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Global Forest Area Has INCREASED 7.1% Since 1982, But The Media Won’t Report It

Global Forest Area Has INCREASED 7.1 Percent Since 1982, But The Media Won't Report It
Image – Pixabay (PD)

Now I might not have believed this astonishing and highly controversial news, had I not seen it in one of the world’s top scientific journals – Nature.

However it is there, as plain as day: A 2018 study [1] analysed 35 years’ worth of satellite data in order to provide a comprehensive record of global land-change dynamics. But the result, like a tree that falls in the forest when no-one is around, seemed to make no sound…

It’s considered an accepted fact that deforestation due to human activity is causing huge loss of forest worldwide – and the fact that humans are cutting down large areas of trees is not in dispute, nor is the fact that clearcutting for cattle or cheap lumber products is an incredibly destructive waste of some of the world’s most diverse habitats.

But as with all things, in order to reach understanding, the full picture must be examined.

It turns out that the net loss in the tropics (60% due to direct human activity and 40% due to climate change) is being outweighed by net gain in temperate regions, leading to an overall net gain of 7.1%. Notably, these gains are attributed both to increased carbon dioxide (stimulates increased plant growth) and new forest forming from tundra in northern regions.

If you were to ask most people how much forest had been lost since 1982 they might estimate 25 or 50%. This study – and its lack of media coverage – completely overturns the prevailing view, illustrating how oversimplification, media bias, politicization and “the narrative” cause the public to develop views that are far from accurate.

How Many Trees Are There On Earth?

Recent estimates, utilizing “421,529 measurements from fifty countries on six continents” have revealed that the global number of trees is (2015) around 3.04 trillion, which is significantly higher than previous estimates. [2][3]

It is also estimated that approximately 15 billion trees are cut down each year and that the overall number of trees in the world is down approximately 46% since the beginning of human civilization.

The biggest forested areas in the world are the boreal forests of North America, Scandinavia and Russia is Taiga. These cover 6.6 million square miles (17 million square kilometers) – or 11.5% of the global land mass. [4]. Significant amounts of this forest are clearcut and then replaced with one species of tree. Major products created include toilet paper, newspaper and lumber.

The boreal forests are incredibly important to carbon storage. The Taiga stores huge quantities of carbon, more than the world’s temperate and tropical forests combined. Current estimates place boreal forests as storing twice as much carbon per unit area as tropical forests. [4]

Trees Act As A “Brake” On Global Warming

We are not saying ‘go ahead and clear fell as much as you like, no problem’. However it should be noted that forests can act as a “brake” on global warming. Further studies have shown that trees around the world are going through a “growth spurt” and are absorbing billions of tons of carbon dioxide, thus helping to restore equilibrium. [5]

The overall premise of this hypothesis is simple to understand; more CO2 in the air encourages plant growth, which absorbs more CO2. However it should be noted that this effect is not unlimited – and to balance CO2 levels would require that we maintain existing forests and plant new ones.

It should also be noted that the science is far more complex and nuanced than can be summarized in a few studies. There are even ways in which forests contribute to global warming! Forests have numerous complex and uncertain climate impacts that are rarely considered by policymakers, environmentalists and even scientists. Although trees do cool the planet by taking up CO2, they also emit a complex potpourri of chemicals including methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), some of which warm the planet. The dark leaves of trees also absorb sunlight, in the opposite manner that snow reflects sunlight – thus contributing to warming. [6]

In addition to damage from clearcutting, forests are prone to loss from insects, pathogens, forest fires and acid rain from sulphur pollution caused by industry.

References:

[1] Xiao-Peng Song et al. Global land change from 1982 to 2016. Nature volume 560, pages639–643 (2018)
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0411-9

[2] T.W. Crowther et al. Mapping tree density at a global scale. Nature volume 525, pages 201–205 (10 September 2015) https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14967

[3] “Global count reaches 3 trillion trees” – Nature (2015) https://www.nature.com/news/global-count-reaches-3-trillion-trees-1.18287

[4] Taiga – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiga

[5] https://www.nature.com/news/the-hunt-for-the-world-s-missing-carbon-1.17867

[6] How much can forests fight climate change? – Nature, 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00122-z

Big Pharma Toxic Drugs Will Kill 45000% More People Than Global Warming By The Year 2100

Big Pharma Toxic Drugs Will Kill 45,000% More People Than Global Warming By 2100
image – shutterstock (under license)

Recent studies and research [1][2] have shocked the world with announcements that an estimated 260,000 people would die prematurely by the year 2100 as a result of global warming. However the massive media attention that this “soundbite” garnered has eclipsed other information that would put this issue into an entirely different perspective.

While the death toll because of global warming and resulting heat stress, unavailability of clean food and water, natural disasters, and even the rapid spread of infectious diseases is high, it is most definitely not higher than deaths caused by the global pharmaceutical industry a.k.a. Big Pharma. While name itself has become pejorative in nature, this is not without reason. Every year the health care industry suffers from 250,000 deaths because of medical errors. That’s the same number of deaths that global warming is expected to cause between now and 2100. But for the health care industry, that quarter of a million deaths happens each year. [3]

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, just under heart disease and cancer. A large number of these medical errors can be blamed on pharmaceutic products, not just drugs, and a lack of information and training given to health care workers. The 250,000 tally is undercutting it to be honest. Those numbers were reported by a study conducted by Hopkins on data from 2000 to 2008 and the millions of hospital admissions on 2013. The actual number is expected to be much higher. [4]

Each year there are more and more drugs made available on the market, not just in hospitals and out patient clinics but at your local pharmacy or even supermarket. Big pharmaceutical companies earn billions of dollars each year on chemotherapy, antibiotics, and yes, vaccines. While these drugs were initially made in order to treat disease, you cannot deny that a billion-dollar business is what it is: a business. Google the words Big Pharma and you will be met with countless articles on drug-related deaths and big companies paying off patients and their families, hospitals, and even politicians to keep silent.

Back in 2007, there were approximately 27,000 deaths caused by unintentional drug overdose in the United States. That’s one death every 19 minutes. Prescription opioid analgesics are the biggest culprit, causing more deaths than illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine. While drug overdoses are not entirely caused by Big Pharma, the lack of information on the dangers of taking medication that earns a company millions of dollars in revenue makes you think twice about where to point the finger. [5]

Just that alone is over 2.1 million by the year 2100. And people want to tell us that herbalism is dangerous?

But out of all the drugs produced by Big Pharma, chemotherapy is one of the most dangerous and controversial. Any person who has been diagnosed with cancer basically receives a life sentence. Some may live a few months at best without any medical intervention while others receive a few weeks if not days left to live. Chemotherapy treatment is often the only route offered by doctors – if a patient wants to test his or her luck with medication that kills both cancer cells and healthy cells. In 2006, O’Brien, et. al. studied mortality rates due to chemotherapy within a 30-day period over 6 months. The researchers found that out of almost 2000 people who received chemotherapy, 161 died within 30 days. 77 percent of these deaths were caused by disease progression — meaning the chemotherapy did not work at all and instead caused the death of the patient. 7.5 percent was caused directly the chemotherapeutic drug, and 4.3 percent was caused by sepsis, a condition characterized by severe infection because chemotherapy causes your immune system to shut down. The remaining 15.5 percent? The cause is unknown. [6]

The number of deaths attributed directly to the pharmaceutical industry is in the millions. Chemotherapy alone makes up 90 percent of these deaths but the numbers are usually attributed to deaths caused by the disease itself (as “cancer deaths”) instead of chemotherapy deaths. In 2018, close to 10 million deaths were attributed to cancer (exactly 9.6 million) but how many of those deaths were caused by chemotherapy?

If we take the data from O’Brien’s study in 2006 and apply it to the number of people killed by cancer, let’s say 10 percent was due to chemotherapy (if we average the 7.5 percent of chemotherapy-related mortality and 15.5 percent of unknown causes). That’s approx one million deaths each year due to chemotherapy alone. The same numbers are pretty spot-on with the data on PharmaDeathClock.com. With a million deaths each year, we can expect an estimate of more than 100 million deaths by 2100 because of chemotherapy. If you add other causes of death that can be attributed to Big Pharma, we can estimate roughly 120 to 130 million deaths by 2100 due to pharmaceutical drugs. That’s a staggering 45,000% higher than estimated deaths due to global warming (which is just a quarter of a million). [7]

These numbers may frighten you but it is the truth. For some, pharmaceutical drugs may save their lives. But for others, they are a death sentence. Check the references to see the statistics that this article is based on.

References:

[1] National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Climate change: How do we know? https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

[2] Collins, T. (2017). Future global mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3354

[3] Sternberg, S. (2016). Medical Errors Are Third Leading Cause of Death in the US. https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-03/medical-errors-are-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-the-us

[4] Siperd, R. (2018). The third-leading cause of death in US most doctors don’t want you to know about. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/22/medical-errors-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-america.html

[5] Journal of the American Medical Association (2012). CDC Grand Rounds: Prescription Drug Overdoses – a US Epidemic. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1356004

[6] O’Brien, M., et. al. (2006). Mortality within 30 days of chemotherapy: a clinical governance benchmarking issue for oncology patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2360753/

[7] Pharma Death Clock. http://pharmadeathclock.com/

This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Avocado Every Day

This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Avocado Every Day
image – pixabay (PD)

Avocados are not just photogenic, they have amazing health benefits that can help fight disease as well! Originating in south-central Mexico around 7000 to 5000 BC, today’s various studies on the fruit focus primarily on how avocados can protect your heart and blood sugar levels, among various health-related benefits.

1. Blood pressure

In spite of old myths – now debunked – about avocados being high in fat and therefore “bad for the heart”, the fruit actually has cardioprotective properties. In terms of nutritional value, the fat content of avocado is highly bioavailable, meaning it is easily stored and broken down by the body compared to fat from processed food. Studies have found out that avocado – especially extracts from it – is able to fight against hypertension by slowing the heart rate (bradycardia) and relaxing the blood vessels (vasodilation). Marquez-Ramirez, C., et. al. in 2018 studied how avocados could manage hypertension and even mediate hypertensive kidney damage. The researchers discovered that avocados were able to mimic the effect of losartan (an anti-hypertensive drug) on blood pressure, being able to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 21.2% and 15.5% respectively. For people suffering from hypertension, a drop in blood pressure by 10 to 20 points can mean a big difference in their health status. [1][2] [3]

2. Cholesterol

In 2018, Tan, et. al. conducted a study on virgin avocado oil and how it can help with high cholesterol caused by an unhealthy diet (“diet-induced hypercholesterolemia”). The study involved rats who were fed with a high cholesterol diet over the course of four weeks after which they were given both avocado oil and simvastatin, the latter of which is a drug prescribed to help lower cholesterol, over another four weeks. The study concluded that avocados were able to recover metabolic dysfunction in the subjects by improving lipid, amino acid, and gut microbiota metabolism, and that avocados were able to work hand-in-hand with commonly prescribed medications for hypercholesterolemia. [4]

Another study was published a few years earlier in 2015 and focused again on avocados and the body’s metabolism, specifically the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) found in avocados. Wang, et. al. studied the effects of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on body’s cholesterol levels (specifically LDL or low-density lipoproteins, a.k.a. “bad cholesterol”). With 45 overweight or obese study participants with LDL levels in the 25th to 90th percentile included in the study, the researchers found that adding one avocado a day to a moderate-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet had significant LDL lowering effects without affecting HDL levels (a.k.a. “good cholesterol). High LDLs and low-HDLs significantly predisposes a person to atherosclerotic heart disease, which is characterized by plaque build-up in the arteries and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. [5]

3. Diabetes

Another study also found that avocados have anti-diabetic properties as well, able to improve glucose uptake by the liver and muscles, decreasing the risk for metabolic problems that damage the nerves and blood vessels. [6]

In 2017, a study was published by Mahadeva Rao and focused on the ethanol extract from avocados and their effects on hyperglycemic albino rats. He found that avocados were able to significantly reduce blood sugar levels and improve levels of plasma insulin and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). These three factors rank high on the list of predisposing factors for developing diabetes. HbA1c levels show how your body metabolizes glucose over an average of two to three months by looking at how much of your hemoglobin is basically “coated” in glucose. A person who is unable to metabolize glucose well will have high blood glucose and HbA1c levels. [7]

Another component of avocados, oleic acid, was the focus of a 2017 study by Ortiz-Avila, et. al. and how it was able to “induce long-term alleviation of oxidative damage” in kidneys of diabetic rats. The researchers built on the concept that diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage due to diabetes) was caused by two precipitating factors: hyperglycemia or high blood glucose and oxidative stress. The study was conducted over one year and the researchers were able to conclude that supplementation with avocado oil was able to significantly cause hypoglycemia (lowering of blood glucose) and long-term antioxidation. [8]

4. Cancer

Avocados are loaded with antioxidants, which help reduce the amount of free radicals in the body that cause oxidative stress and DNA damage (and potentially cancer!). Flores-Alvarez and a group of researchers were able to conclude that plant defensins or antimicrobial peptides found specifically in avocados were able to cause apoptosis is cell death among chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells. The same results were seen in an earlier study in 2016, wherein plant defensins in avocados caused cell death in a human breast cancer cell line. In fact, other studies have reported that avocados can also work adjunct with chemotherapy by preventing drug resistance in breast and ovarian cancer cells. While eating an avocado will not suddenly cure cancer, these studies are starting off points on what other forms of management we can research and use to help battle the disease. [9] [10] [11]

5. Skin health

Avocados are great for your skin because of the same reason they are good for your heart: they are rich in highly bioavailable fatty acids that can contribute to better skin moisture and elasticity. While more studies still need to be conducted on avocados and how they can benefit our skin, oleic acid, which is abundant in the fruit, is being eyed for having potential in skin repair, improving skin health, and overall lending a hand to healthy aging. [12]

6. Arthritis

If you suffer from aching joints or arthritis, try to include avocados in your diet. The Arthritis Foundation encourages adding avocados to your daily meals because of their potent anti-inflammatory abilities, which can help reduce inflammation in the joints and improve overall mobility. The anti-inflammatory properties of avocados can be attributed to, you guessed it right, its monounsaturated fatty acids! The vitamin E content of avocados also helps with anti-inflammation. Another factor to consider in the management of arthritis is the ability to avocados to help with weight loss (because it lowers LDLs and improves fat metabolism), which puts less pressure and pain on the joints caused by weight gain. [13]

7. Pregnancy

If you are pregnant (or planning to get pregnant!), you can consider avocados as a healthy fruit to add to your current diet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 400mcg of folic acid daily for pregnant women to prevent congenital neurological problems in the fetus. 100 grams of avocado contains roughly 80 mcg of folic acid, which is pretty good ratio if you want to get good folic acid value per gram of weight of avocado. [14] [15]

8. Constipation

Avocados are a good source of dietary fiber, especially if you suffer from constipation. Fruits that are high in dietary fiber help improve digestion by adding bulk to stool and making it easier to have regular bowel movements. The US Department of Agriculture lists dietary fiber content of 100 grams of avocados at 6.7 grams. An entire avocado typically has around 10 grams of dietary fiber. [16]

9. Bone health

This is not a popularly known fact but avocados are great for bone health and keep osteoporosis at bay. The Save Institute encourages eating avocados because they are rich in the following nutrients that improve bone health: vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin C, boron, copper, and folate. These nutrients all interact with each other to help keep bones strong. Vitamin K and D in particular work synergistically to promote osteoclast (bone cell) production, which helps fend of osteoporosis! [17]

10. Weight loss

When you add all of the health benefits of avocados, you will find that it is a great diet food if you want to lose weight. The fruit’s great bioavailability makes it easier to metabolize glucose and energy from avocados, on top of significant anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, and cardioprotective properties, which can all contribute to significant weight loss. Despite being high in fat, it is the good kind of fat or monounsaturated fatty acids, which are easier to process by the body and not build up as excess weight.

References:

[1] Ojewole, J., et. al. (2007). Cardiovascular effects of Persea Americana Mill (Lauraceae) (avocado) aqueous leaf extract in experimental animals.
http://blues.sabinet.co.za/WebZ/Authorize/images/ejour/cardio/cardio_v18_n2_a2.pdf

[2] Dzeufiet, P., et. al. (2014). Antihypertensive potential of the aqueous extract which combine leaf of Persea americana Mill. (Lauraceae), stems and leaf of Cymbopogon citratus (D.C) Stapf. (Poaceae), fruits of Citrus medical L. (Rutaceae) as well as honey in ethanol and sucrose experimental model.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301628/

[3] Marquez-Ramirez, C., et. al. (2018). Comparative effects of avocado oil and losartan on blood pressure, renal vascular function, and mitochondrial oxidative stress in hypertensive rats.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29753173

[4] Tan, C., et. al. (2018). Effect of virgin avocado oil on diet-induced hypercholesterolemia in rats via 1 H NMR-based metabolomics approach.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30051518

[5] Wang, L,. et. al. (2015). Effect of a moderate fat diet with and without avocados on lipoprotein particle number, size and subclasses in overweight and obese adults: a randomized, controlled trial.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25567051

[6] Lima, C., et. al. (2012). Anti-diabetic activity of extract from Persea americana Mill. leaf via the activation of protein kinase B (PKB/Akt) in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22472105

[7] Mahadeva Rao, U. (2017). Salutary potential of ethanolic extract of avocado fruit on anomalous carbohydrate metabolic key enzymes in hepatic and renal tissues of hyperglycaemic albino rats.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28914437

[8] Ortiz-Avila, O., et. al. (2017). Avocado oil induces long-term alleviation of oxidative damage in kidney mitochondria from type 2 diabetic rats by improving glutathione status.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28214972

[9] Flores-Alvarez, L., et. al. (2018). PaDef defensin from avocado (Persea americana var. drymifolia) is cytotoxic to K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells through extrinsic apoptosis.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29559362

[10] Guzman-Rodriguez, J., et. al. (2016). The defensin from avocado (Persea americana var. drymifolia) PaDef induces apoptosis in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27470405

[11] Field, J., et. al. (2016). Microtubule-stabilizing properties of the avocado-derived toxins (+)-(R)-persin and (+)-(R)-tetrahydropersin in cancer cells and activity of related synthetic analogs.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26968704

[12] Sales-Campos, H., et. al. (2013). An overview of the modulatory effects of oleic acid in health and disease.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23278117

[13] Arthritis Foundation. Best Fruits for Arthritis.
https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/best-fruits-for-arthritis.php

[14] Link, R. (2018). 15 Healthy Foods That Are High in Folate (Folic Acid).
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-folate-folic-acid

[15] Wilson, D. (2016). Folic Acid and Pregnancy: How Much Do You Need?
https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/folic-acid

[16] United States Department of Agriculture. Basic Report: 09037, Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties.
https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/301058

[17] Save Institute. Surprising Facts About Avocados and Osteoporosis.
https://saveourbones.com/surprising-facts-about-avocados-and-osteoporosis/