Mother Earth, Brother Newt
After the Office of the President went eight years without tackling many of our contemporary crises, there’s a lot to be done. It makes you wish Hillary had won and installed an exclusively female cabinet—on account of women’s ability to multi-task more effectively than men, I mean.
And one would hope women have more than that going for them. Just look at how Limburger and The Newt—two men—reacted to a Washington Post/ABC poll indicating 57% of respondents supported a government-created “health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.”
Limburger called it “fraudulent”; The Newt, “rigged”. Their major complaint was that more donkeys were questioned than elephants. Well…you see boys, we have a representative democracy and as the donkeys control the White House and both ends of the legislature, one could logically infer that, at this moment in our esteemed history, more people prefer riding donkeys than elephants.
But fine, fine. I’m all for fairness. Next time the pollsters should have as many elephants as donkeys on their call lists. Wait! The respondents were called at random and self-identified as donkey, elephant or muskrat (independent)? Back to the drawing board, boys…
Meanwhile, the fate of the world could be decided in a mere six weeks. The UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen is fast approaching and the American legislature has had their collective (mostly-male) eye on the healthcare ball. Without having emission reduction targets set by Congress prior to the Conference, it will be difficult for American diplomats to agree in earnest to any binding caps on CO2 output.
Europe, for its part, has taken the lead, announcing its willingness to cut 95% of CO2 emissions by 2050. However, it has not announced how it will achieve its more modest goals for the 2020 deadline.
The world needs a woman who can simultaneously care for the health of people and the planet, a woman like Mother Earth.
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?
- "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
- The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
- Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
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