Doctor Nature: How our health hinges on biodiversity – MAHB

http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/doctor-nature/

This is an excellent blog post by Holly Moeller about the threat of disappearing environments and the flora and fauna within them and the fact that most of our key medicines are found from nature.

The most telling part of the post was a fact that made me open-mouthed with amazement:

It’s no wonder, then, that when scientists hunt for new medicines, they often begin by screening natural compounds. Today, as concerns mount over antibiotic resistance, with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus killing 18,000 people in the United States each year, and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis infecting almost half a million people annually, the need for new antibiotics is urgent. Research expeditions into the heart of the rainforest or to the bottom of the ocean bring back samples that are screened for antimicrobial activity. Newly discovered compounds are also tested for anti-cancer activity as we continue to seek elusive cures for that deadly set of diseases.

Successful as these approaches have been in the past, they will continue to work only so long as we have plenty of raw material to work with. At the moment, scientists estimate that we have described 15% or less of all the species currently alive on the planet. A huge potential reservoir of new medicines is contained in Earth’s biodiversity – hidden in plain view among omnipresent microbes and tucked into remote corners of the planet where humans never venture.

The fact that we have discovered only 15% or less of all species currently alive on Earth  is the thing that made me sit back in amazement. We are threatening habitats that contain life that could help us overcome some of the dreaded diseases that constantly threaten humanity and we will destroy them without ever knowing what they may have helped us to overcome. In my  book that is just plain madness. We really need to see how important the conservation of the environment is for any future we may have!

This is a timely and important post that I urge people to read.

Why I am voting Green

I will be casting my vote in the forthcoming General Election here in the U.K. for the Green Party candidate.

I do not expect the candidate to win and therefore my vote will simply be for my personal satisfaction.

I believe that it is important that I vote because so many fought for so long to secure the rights that people take for granted these days and are not bothered if they ignore.

I can understand fully their apathy. The present political scene is a confused mess that has been caused by successive managerial so-called “leaders” who lack any real convictions. I ,on the other hand, do have beliefs and issues that I care about. My vote will be cast to add my name to the list of those like-minded people in my country who have similar beliefs. We do not expect to see a Green Party landslide victory in the morning of Friday 8th May, indeed they may have just their one seat in Brighton to fight their cause in the next Parliament.

But I will have used my democratic right to vote and used that vote on a Party that actually stands for the issues of fairness, equity and of course has a powerful stance on the environmental issues such as CO2 emissions and Global Warming that the main political parties pay lip service to.

For those who are interested, below is a short run through of the Green Party’s main political policies. It ticks most of the boxes for me in a way that none of the other political parties’  policies do.

I hope you use your democratic right to vote (if you live in the U.K. or are eligible to vote in our election). I hope you will vote for the party that matches your political outlook and beliefs and not because your family have always voted that way. I suspect I am in a minority of those who are really concerned with issues and not personalities.

I think, I believe and I support the Green Party.

What we stand for

Imagine a political system that puts the public first. Imagine an economy that gives everyone their fair share.

Imagine a society capable of supporting everyone’s needs. Imagine a planet protected from the threat of climate change now and for the generations to come. That’s the world we want to create and we believe we have the means to do it.

By ensuring that everyone has access to a secure job that pays at least the Living Wage we will build an economy that works for the common good, not just the privileged few. By restoring public services to public hands we will ensure they are run in the interests of the people that use them.

By investing in renewable energy and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we will build a stable and sustainable society that protects our planet from climate change.

By building more social rented homes and bringing abandoned buildings back into use we will ensure that everyone has a secure and affordable place to live.

Vote for Green Party of England & Wales and you can help us build a society that works for the Common Good.

– See more at: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for

The need for sleep and other issues

In the above video Dr Dan Siegel discusses the effect on your brain when using tablets or smart phones late at night.

I feel that his warnings about the dangers of our “digital lifestyle” are not getting through.

Put very simply we need sleep for a reasonable period, say seven hours, in order for the toxins in our minds to be destroyed or dissipated.

This need for sleep was a major part of an excellent book I read recently, “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington. She wrote the book following a collapse in her home during a period of her life where she lived to work and was constantly connected and got about three hours of sleep a night.

She has become, to quote her, a “Sleep Evangelist” trying to get people to realise that we can’t continue the punishing lifestyle that we have created for ourselves.

She goes into other areas of change of lifestyle, including the need to turn off our machines as often as we can and appreciate real human interaction with important people that we know and love and not numerous “virtual friends” who we do not really know.

She discusses the need to focus on the present and not regret the past or live with numerous plans for the future.

It all seems to be common sense to me but I have stepped off the treadmill following my retirement and can appreciate the need for these things when I am not in the middle of trying to get material advancement in order to keep up with everyone else.

If you are still on the treadmill then I would advise you to spend a few hours of your time reading Arianna Huffington’s book. It may transform your life!