Forests cover about 30% of the planet, but deforestation is clearing these essential habitats on a massive scale. What is deforestation? Find out the causes, effects, and solutions to deforestation.
In the last couple of decades, the lush rainforest around the remote village of Meliandou in the heart of Guinea has become patchier. Animals, like bats, saw their habitats dwindle and in a quest for survival, they sought refuge in closer proximity to human environments, making the boundaries between species thinner. A hollowed-out tree in the middle of the village became home to a colony of bats.
About 50 meters from the same tree, in the heart of Meliandou, a two-year-old boy named Emile lived with his family. In a matter of days, Emile fell ill with an unknown virus, developed a high fever, and died. Soon the same virus, that scientists now believe Emile got from the bats, took the lives of his sister, mother, and grandmother. The village, surrounded by a ring of forest, unexpectedly became the epicenter of a devastating outbreak that would leave an indelible mark.
Dr. Raman Velayudhan is a seasoned expert in the public health field and a relentless advocate for combating the global threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
Currently at the helm of the Veterinary Public Health, Vector Control, and Environment unit within the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Velayudhan’s impact is far-reaching.
Climate change and human activity are enabling the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue fever, to new places. Stanford infectious disease experts and disease ecologists discuss what we know and how communities can protect themselves from these changing disease threats.
One look at Aedes aegypti gives an immediate impression of its menacing nature. The telltale dark and white bands on the mosquito’s legs and other body parts bring a sense of foreboding and hardship. Sleek, silent, and stealthy, Ae. aegypti is the primary vector for several important, debilitating, and sometimes fatal human diseases including dengue, Zika virus, yellow fever, and chikungunya. The species is cause for mounting concern on many levels, as its biology, behavior, and ability to adapt have made Aedes aegypti one of the most pervasive and daunting public health challenges in the modern world.
The first mosquito ever associated with the spread of disease, Ae. aegypti is also the most studied of all mosquito species.1 From its humble beginnings in the African wild to a footprint that spans the globe, this durable and opportunistic insect has become a formidable opponent of vector control efforts worldwide.
Gary White, Co-founder and CEO of Water.org and WaterEquity, is a visionary leader dedicated to addressing the worldwide water crisis. His commitment originated from observing the severe conditions experienced by communities in Honduras lacking safe water and sanitation facilities.
Committed to effecting change, he arranged a fundraising dinner that generated sufficient resources to provide water to a village. This act served as inspiration for establishing WaterPartners International, presently recognized as Water.org, an organization that has significantly improved the well-being of millions of individuals worldwide.
Clean water and sanitation is central to sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda, with strong linkages to many of the other proposed Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more through the excellent infographics provided below, and do remember to share this important knowledge with friends and family.
Credits: Unilever for World Water Day
Clean water is essential for all life on Earth to thrive. The water cycle is not contained within our countries’ borders or boundaries, which makes it a challenge to monitor, maintain and implement improvements and changes. Ownership of, and access to, this essential natural resource has been at the forefront of many disputes around the world, between neighboring countries and communities, and even countries on opposite sides of an ocean. Across the globe we are observing conflicts, wars and water refugees as people struggle for equal access to what has been widely termed as Blue Gold.
Economies on both a national and local level depend upon clean freshwater and saltwater regions. In theory, a thriving economy has the ability to fund infrastructure projects and provide basic needs for all of its citizens. However, even wealthy countries are struggling to provide sufficient standards of clean water, with each region negotiating its own bespoke complications.
British artist Luke Jerram has made a name for himself by incorporating scientific principles and concepts into his artwork. His pieces often explore the mysteries of the natural world and the ways in which science shapes our understanding of it.
One of Jerram’s most captivating installations is the “Gaia” project, which features detailed images of the Earth’s surface taken from 120dpi detailed NASA imagery. The artwork offers a unique perspective on our world, floating in three dimensions and highlighting both its fragility and its beauty. This is just one example of how Jerram’s work challenges viewers to think more deeply about the scientific phenomena that surround us.