praying and keeping these people in your thoughts it all goes to doing what is needed to heal. Again, I do strongly recommend Doctors Without Borders if you can donate anything as they are on the ground and giving firsthand care to those most effected and that is where your donation goes.

However, we also know that it will take so much more than dollars to heal the souls of those who have lost their hope for living. Climate change is not just about the monetary aspect, it is about our very physical, mental and spiritual essence. PLEASE do what you can. This is simply too heartbreaking to contemplate happening again, though now that we have pushed the envelope it is much more likely we will see another such storm and we must be ready.


From MSF (Doctors Without Borders):

"In the aftermath of one of the strongest storms in recorded history, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) emergency medical teams have started treating patients in the Philippines and are rushing to reach people in remote areas still cut off from aid.

Our teams are using boats and helicopters in places where the roads have been destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan and are now receiving first-hand accounts of the horrific damage and massive medical needs.

"The situation here is bleak," says Alexis Moens, a Doctors Without Borders assessment team leader who has arrived in Guiuan, a village of 45,000 people that was one of the first hit by the typhoon. "The village has been flattened – houses, medical facilities, rice fields, fishing boats all destroyed. People are living out in the open; there are no roofs left standing in the whole of Guiuan."

Here is the latest information on our response:

Our team in Samar Island, where the typhoon first hit, has performed 25 minor surgeries in the past day and more and more people are arriving with infected wounds, pneumonia and diarrhea.

Ninety-one Doctors without Borders field staff are already on the ground in the Philippines with fifty more arriving in the coming days, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, logisticians and sanitation experts.

Though travel is extremely difficult, we've reached several of the hardest hit areas by car, boat, plane and helicopter and are evaluating the medical needs in order to scale up treatment as quickly as possible.

Four cargo planes filled with medical kits, tetanus vaccines, tents and sanitation equipment have arrived at our staging ground, and six more shipments are on their way.

As our teams move deeper into the more remote areas, we are finding patients in urgent need of medical care, severely damaged hospitals, widespread power outages, and contaminated water.

Our teams are using boats to launch mobile clinics in some of the outlying islands and plan to establish a field hospital in the major population center of Tacloban.

As the days tick by, the risk of infection and water-borne diseases will increase – that's why it's urgent for our teams to reach the places which have been cut off from aid and respond to their medical needs as quickly as possible. Whatever the obstacles, our teams will keep looking for ways to reach those in need.

We will continue to update our website with the latest information, so please check back as we continue our response.

Thank you for your support.


Sophie Delaunay, Executive Director

Sophie Delaunay

Executive Director


Typhoon Haiyan Survivors Lack Food And Water One Week On

This is reminiscent of what happened right here in the US when Hurricane Katrina struck. There is no excuse for making people wait ONE WEEK for food and water! It isn't only the actions that lead to these disasters that we must address it is preparing towns and villages for them and having adequate response time that saves lives. Also, the Philippines has been mined, deforested and stripped of land that could have prevented some damage from this typhoon and others much like Haiti. Just how much more are the rich going to strip from the poor of this world in order to have "stuff" while ignoring the consequences to those these actions affect?

Speech from Yeb Sano at Warsaw COP 19. He has been fasting for a week now as other delegates join him. I have wondered repeatedly what it would take for us as a species to go from hubris to humility in our treatment of this Earth. Yeb Sano exemplifies that humility and I stand with him.

“We can take drastic action now to ensure that we prevent a future where super typhoons are a way of life, because we refuse, as a nation, to accept a future where super typhoons like Haiyan become a fact of life. We refuse to accept that running away from storms, evacuating our families, suffering the devastation and misery, having to count our dead, become a way of life. We simply refuse to.” Yeb Sano.

Petition: Stand With The Philippines


Also see:

Super Typhoon Haiyan-Big Threat To Philippines

Living On Earth: Typhoon Haiyan

Models suggest more intense storms in a warmed world

Typhoon Haiyan May Have "Burped" Carbon Into The Atmosphere

So not only was this storm a result of forcings on the system, it is a feedback in and of itself.

Extra-Tropical Cyclone Sandy brought that home to me personally. Neither Sandy nor Haiyan(Yolanda) would have had the storm surges they had were it not for the increases in temperature we have been seeing in our oceans and that IS relevant to this discussion as the people of the Philippines now bury their dead and struggle to rebuild their world that was taken from them. There can no longer be a disconnect between our actions and the Earth's reaction to them! The very support systems we rely on to give us life are now turning against us because we have turned against them.

Politicians and even scientists talk about "trends" now asking if this is a "trend" even after all we have seen in the last decade alone. Well, here's my question for all of them: How many more have to die and how much more of our planet and ecosystems need to be destroyed before they can agree it is in order to do something about it? How can a world with so many resources and capabilities still in the 21st Century fail at caring for its own in a time of need because even as disaster strikes we still sit bickering over "trends"?

More to be added.

300 Feared Dead As Cyclone Hits Somalia

Deadly Tropical Cyclone Hits Somalia

A year's worth of rain in less than 48 hours.

News also today of rare floods in Saudi Arabia and a huge November tornado setting down in Washington Illinois. Thoughts to all effected by these events. Please refer to my previous postings on methane feedback as well to also understand what we have put into motion. The time is now to change our thinking and our priorities.

Another World Water Day Gone

We see another World Water Day pass us by. The theme, Water For All, signifies that though some progress has been made we are woefully behin...