Thursday, February 20, 2020

UN, WHO, Lancet report says every Australian child under threat from climate, poor diet

This is just more Green/Left propaganda from the usual suspects.  It's an enchiridion of Green/Left moans.  "The Lancet" is highly political. It criticized the Iraq war and is very "Green".  And the less said about the UN the better.

If Australia is such an unhealthy environment, how come we have one of the world's longest life-expectancies?  That's the bottom line

Australia has been singled out for scathing criticism by the World Health Organisation for threatening the future of its children through disproportionately high carbon emissions, undermining positive scores in child health, socio-economic equity and education.

A major joint report by the WHO, UNICEF and the scientific journal The Lancet concludes the future of children around the world, including Australia, is being threatened by ecological degradation, climate change and predatory marketing practices that drive obesity.

Australia’s children were ranked 20th in the world on a ‘flourishing’ index, which takes into account poverty, health, education and protection from violence, but Australia’s performance on an index of sustainability was dire, with a rank of 174 out of 180 countries.

The poor sustainability rank was driven by high CO2 emissions per head of population, with the WHO estimating that Australia’s emissions would be 524 per cent above a global target by 2030.

It’s the first time the WHO has included a country’s sustainability score as a measure of the future wellbeing of children. The report says if global warming exceeds 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 in line with current projections, “it would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.”

The nations ranked top in the world on the score of child flourishing were Norway, South Korea and the Netherlands. The flourishing index measures the mortality of children younger than five years old, access to child and maternal health services, basic hygiene and sanitation, growth and nutrition, prevalence of extreme poverty and educational achievement.

However, the report – compiled by a Commission of 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world – found that no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.

Co-chair of the Commission, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, said children were facing future “existential threats”.

“Despite improvements in child and adolescent health over the past 20 years, progress has stalled, and is set to reverse,” Ms Clark said. “Every child worldwide now faces existential threats from climate change and commercial pressures.

“Countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future.”

Australian academic Peter Sly, Director of the Children’s Health and Environment Program from the University of Queensland, was a local author of the report. He singled out excessive exposure of Australian children to fast food and gambling advertisements for particular criticism.

The report found children’s exposure to predatory commercial marketing of junk food and sugary beverages is associated with purchase of unhealthy foods and overweight and obesity. The number of obese children and adolescents increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016 – an 11-fold increase, with dire individual and societal costs. An estimated 28 per cent of Australian children are overweight or obese.

“The various governments and regulators responsible need to impose restrictions that truly protect children,” Professor Sly said. “Self-regulation is not working and did not work with the tobacco industry. A complete ban on advertising for all forms of alcohol and all forms of gaming during any program, including all sporting events likely to be watched by children, broadcast before 8:30 pm will be required to protect children. We did it for tobacco, so why not alcohol and gambling?”

The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the landmark report was a “wake-up call”.

“This report shows that the world’s decision makers are failing today’s children and youth: failing to protect their health, failing to protect their rights, and failing to protect their planet,” Dr Tedros said. “This must be a wakeup call for countries to invest in child health and development, ensure their voices are heard, protect their rights, and build a future that is fit for children.”

Local academics responded to the report by saying Australia had been “disgraced” on the world stage.

Anthony Okely, a researcher in child health and education at the University of Wollongong, said the report should concern Australian politicians.

“While we like to believe we are putting our children first and meeting their needs, our ranking on the Sustainability Index shows that our actions are not meeting our words,” Professor Okely said.” Australia’s very low score on this index is eroding many of the advances we have made in ensuring our children are flourishing.

“Our children are growing up in environments that are not supporting their right to an active, healthy life. The high levels of child obesity testify to this. Children are living more sedentary lifestyles, spending large amounts of time using electronic media for entertainment. This exposes them to marketing of unhealthy foods, displaces time they could spend being physically active, and compromises healthy sleep patterns.”

Liz Hanna, an academic at the Australian National University who also chairs the Environmental Health Working Group at the World Federation of Public Health Associations, said it was no wonder young people around the world were organising mass protests.

“This rigorous study married the voices of children with global metrics,” Dr Hanna said. “It further explains why the world’s children are uprising, demanding governments protect their future.

“Australia’s poor ranking provides powerful evidence that Australia has lost its way. Ranking 174th out of 180 countries on the Sustainability Index is as shameful as it is stupid.

“Decades of wilful neglect of the environment and the erosion of compassion have transformed the lucky country to an international laggard that is failing its children. By taking our natural advantages for granted, Australia is squandering its opportunities to secure a safe and healthy future for our children.

“Pandering to the sugar industry, and refusing a sugar tax, needlessly renders children at high risk of obesity, diabetes and a life plagued by chronic disease and disability.

“Similarly, steadfastly clinging to fossil fuel industries, against solid scientific evidence, unfolding climatic crises and environmental degradation knowingly accelerates climate change and robs children of their future.”


Students of Western Civ will have to see through a mash of diversity propaganda

Let’s start with good news. Something truly remarkable will happen during the next fortnight. Students at two Australian universities will begin a bachelor of arts in Western civilisation. The aim is for students at the University of Wollongong and the University of Queensland to learn what past generations of university students in Australia have never learned on campus. Even more remarkably, the narky union for academics that launched, then withdrew, legal action last year over the Western civilisation course has settled down.

So they should. There is nothing objectionable, or threatening, about students learning about Western civilisation in a chronologically ordered fashion, undertaking a philosophical adventure through the major periods and epochs of intellectual and artistic change in the West. The list of subjects in the curriculum is impressive and brave, a grand intellectual sweeping story from ancient Greece to the Bible, taking in Western masterpieces in art and architecture, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and the philosophy of democracy.

This is what all publicly funded Australian universities should be doing. Instead, this gaping vacuum in Australia’s tertiary education sector is being filled with five-year bachelor degrees at two universities offered to 60 students and funded by a private bequest by businessman Paul Ramsay through the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

The University of Wollongong’s curriculum guide for this degree in Western civilisation says its aim is to “create articulate graduates who are critical, creative thinkers that embrace and respect open inquiry. Our students will become well-rounded, free thinkers with … the intellectual skills and social virtues needed for conducting reasoned discussion, analysis and argument … (skills) necessary for all capable future leaders and good citizens.”

Make no mistake, the intention of the Ramsay Centre is to shake up the entire university sector. When students see a tremendous new degree at a few universities, they will demand that same impressive education at more.

This could be a groundbreaking degree, a shard of intellectual light in a dismally stupid period of Western self-loathing when even Yale University is pulling its famous course, Introduction to Art History: Renaissance to the Present. Course instructor Tim Barringer told the Yale Daily News that it is now problematic to put European art on a pedestal. Barringer’s new syllabus note says the course will now cover art in relation to “questions of gender, class and race and its involvement with Western capitalism”. “Its relationship with climate change will be a key theme,” Barringer wrote.

Now for the bad news. The fingerprints of the diversity and inclusion police, who are deeply anti-Western, wedded to identity politics and afraid of freethinking students, are all over the curriculum design document for Western civilisation degree at the University of Wollongong.

Why are they hanging their hat on this awful and confusing document? The curriculum guide reads like a narrative of a fierce battle between two forces. On one side are those promising a “bold, innovative initiative” that will offer students a “degree … unlike any other program of study currently offered at UOW”. On the frontline of the opposing side are diversity and inclusion police and other entrenched interests who seem determined to unwind, before it even starts, an exciting and new way to educate students about the story of Western civilisation.

For every short sentence in the curriculum that talks about a degree that “focuses centrally on the study of great works of Western civilisation” there are long paragraphs trying to refocus this degree on non-Western under-represented voices and perspec­tives. From a feminist retelling of the Iliad to the “golden age of Islam” there will apparently be myriad “opportunities for students to examine contemporary thinking on gender, race and class”. After another short sentence that promises “the BA WCiv’s predominant focus is on studying exemplary masterpieces of the West”, another 13 paragraphs promise to turn this innovative degree into the study about other cultures — something already on offer at just about every major Australian university.

One reference, in particular, blows the lid on how anti-Western ideologues aim to emasculate this new degree in Western civilisation. Drawing on the idea of a “great conversation” by American philosopher Robert Hutchins, the curriculum design document says it is “trying to cultivate sympathy in many ways”.

No serious high school history teacher, let alone a university professor, would talk about history in terms of trying to cultivate sympathy. At my public school in Adelaide I was lucky enough to have a brilliant history teacher in Year 10 who taught me that there is a world of difference between sympathy and empathy. History is not about feelings, he said. It is a study of people, ideas, facts and events to gain a sense of empathy about the past and its people. Empathy, not sympathy, provides a deep understanding of our history.

Maybe all this diversity and inclusion bumf was included as a superficial, and overblown, nod to placate the forces who tried to derail the course in a courtroom last year. Only time will tell.

But the very good people, the heroes, at Wollongong University who fought to bring this new degree to students should not misjudge the insidious influence of diversity activists embedded in university bureaucracies and academe. Neither should the Ramsay Centre and its board. Wollongong University’s Diversity and Inclusivity website says the school of liberal arts is fully committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in both its staff appointments and curriculum. It promises that the Ramsay-funded degree will “bring diverse voices and perspectives into the great conversation in half of the mandatory subjects … rather than relegating diverse voices to elective subjects”.

More superficial kowtowing? Once again, we will wait and watch. But it pays to remember that at universities across the country their history curriculums are saturated with teaching “diversity and inclusion” to the Orwellian point where they exclude, and denigrate, the teaching of Western civilisation in any kind of comprehensive, integrated, chrono­logically ordered program.

University of Sydney provost and deputy vice-chancellor Stephen Garton tried to make this point when negotiating with academics opposed to a Ramsay-funded degree in Western civilisation. But facts and reason were no match for the dogmatic zeal of his campus opponents.

In a statement last December, Ramsay Centre chief executive Simon Haines announced the end to negotiations after Sydney University’s revised attempt to secure $50m in funding. Haines said “the centre and its board had misgivings about the level of commitment of key stakeholders within the university in supporting the implementation of the curriculum and the associated scholarship program”.

Haines is not a man who resorts to hyperbole. His careful words are an indictment of the intellectual leadership of Sydney University vice-chancellor Mich­ael Spence.

No one should underestimate oppositional forces at UOW and UQ, or the intellectual leadership required at both universities to ensure that students embarking on this new degree are not subjected to the same tediously anti-Western dogma that drives the diversity and inclusion police. The peak union body for academics may be quiet now, but there are already signs that diversity and inclusion ideologues stand ready to sully these degrees. If they succeed, the Ramsay Centre will need to seriously rethink its noble aim to change things from within Australian universities.


Greens will preference Coalition not Labor in NT

Greens could be responsible for electing conservatives!

A FIGHT about onshore gas fracking will see the Greens direct preferences to the Coalition ahead of Labor in a Northern Territory by-election later this month.

Greens leader Adam Bandt confirmed the controversial decision to put the ALP last 'below conservative parties Territory Alliance and the Country Liberal Party (CLP) but said it was a decision of the state branch.

Labor slammed the move, describing it as "petty" and called on Mr Bandt to intervene in the decision. "The Greens are putting petty politics ahead of real action on climate change," Labor MP Pat Conroy said. "The CLP sit with Barnaby Joyce in Canberra, by not intervening Adam Bandt is saying Labor is worse than Joyce and his ilk."

The Greens argue the decision to dump the longstanding policy of preferencing the Labor Party above conservative parties was due to the ALP's decision to lift the moratorium on gas fracking. "Fracking the Betaloo Basin is like building the Adani mine and people in the NT are angry at Labor lighting the fuse on this giant carbon bomb," Mr Bandt said. He said the outcome of the by-election would not change the territory's government.

From Brisbane "Sunday Mail" of 16 Feb., 2020

Anti-dam policy coming in Queensland

A chunk of Queensland could be subject to strict new environmental protections under a State Government proposal that the LNP says would stop its New Bradfield Scheme in its tracks.

The Government is looking to impose new environmental standards in the south-west of the state in a move that the Opposition has warned will make it harder to build dams.

The proposed strategic environinental area in the Lake Eyre Basin would mean that water storage projects in the region would have to meet a set of criteria before they could get the go-ahead.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington has hit out at the proposal, claiming it would prevent new dams and irrigation projects in what could be "one of the most fertile regions of the country".

"There is no bigger issue in Queensland than water security and it is shameful that Labor are trying to stop the LNP's NeW Bradfield Scheme in its tracks," she said. "Queensland needs a stronger economy and the only way to deliver that is to back our regions and build job creating infrastructure like The New Bradfield Scheme.  "The LNP will unlock the potential of the outback, but all Labor wants to do is lock it up and throw away the key."

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch insisted it would still be possible to apply to build a dam in a strategic environmental area.  The proposed environmental area is being considered as part of consultation with stakeholders she said.

From Brisbane "Sunday Mail" of 16 Feb., 2020

 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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