Insight News

Sep 02nd


The worldwide plant extinction crisis

The worldwide plant extinction crisisDear EarthTalk: When we talk about “endangered species” we usually think of animal species, but someone recently told me that there was a worldwide crisis pertaining to the extinction of plants. Can you enlighten? -- Max Blanchard, East Islip, NY

We may not realize it, but the health of the plant kingdom is crucial to the health of the planet and the animal life (which includes humans) it supports. “Through photosynthesis, plants provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat and are thus the foundation of most life on Earth,” reports the Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based nonprofit dedicated to securing the future for endangered plants and animals throughout the world.

Harnessing volcanic energy

Harnessing volcanic energyDear EarthTalk: Is there any way to harness volcanic energy to meet our electricity and other power needs? -- Antonio Lopez, Chino, CA

The short answer is yes: Heat generated by underground volcanic activity can and has been harnessed for electricity for over 100 years around the world. Utilities can capture the steam from underground water heated by magma and use it to drive the turbines in geothermal power plants to produce significant amounts of electricity. Getting at the sources is not so easy or cheap, though, as it requires drilling into unstable sections of the Earth’s crust and then harnessing the heat energy miles below the surface.

U of M nets $7 million to create center to combat childhood obesity

Center will work with parents of low-income families to improve nutrition, lifestyle

University of Minnesota School of Public Health and HealthPartners Research Foundation researchers have been awarded a $7 million federally-funded grant to tackle childhood obesity in a unique three pronged approach that focuses on parents of preschool children.

The seven-year grant, funded by the National Institutes of Health, will support the creation of a Childhood Obesity Center within the U of M where parental influence is paramount. Researchers will combine primary care, a child’s home environment and community-based intervention strategies into a program that aims to spark changes in food intake, physical activity and body weight among low-income, ethnically diverse children.

Gabrielle Union attends 20th Annual Susan G. Komen New York City Race for the Cure

Gabrielle Union attends 20th Annual Susan G. Komen New York City Race for the CureActress Gabrielle Union joined 24,000 participants, including 1,600 breast cancer survivors, at the 20th annual Susan G. Komen New York City Race for the Cure in Central Park.

Union, who advocates for breast cancer awareness in memory of a friend who recently died from the disease, presented the Co-Survivor Award to Bert Paolucci who has supported his wife and mother-in-law during their battles with the disease.

Summit Academy OIC hosts Community Health Fair Open House for low income community residents

Students from Summit Academy OIC, located at 935 Olson Memorial Highway, in Minneapolis are hosting a Community Health Fair Friday, October 15, 1 – 3 pm to educate low-income community residents and minorities about a variety of health issues including diabetes, heart disease, low birth weight prevention, sexually transmitted diseases and obesity.

Saint Paul Public Library offers Flu Shot Clinics in September and October

The Saint Paul Public Library in collaboration with the MN Visiting Nurse Agency will offer flu shot clinics at many of its library branches in late September and early October.

Flu shots will cost $26 and will be available at the following locations:

Arlington Hills, 1105 Greenbrier St., 651-793-3930
Wed., 9/29, 3:30-7:30 p.m.
Thurs., 9/30, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Central Library, 90 West Fourth St., 651-266-7000
Fri, 10/1, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Dayton’s Bluff, 645 East 7th St., 651-793-1699
Mon., 10/4, 3:30-7:30 p.m.
Thurs., 10/7, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

U.S. health spending projected to reach nearly $4.6 trillion by 2019, rising at an average annual rate of 6.3 percent over the next decade

First Federal Government Report on Spending Post-Health Reform
Projects Moderate Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Overall Health Spending

Bethesda, MD – U.S. health spending is projected to reach nearly $4.6 trillion by 2019, growing at an average annual rate over the next decade of 6.3 percent, according to economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  By 2019, health care is projected to account for nearly one of every five U.S. dollars spent, or about 19.6 percent of the gross domestic product, 0.3 percentage points higher than anticipated before reform.  The projections are reported today in a Web First article in the journal Health Affairs.  This national health spending report updates the earlier projections that focused on 2009 to 2019 (released online by Health Affairs on February 4, 2010) and builds in the impact of health reform.
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