Friday, November 22, 2019

Living near a park could add years to your life! City dwellers whose homes are close to green spaces are less likely to die young 'because they have cleaner air and exercise more' (?)

Not this old chestnut again. There are normally one or two studies every year that claim to prove a relationship between pollution (or lack of it) and health and I regularly review them. See here. Without fail, the studies are full of holes.  They do not show what they purport to show.  They omit major methodological precautions that would have protected them from false conclusions and as a result leave their reported effects attributable to other things than pollution.

Living near a park is desirable so mainly the rich can afford it.  And the rich have better health anyway. Some of these studies claim to control for demographics but usually rely on a proxy such as education, e.g. here.  I have never seen actual income data for each person gathered

Living near a park may slash your risk of an early death, according to the biggest ever review of the evidence.

An international team of researchers analysed nine existing studies involving eight million city-dwellers around the world.

Results showed adults who lived near green spaces were significantly less likely to die young from any cause, including heart disease, cancer and dementia.

Urban parks help improve the air quality, filtering out toxic pollutants that kill scores of people every year.

Researchers say they also offer no-cost spaces for people to exercise, which helps drive down obesity rates.

These benefits are also good for mental health and stress levels, said the Barcelona Institute for Global Health-led academic team.

They have now called for more shrubs, plants and trees to be planted in urban areas on the back of the findings.

People who can walk to a park are less likely to be fat
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), found that children in the state who grew up within a third of a mile of a park were at a lower risk of becoming obese by age 18 and were less at-risk for chronic health problems later in life.

After a review of studies on California parks and human health, they concluded parks may offer a free, untapped resource for millions of Californians and city dwellers on the whole.

One of these studies surveyed 80,000 California households about their mental health, stress and financial circumstances.

They found that regardless of how poor or wealthy those families were, the ones that lived close to a park or green space were less distressed.

Their analysis also suggested teens that live near parks may take advantage of them for exercise.

One of the studies found that nearly 30 per cent more teenagers spent an hour or more doing some form of physical activity five days a week when they lived near parks and green spaces.

The study authors surmise that that meant less screen time for the teenagers living near parks, too, which may offer mental health benefits for them.

The studies that were reviewed included people from seven different countries – the US, Canada, Spain, Italy, Australia, Switzerland and China.

The researchers used satellite images to measure the distance between participants' homes and green spaces and cross-referenced it with their health records.

The studies tracked the participants for several years. Results were published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health.

They found that for every two per cent increase in greenness within 500 metres of their home, there was four per cent lower chance of an early death.

Lead author David Rojas, researcher at the Barcelona Institute and Colorado State University, said: 'This is the largest and most comprehensive synthesis to date on green space and premature mortality.

'The results support interventions and policies to increase green spaces as a strategy to improve public health.'

The research team - which involved experts from the World Health Organization - are currently applying the results to estimate the number of premature deaths that could be prevented in cities around the world.

Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, director of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative at the Barcelona institute said: 'Urban greening programmes are not only key to promoting public health, but they also increase biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change, making our cities more sustainable and livable.'


Extinction Rebellion co-founder Roger Hallam said the Holocaust wasn't unique and was 'holding Germany back'

He's not the first Green antisemite.  Hitler was one too

Hallam, 53, sparked outrage in Germany by referring to the Holocaust as 'just another f***ery in human history'.

He compared the murder of six million Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis to other historical massacres and claimed that memory of the Shoah - or Holocaust - was holding Germany back.

The former organic farmer was quickly condemned by Extinction Rebellion groups in Germany, as well as the German government after his comments to a newspaper in the country.

And the British branch of the organisation also distanced itself from him, denouncing his claims.

In an English-language interview he told Die Zeit: 'The extremity of a trauma...can create a paralysis in actually learning the lessons from it.

'The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history.'

He cited the Belgian colonialists who 'went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it'.

Some Twitter users called for Extinction Rebellion to expel their co-founder Toger Hallam over his remarks about the Holocaust to a German newspaper.

Henrique Laitenberger wrote: 'This is Extinction Rebellion's final litmus test - Roger Hallam is not just any activist, he co-founded the movement and was central to the development of its strategy, despite his extremist politics. Will @XRebellionUK expel Hallam? Or do they tolerate his heinous views?'

In a statement sent to MailOnline, Extinction Rebellion UK said: 'Extinction Rebellion UK unreservedly denounces today’s comments from our co-founder, Roger Hallam, in the German newspaper Die Zeit, made in a personal capacity in relation to the recent launch of his book.

'Jewish people and many others are deeply wounded by the comments today. Internal conversations have begun with the XR Conflict team about how to manage the conflict process that will address this issue.

'We stand by restorative outcomes as preferable, although in some cases exclusion is necessary.

'Our 6th Principle states: ''We welcome everyone and every part of everyone working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces''. Our movement must be safe for Jews as well as all other minorities, marginalised peoples, and religious groups.

Hallam claimed his comments had been taken out of context and compared the impact of the Holocaust with the looming climate disaster, but did not apologise for the offence caused.


Climate ‘Science’ Riddled With Dishonesty, Incompetence

As climate historian Tony Heller makes clear

The absolute worst case of professional incompetence and dishonesty is in the area of climate science. Tony Heller has exposed some of the egregious dishonesty of mainstream environmentalists in a video he’s titled “My Gift To Climate Alarmists.”

Environmentalists and their political allies attribute the recent increase in deadly forest fires to global warming. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, forest fires reached their peak in the 1930s and have declined by 80% since then.

Environmentalists hide the earlier data and make their case for the effects of global warming by showing the public and policymakers data from 1980 that shows an increase in forest fires.

Climate scientists claim that rising sea levels are caused by man-made global warming. Historical data from the tide gauge in Lower Manhattan shows that sea levels have been rising from about the time when Abraham Lincoln was president to now.

Heller says that sea levels have been rising for about 20,000 years. He points out that anthropologists believe that when the sea level was very low people were able to walk from Siberia to North America.

Hot weather is often claimed to be a result of man-made climate change. Heller presents data showing the number of days in Waverly, Ohio, above 90 degrees. In 1895, there were 73 days above 90 degrees. In 1936, there were 82 days above 90 degrees. Since the 1930s, there has been a downward trend in the number of days above 90 degrees.

If climatologists hide data from earlier years and started at 1955, they show an increase in the number of above 90-degree days from eight or nine to 30 or 40. Thus, to deceive us into thinking the climate is getting hotter, environmentalists have selected a starting date that fits their agenda.

You might ask: “Who is Tony Heller? Does he work for big oil?” It turns out that he is a scientist and claims to be a lifelong environmentalist. From what I can tell, he has no vested interests. In that respect, he is different from those who lead the environmental movement, who often either work for or are funded by governments.

Once in a while environmentalists reveal their true agenda. Ottmar Edenhofer, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth summary report released in 2007, speaking in 2010 advised: “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth.”

United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said that the true aim of the U.N.’s 2014 Paris climate conference was “to change the (capitalist) economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

Christine Stewart, Canada’s former minister of the environment, said: “No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits. … Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

Tim Wirth, former U.S. undersecretary of state for global affairs and the person most responsible for setting up the Kyoto Protocol, said: “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

Not all scientists are dishonest and not all news reporters are leftists with an agenda. But one wonders at the deafening silence where there’s clear, unambiguous evidence.

For example, if ocean levels have been rising for some 20,000 years, why do scientists allow environmentalists to get away with the claim that it’s a result of man-made global warming? Why aren’t there any reporters to highlight leftist statements such as those by Edenhofer, Stewart, and others who want to ride global warming as a means to defeat capitalism and usher in socialism and communism?

I would prefer to think that the silence of so many scientists represents their fears as opposed to their going along with the environmental extremist agenda.


Climate change and human population growth are putting 7,000 plant species in Africa at risk of extinction, a study claims

Just another prophecy, no more likely to be true than all the others

A third of tropical plants in Africa are headed for extinction, a study has revealed.

Researchers determined that out of more than 22,000 vascular plant species, nearly 7,000 have now been classified as 'likely or potentially' threatened.

The report points at the losses of biodiversity, rapid human population growth and changes in land use and the effects of climate change as reasons to why these plants are disappearing.

Following an even deeper analysis, the team determined the regions most at risk were Ethiopia, the center of Tanzania, the southern Democratic Republic of Congo and the forests of West Africa.

A team of international researchers assessed the 'Red List', which is 'the most authoritative list of threatened species', developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The researchers assessed a total of 22,036 vascular plant species in tropical Africa and found that 32 percent are on their way to disappearing.

'Our study thus provides further evidence that the flora of tropical Africa will be highly vulnerable in the future,' reads the study published in Science Advances.

'This situation will no doubt be magnified by the effects of climate change, which is one of the most important assumptions influencing extinction risk.'

Although multiple countries are losing fauna, the team found Ethiopia has the highest number of disappearing species.

The country's highlands are in the top 10 most threatened with 50 percent of its tropical plants were deemed 'likely or potentially' threatened.

The new study uses a novel methodology based on key components of the IUCN Red List's assessment process to discern the potential conservation status of tropical flora at the continental scale.

The team used a the newly constructed database called RAINBIO, which consists of over 600,000 geo-referenced occurrence records of more than 20,000 vascular plant species in tropical Africa.

'Tropical Africa is a highly suitable model for undertaking such a study as it is faced with significant and mounting threats resulting from a wide range of activities, including logging, fuelwood collection, and deforestation for agriculture and mining,' reads the study.

After applying their PACA approach to the RAINBIO database, the researchers were able to categorize each species into five preliminary conservation status levels: likely threatened, potentially threatened, likely rare, potentially rare, and likely not threatened.

Study co-author Bonaventure Sonké noted that 'These results were possible because the partners involved agreed to share their data,' adding: 'This is a strong signal to encourage researchers to share their data, in order to obtain results on a larger scale.'


Leaked emails show ABC journalists conspiring on Global Warming

The ABC is Australia's major public broadcaster

Leaked emails have shown ABC journalists and producers conspiring together behind closed doors to push an ideological line on Global warming.

The first leaked email was sent on Sunday to journalists at the taxpayer funded public broadcaster by Melbourne executive producer Barbara Heggen. Heggen wrote that she was inquiring after “interest in an ABC-staff climate crisis advisory group”. The purpose of this new group was to “gather together the brains trust of the ABC staffers to develop ways to report on and inform Australians about the climate crisis using a solutions journalism approach”  and “to report back to ABC management our ideas and strategies for responding to the climate crisis both internally and externally”.

For those unaware, Ms Heggen is the woman responsible for such sterling journalism as this article discussing the possibility of fleeing to Tasmania to escape climate change and this radio segment talking about whether or not Australians should stop having children to save the planet.

The “Solutions journalism approach” she advocates is a theory of journalism developed in the late 90s which suggested that journalists shouldn’t simply report the facts but should suggest “solutions” to social problems. How this fits in with the obligations of the ABC charter is of course an interesting question.

Barbara’s friends and colleagues were excited at the prospect of what would effectively be an internal lobby group inside the ABC pushing for even more extreme alarmism and bias than currently. The ABC’s national rural reporter, Dominique Schwartz replied: “I’m keen. I have just been looking into how other media organisations are dealing with coverage of climate change.”

Investigative reporter Stephen Long agreed: “Also keen to discuss this. You should be aware also that [Editorial Policies] is having a look at this issue.” To get an insight into Stephen’s view on the matter one only needs to peruse the over two dozen articles he’s written slamming the proposed Adani coal mine, plus his other articles spruiking the benefits of renewables and downplaying the threat of blackouts caused by them.

ABC PM Presenter Linda Mottram also agreed: “We must report established science, the evidence, and not myth.” Presumably when Ms Mottram is speaking of reporting “evidence” instead of “myth” she’s referring to stories such as the one from earlier this month where the ABC breathlessly announced that 11,000 scientists were “declaring a climate emergency. The ABC of course neglected to mention during this “evidence” based reporting that many of the signatures were obviously false and that one of the signatories was a Professor “Mickey Mouse”.

I guess if they want to improve their “evidence” based reporting they can always give Tim Flannery another bag full of money to film yet another series. Maybe this time he can expand on his belief in a Gaia-like earth spirit.

The ABC receives over a billion dollars a year of taxpayer funds. If its journalists weren’t publicly funded then these leaked emails showing them conspiring to slant coverage behind closed doors would be annoying; but as an organisation funded by involuntary contributions of taxpayers it’s enraging.

The ABC will never reform unless it is under the threat of complete defunding. The time to start threatening that defunding is now.


‘Inside’ the ABC’s climate group

Alas, the latest ABC staff-initiated brainchild is no more. As revealed on Monday through emails obtained by The Australian, senior journalists at Aunty had discussed establishing an “ABC-Staff climate crisis advisory group” to “report back to ABC management our ideas and strategies for responding to the climate crisis both internally and externally”.

ABC producer and presenter Barbara Heggen had made the proposal, suggesting a “solutions journalism approach”. ABC Melbourne journalist Karen Percy described it as “a fabulous idea,” national rural and regional correspondent Dominique Schwartz said she was “keen”. Senior journalist Linda Mottram said it was a “great idea”, also speaking of the “need (for) constant reminders that we must report established science, the evidence, and not myth”. Incidentally, Mottram’s ABC bio notes “Most recently she has taken a strong interest in editorial training at the ABC”.

The Institute of Public Affairs director of policy Gideon Rozner summed it up best. “Because if there’s a gap in ABC coverage, it’s climate change,” he quipped. As noted by The Australian’s media editor, Leo Shanahan, ABC policies require that “editorial decisions are not improperly influenced by political, sectional, commercial or personal interests”.

Yesterday ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose put the kybosh on these journalists come crisis activists, stating “it was one of those ideas that is not going to happen.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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