Nature faces a cliff-edge

We were warned. But those warnings fell on the clearly deaf ears of governments and corporatocracies. A landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warns that, “Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating”. The report confirms the significant impact of human actions on land and marine environments and climate change. Not only is the huge loss of biodiversity impacting the environment, but it’s causing economic, developmental, security, social and moral issues. As recent actions in London and around the world by Extinction Rebellion show, this is a situation that can no longer be ignored by citizens. Following the protests the UK, Parliament became the first in the world to declare an “environment and climate emergency”, seeking to start a wave of action worldwide. Recognising the links between the health of the environment and its impact on human health, the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) have partnered with The Planetary Health Alliance and Clinicians for Planetary Health Working Group to call on medical doctors around the world to raise awareness within their communities. The ANH-Intl ‘Blueprint’ for health creation addresses the combined needs of citizen health, sustainable food and livestock production and the environment within which we live. Recognising the need to bring balance across all areas to sustain not only human health, but animal and planetary by working with, not against nature.

‘Hidden hunger’ highlighted

Nutrient deficiency is a common problem around the world, with an estimated two billion adults and children suffering from deficiencies of vitamins and minerals. Given that 75% of the food we eat comes from just 12 plant and 5 animal sources, it’s little wonder we’re lacking in those nutrients essential to our wellbeing. Primarily associated with developing nations, ‘hidden hunger’ is becoming increasingly prevalent in developed nations with the increased consumption of ultra-processed calorie dense/nutrient poor foods. In an effort to counter such deficiencies scientists are turning to GM technologies to boost nutrient levels in staple crops such as rice (vitamin A) and wheat (iron). Unfortunately, crop and food fortification only provides a sticking plaster on the real problem stemming from the depletion of soil nutrients from decades of intensive farming utilising high levels of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It’s time to revert not only to sustainable agro-ecological techniques to improve the foundations from which our food comes, but to return to eating real food as nature intended.

EU pesticide approval transparency

After decades of campaigning by the citizen led #StopGlyphosate initiative, the Council of the European Union has taken a step towards increased transparency in the procedure for approving pesticides as part of the EU’s General Food Law. The publicly accessible database to be administered by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), will include all regulatory studies that have to be submitted by companies as part of the approval process for pesticides. At long last, this will give public access to most of the toxicity data, previously deemed confidential. Albeit a victory for citizen power, it does not change the fundamental issue of ongoing Big Corporate control and manipulation of such data. So grave are the environmental and health challenges facing us that business as usual is no longer an option. Dramatic change is needed now, which can only mean changing the way big companies do business.

Beating childhood diabetes naturally

Evidence shows type 2 diabetes can be reversed without drug use. Despite this, scientists continuing the search for a ’magic pill’ are lauding the results of a clinical trial showing the efficacy of liraglutide for improving glycaemic control in children with type 2 diabetes. Taking a step in the right direction, the UK city of Leeds has recently been hailed for its work in reducing childhood obesity through diet and lifestyle interventions. Although work has still to be done to assess the biological and social significance of the data. The ANH-Intl Food4Kids and Food4Health guidelines provides help and information on adopting a whole food nutrient dense diet to support the health of your whole family naturally.