Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Traditional Techniques, Modern Issues: Water Purification

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 8th, 2010

Source: The Ecologist

From “Ancient tradition of water purification could save lives”

Indian tree seeds that purify water could dramatically reduce disease in the less-industrialised world, say researchers. The technique of crushing seeds from the Moringa Oleifera tree and adding them to water has been used in its native India for thousands of years. Now researchers from Canada say it is time to publicise the technique more widely in order to reduce water born diseases across the world.

One billion people in Asia, Africa and Latin America rely on untreated surface water to survive. The NGO Water Aid estimates that 1.4 million children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. The researchers at Clearinghouse, an organisation that promotes low-cost water treatment technologies, are pointing to the ancient method of water purification as a possible solution. As well as reducing bacteria by over 90 per cent, the use of Moringa Oleifera seeds reduces ‘turbidity’, making water less cloudy. Furthermore, say the researchers, the Moringa tree is suited to growing in areas afflicted by drought and has other benefits besides water purification.  ‘Not only is it drought resistant, it also yields cooking and lighting oil, soil fertiliser, as well as highly nutritious food in the form of its pods, leaves, seeds and flowers,’ said Michael Lea of Clearinghouse.

Despite its life-saving potential, the benefits of the tree are little known, even in areas where it is cultivated. Lea hopes that by making his report freely available will allow communities most at need to benefit from it.  ‘This technique does not represent a total solution to the threat of waterborne disease […] But given the cultivation and use of the Moringa tree can bring benefits in the shape of nutrition and income as well as of far purer water, there is the possibility that thousands of 21st century families could find themselves liberated from what should now be universally seen as 19th century causes of death and disease,’ he said.

From “Ancient tradition of water purification could save lives” on the Ecologist.

Bus Rapid Transit System, Bogota

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on August 27th, 2009

Source: By Degrees, NY Times

From “Buses May Aid Climate Battle in Poor Cities“, Elisabeth Rosenthal

Image: Scott Dalton, NY Times

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Like most thoroughfares in booming cities of the developing world, Bogotá’s Seventh Avenue resembles a noisy, exhaust-coated parking lot — a gluey tangle of cars and the rickety, smoke-puffing private minibuses that have long provided transportation for the masses.

But a few blocks away, sleek red vehicles full of commuters speed down the four center lanes of Avenida de las Américas. The long, segmented, low-emission buses are part of a novel public transportation system called bus rapid transit, or B.R.T. It is more like an above-ground subway than a collection of bus routes, with seven intersecting lines, enclosed stations that are entered through turnstiles with the swipe of a fare card and coaches that feel like trams inside.

Versions of these systems are being planned or built in dozens of developing cities around the world — Mexico City, Cape Town, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Ahmedabad, India, to name a few — providing public transportation that improves traffic flow and reduces smog at a fraction of the cost of building a subway.

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New Food Policy Book: Integrating health, environment and society

Posted in Research by Devin Maeztri on May 7th, 2009

Food Policy: integrating health, environment and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lang. T., Barling, D. & Caraher. M. (2009)

For over half a century, food policy has mapped a path for progress based upon a belief that the right mix of investment, scientific input, and human skills could unleash a surge in productive capacity which would resolve humanity’s food-related health and welfare problems. It assumed that more food would yield greater health and happiness by driving down prices, increasing availability, and feeding more mouths. In the 21st century, this policy mix is quietly becoming unstuck.

In a world marred by obesity alongside malnutrition, climate change alongside fuel and energy crises, water stress alongside more mouths to feed, and social inequalities alongside unprecedented accumulation of wealth, the old rubric of food policy needs re-evaluation. This book explores the enormity of what the new policy mix must address, taking the approach that food policy must be inextricably linked with public health, environmental damage, and social inequalities to be effective.

For more information visit Oxford University Press.

Launch of new Environment, Health and Development research network

Posted in Research by fedwards on March 23rd, 2009

A new Environment, Health and Development research network has been launched in 2009, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. Please see the website:

There will be an inaugural conference in June 2009. This will comprise an electronic conference and a symposium, where we will particularly explore the role of social science perspectives on themes linking environment, health and development, discuss different analytical approaches, and discuss ways forward for the network. The website gives details of how to join the network and how to apply for the symposium.
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Healthy Cities Conference

Posted in Events by fedwards on March 10th, 2009

Please see message below from Sophie Secombe, Healthy Cities Conference Secretariat. More information is available at

There are only 2 weeks remaining until the Healthy Cities Conference being held at the Holiday Inn, Surfers Paradise 25th – 27th March 2009. The Conference will be a platform for Government, Academics and Industry sector professionals to consider health, sustainability, natural resource management, climate change, urban design and the implications for public policy. The future will present some exciting challenges, what do we need to meet these challenges and how will it effect the way we live and work?

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Urban Design and Health

Posted in Research by fedwards on January 19th, 2009

The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #93, 13 January 2009, compiled by Stephen Ingrouille. Going Solar newsletter provides an excellent commentary on local sustainable transport issues in Melbourne.

“The closer you live to the city, the better chance you have of being trim, a study of Sydney suburbs has found. University of NSW researchers, in conjunction with the NSW Department of Health, examined residents in 40 local government areas across Sydney. They found those living in the outer suburbs were 30 to 50 per cent more at risk of being overweight and 40 to 60 per cent less likely to be physically active than their inner-city counterparts. ‘We set out to replicate other studies that linked urban sprawl and obesity that were conducted overseas, particularly in the US, and to see how Sydney compared’, said Bin Jalaludin, who led the study. Professor Jalaludin said the lack of urban development in more sparsely populated areas meant people were less encouraged to walk. ’We hypothesised that areas with greater population density had more mixed land use and commercial development, which means more places to walk to’, he said. The study also connected car use in sprawling areas to obesity. ‘It seems that people living in purely residential areas tend to drive more and we know that people who drive more tend to be more obese’, Professor Jalaludin said. Read the rest of this entry »

Call for abstracts: Global Health & Development Conference – 15 August

Posted in Movements, Research by fedwards on August 6th, 2008

Unite For Sight 6th Annual Global Health & Development Conference: “Achieving Global Goals Through Innovation

When: April 18-19, 2009
Where: Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
What: Join 2,500 conference participants for a stimulating international conference
As Featured On CNN: The Unite For Sight Conference Is What CNN Calls “A Meeting Of Minds”

NOW OPEN: Registration and Abstract Submission
First abstract deadline is August 15 (oral presentation deadline and early bird poster presentation deadline).

200 Speakers, Including Keynote Addresses by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs and Dr. Sonia Sachs
Register For Conference: REGISTER BY JULY 31 TO SECURE LOWEST RATE. Rate escalates each month.
Who is eligible to submit an abstract? Anyone may submit an abstract. Abstract submitters range from students to professionals.
Who should attend? Anyone interested in international health, public health, international development, medicine, nonprofits, eye care, philanthropy, microfinance, social entrepreneurship, bioethics, economics, anthropology, health policy, advocacy, environmental health, service-learning, medical education, and public service.

Keynote Addresses

  • Jeffrey Sachs, PhD, Director of Earth Institute at Columbia University; Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University; Special Advisor to Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon
  • Sonia Sachs, MD, MPH, Health Coordinator, Millennium Villages

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Event – Home Economics Institute of Australia Annual Conference, Brisbane, Queensland – 23 August

Posted in Events, Research by fedwards on August 6th, 2008

The Home Economics Institute of Australia is holding their annual conferenceat the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 23 August 2008. The emphasis is on sustainable futures. Of particular interest to those with an interest in food and health are keynote speakers Dr Martin Caraher (City University, London), Dr Rosemary Stanton and Dr Geoffrey Annison, along with supporting workshops.

For further information and online registration please visit


Event – EcoHealth international forum – December 2008

Posted in Events, Research by fedwards on August 6th, 2008

Please find a link below for the EcoHealth international forum in Mexico this year put on by the International Association for Ecology and Health in collaboration with host the International EcoHealth Forum 2008 in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada), the International Association for Ecology and Health (IAEH), the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil (FIOCRUZ), and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechny of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (FMVZ-USP).

The Forum will promote research, theory and practice internationally to consolidate the growing community of researchers, policy-makers, and civil society representatives. It will bring a better understanding of the holistic links between ecosystems and human health and the identification of pathways for more sustainable action and interventions. The role of transdisciplinary approaches towards discovery and sustainable solutions will be emphasized throughout.

The link is also there for their journal which covers some interesting issues around ecology and health.


Resource – CSIRO’s new report, “An overview of climate change adaptation in the Australian agriculture sector”

Posted in Research by fedwards on August 4th, 2008

CSIRO (Australia’s national science and research agency) has produced a new report called, “An overview of climate change adaptation in the Australian agricultural sector – impacts, options and priorities“.
This report brings together the latest science from research groups around Australia, and provides an overview of the steps that need to be taken to adjust to the ongoing changes to the Australian climate. The report looks at each of Australia’s main agricultural sectors, including cotton, sugar cane, livestock, rice and grapes. To download it visit