Climate Change Summit + Lancet

Happy Earth Day!
‘President Biden on Thursday — Earth Day — is convening dozens of world leaders, including Pope Francis, for a two-day virtual climate summit, with the aim of putting the United States back at the forefront of the global issue after a retrenchment under President Donald Trump.’

Washington Post video of POTUS and VPOTUS opening remarks
‘We really have no choice, if we want to get this done’
President Biden’s opening remarks are at the very beginning of the video, after Vice President Harris.

Last week, we introduced the book Drawdown, which identified the most doable solutions to Climate issues. We will return to the Drawdown project, in the future, to drill down into individual solutions, but this week we have focused more on the motivation for taking on these tasks.

We turn today to the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate
“Climate change underpins all the social and environmental determinants of health but also has positive implications. The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change is an international, multi-disciplinary research collaboration between academic institutions following on from the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change.”

The Lancet has created a youtube playlist of short, well crafted, and easily shared, messages on the connections between Climate and Health.

Here are a few examples:
The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: 2020 report

Lancet Countdown 2020: Challenges and solutions

And finally, the Lancet has recently released a Framework to Guide Planetary Health Education

‘The Planetary Health Education Framework considers five foundational domains that we believe comprise the essence of planetary health knowledge, values, and practice.’

  • ‘Fostering compassion for planet Earth through the recognition of the personal, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects of the education process is the central element of the framework.’
  • ‘Second, the anthropocene and health. The anthropocene is characterized by massive disruptions in earth system processes that have resulted from the ballooning of humanity’s ecological footprint.’
  • ‘Third, systems thinking and complexity. The field of planetary health draws upon approaches to systems thinking that have long been a focus in the field of ecology and describes how various elements interact and coalesce as part of complex systems.’
  • ‘Fourth, equity and justice. Equity and justice in planetary health are founded on the rights of humans and the rights of nature, giving all human populations and ecosystems, present and future, the opportunity to attain their full vitality.’
  • ‘Fifth, movement building and systems change. Effective movement building is needed to solve the urgent planetary health crisis.’

What is ‘systems thinking”? Look forward to more about that next week.

Again….Happy Earth Day!

COVID 19 Health Care Inequities – Dr Janice C. Blanchard

Although one could be forgiven for taking a day off to celebrate after the Chauvin verdict, we will finish up our focus on the three American researchers and practitioners interviewed by the Lancet in March, about place, race and health outcomes.

The final profile is of Janice C. Blanchard MD PhD, who is a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, an Adjunct Affiliate Researcher at RAND and a practicing emergency medicine physician in the Capitol area.

If her name sounds familiar, you may have heard her speak as one of several Black doctors featured in an NPR piece:
For Black Emergency Doctors In Washington, The Pandemic Is Personal
‘As they treated the pandemic, Wilder and Blanchard collaborated on a paper with eight other black doctors in D.C. about treating COVID-19 for the journal Academic Emergency Medicine. They said their patients of color were more likely to die because of chronic disease; but they were more likely to suffer those conditions because they lacked good food, space to exercise, secure housing and regular income.’

Or, perhaps you saw her on W Kamua Bell’s ‘Greater Than COVID’ YouTube channel playlist THE CONVERSATION: BETWEEN US, ABOUT US, which is a ‘new campaign from KFF’s Greater Than COVID and the Black Coalition Against COVID’..’to dispel misinformation and provide accessible facts about the vaccines from Black health care workers.’

Although these messages were targeted to Black Americans, they simply and directly answer questions all of us have had at one point or another.

What is herd immunity? Janice Blanchard, MD, PhD (0:47)

Do the COVID vaccines change your DNA? Janice Blanchard, MD, PhD (0:41)

Symptomatic vs. Asymptomatic COVID – Janice Blanchard, MD, PhD (0:49)

A few weeks ago, she co-wrote this piece for the Dallas news

Our health system is not equipped to vaccinate rural communities
COVID-19 has revealed weaknesses in rural care that need long-term solutions.

Just as COVID has exposed weaknesses in urban healthcare systems, it has also exposed weaknesses in rural ones. Eg Expansion of vaccine sites to pharmacies seems to expand access to many more people, but many rural folks live in ‘pharmacy and primary care deserts’.

Public health IS infrastructure.

How Racism Gets Under the Skin – Kimberly Jacob Arriola

In this post, we will feature the second speaker from the Lancet Podcast referenced in yesterday’s post, Kimberly Jacob Arriola.

(”Lancet Voices:Black History Month in the USA special
A special episode celebrating Black History Month in the USA speaks with epidemiologist Sharrelle Barber, public health expert Kimberly Jacob Arriola, and emergency doctor Janice Blanchard about the intersection of race and health in the USA across the past, present, and future.”

Kimberly Jacob Arriola, PhD, MPH

‘Dr. Arriola is a Professor in the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. All of her work focuses on improving the health of marginalized populations and communities of color.’

Dr Arriola spoke with the Emory Law School podcast, Emory Law Presents: Conversations About Racism in the 21st Century, Part 2, described as:

‘Thursday, October 1, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences Kimberly Jacob Arriola discussed racial disparities in healthcare. After graduating from Spelman College in 1994, Arriola earned an MA in 1996 and PhD in 1998 from Northeastern University, both in Social Psychology. She earned an MPH in Epidemiology in 2001 from RSPH. For the past 20 years, her work has focused on social and behavioral factors that impact the health of African Americans. More specifically, she has examined and intervened on social factors that drive racial disparities in access to renal transplantation. She has also helped evaluate interventions that seek to reduce racial inequities in HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Aside from being a faculty member, she serves as the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the Rollins School of Public Health.’

In this video Dr Arriola discusses research on racism and health and also makes suggestions about what role we can each play in improving health outcomes for all.

Place, Race and Health – Sharrelle Barber

“I use my scholarship to make the invisible, visible” Sharrelle Barber

The beginning of this week we will focus on 3 researchers in the field of systemic racism and health, featured in this podcast from The Lancet.

”Lancet Voices:Black History Month in the USA special
A special episode celebrating Black History Month in the USA speaks with epidemiologist Sharrelle Barber, public health expert Kimberly Jacob Arriola, and emergency doctor Janice Blanchard about the intersection of race and health in the USA across the past, present, and future.”

The first researcher is Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH, a Drexel Professor described in her staff bio as “a social epidemiologist whose research focuses on the intersection of place, race, and health.”

Prof Barber recently took part in an MIT conference AI for Healthcare Equity Conference April 12th, 2021

“The potential of AI to bring equity in healthcare has spurred significant research efforts across academia, industry and government. Racial, gender and socio-economic disparities have traditionally afflicted healthcare systems in ways that are difficult to detect and quantify. New AI technologies, however, provide a platform for change. By bringing together thought leaders in these fields, we will assess the current state-of-the-art work in this space, identify key areas of impact, and present machine learning techniques that support fairness, personalization and inclusiveness. We will also discuss the regulatory and policy implications of such innovations. “

Just yesterday, The Anti-racist Community Education youtube channel posted an excellent presentation from Prof Barber.

Racism in the Time of Covid-19
Anti-racist Community Education channel

‘The intersection of race, place and health’
Interlocking systems of oppression

Health Matters – Compassionate End of Life Care

One of our town co-chairs has written to remind those who might be calling MA State Representatives and Senators about supporting the MA compassionate end of life options legislation, that the bill numbers have been updated. The new bill numbers are: House- 2381 , Senate – 1384

If you are new to this issue, a couple of videos may provide a gentle introduction. If you are working on this issue and have videos to recommend, please let the admins know.

In this video, Western Mass. Death with Dignity Director John Berkowitz and Dr. Douglas Barnshaw, speak to New England Public Media’s Carrie Saldo in July of last year.

There is also a US Senate bill related to this issue which was introduced by Sen Blumenthal back in Dec 2020.

The Federal bill would provide funding for education of both consumers and professionals, as well as create modifications of Medicare and Medicaid to adjust for new practice.

In this video, Kelli Garber, Amanda Hudgins, Tara Lester, Sheneka Jones Tucker, Kara Liechty, and William Onieal who are Doctorate of Nursing Practice students at Old Dominion University, provide congressional testimony in support of the Federal bill.

NURS 809 Congressional Testimony Group 3 March 28, 2021

Climate : Drawdown

2021 New Possibilities – Using the book Drawdown as a guide to solutions

The new MA Climate bill, recently signed by the Governor, and Biden’s national infrastructure plans, still working their way through Congress, will provide new funding, resources, training programs and tax deferrals for Climate related projects.  But, which changes to technology and practice will provide that largest bang for the buck?  Which projects are doable right now?  Which projects are most relevant to our coastal community?

We could look to Drawdown, a book whose subtitle tells that tale:”The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse Global Warming”, edited by Paul Hawken (remember Smith and Hawken) See https://drawdown. org/

This book details which sectors create the most climate changing emissions and which solutions are ready to go right now.   

For a short introduction to the book watch….Meet Katharine Wilkinson of Project Drawdown | One Small Step | NowThis (… On this One Small Step Spotlight, Lucy sits down with Katharine Wilkinson, the senior writer for the book that’s been called the most comprehensive plan to ever reverse global warming.

For a longer take on the book, watch Drawdown 101 — An Introduction to the Science of Climate Change Solutions ( Join Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown, as he describes the Drawdown Climate Solution Framework. .

Rockport Relavant:

A couple of possibly Rockport relevant efforts have been identified.  We have an abundance of a few items e.g. water and the potential energy of uphill reservoirs. We have ocean frontage with aquaculture possiblities.  We have empty roofs of empty houses during the winter.

Should Rockport look into aquaculture of seaweed?

Sustainable aquaculture: Efforts to Develop a Seaweed Aquaculture Industry in New England ( Seaweed doesn’t have the destructive environmental impacts that fish aquaculture frequently entails.

Or could we use seaweed/ algae as a plastics solution?

How Algae Could Become a Solution to the World’s Plastic Problem | The Wire

Should we look into ‘small’ scale hydro? We store our water up hill already.

Micro Hydropower : Turbulent Turbines

If you would like to just sit back and watch all the videos in the page without clicking around… see the Drawdown youtube list.

Rockport Dems in the 2019 4th of July Parade

The Rockport Democratic Town Committee will be marching again in the 4th of July Parade. We will be marching with the Issues Lifeboats again.
(See “Be The Lifeboat” for explanation)
We welcome marchers of all ages to come join us and carry an issue lifeboat. Meeting at the Rockport High School at 5pm July 4th.
We have 2 sided signs with the following issues that the Democratic Party fights to save or secure, on them:
Accountability       •     Medicare
Affordable Health Care •   Truth Matters
Protect Voting Rights • Safe Schools
Support Our Troops   • Keep Families Together
Protect Our Values   •  Equal pay
Universal Health Care  •  Prevent Gun Violence
Affordable Housing  •  Principled Leadership
Social Security    •   Living Wage
Support LGBTQ Rights  •  Medicare
Support Working Families •   Debt Free College
Checks & Balances  •  Equal Rights
Support DACA   •  Compassion for Refuges
Fair Taxes   •  Criminal Justice Reform
Fair Voting Districts   •   Support Small Businesses
Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 12.04.06 PM

Be The Lifeboat (version 2)

This is the updated version of the video which includes:
– Overlaid text mostly spoken and slowed down
– Overlaid text is rendered in a more readable (sanserif) and larger font
– Segues feature clay heads 🙂
– Post- credit ‘easter-egg’ which is a review of the main points

This version is currently running on channel 12 Studio1623.

45* attempts to change “Public Charge” laws

from RDTC member Diane Vella:

The Trump administration is proposing changes to the Federal “Public Charge” laws.  These changes will prevent any immigrant who has ever received public help (food, housing subsidy, health care subsidy, etc.) from obtaining citizenship.  This applies to ALL immigrants, even those who are here legally.  ECCO feels that this is discriminatory against those with medical issues and those who are dealing with issues of poverty.  The public comment period is now underway, and will be open only until December 10.  We need as many letters and posted comments as possible. Legally, paper letters require a response from DHS to the sender.

letters to : Ms. Samantha Deshommes

                 Office of Policy and Strategy U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services

                  Department of Homeland Security

                  20 Massachusetts Ave.,NW

                  Washington, DC 20529-2140


               DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012

               follow website instructions for submitting comments

(end Vella)
For more info on this issue, see also:
National Immigrant Law Center’s site Protecting Immigrant Families
NILC main site page on the issue
Kaiser Family Fund on effect on health care coverage and use
Even Forbes explains how this is not good for Corps hoping to retain H-1B workers
Who would be for such a change????
Center for Immigration Studies – explains what “charge doctrine” is – 2001
They argued even back in 2001 that only ‘qualified’, ‘capable’ people should be able to immigrate.
I guess all those fans of chapter 18 of Leviticus (you know, the anti-sex-between-two-men bits)  fell asleep before chapter 19
Leviticus 19:34
“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt….”