According to the United Nations, a number exceeding 821 million people went hungry at some point during 2018 which is the third consecutive year the figure has increased. After decades of the number declining, malnutrition rates began rising in 2015 in large part due to climate change and also war. One of the targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to reverse the trend by 2030. However, it is an immense challenge becoming a world where there is no one who suffers from hunger by the stated date.
Ending world hunger by 2030 not achievable
In fact, the head of the World Food Programme says achieving this goal of zero hunger by 2030 is not achievable, adding that without food security, peace and stability seem a distant dream. He adds that extremist groups use food supply control and hunger as a weapon to either recruit new members or divide communities. In order to safeguard food security, it is important to have in place social and economic policies that mitigate the effects of adverse economic cycles.
The authors say that a structural transformation is necessary that includes the world’s poorest. This would mean that poverty reduction efforts would need to integrate food security and also target both gender inequality and the exclusion of certain social groups. In Africa malnutrition is widespread with about 20 per cent of the population suffering. In Asia, over 12 per cent are affected and in Latin America the figure is close to 7 per cent.
When we include people suffering from food insecurity, we arrive at over two billion individuals, eight per cent of whom live in Europe and North America and don’t have regular access to enough nutrition. Organisations say that presently we are not putting up enough efforts to meet the objective of halving the number of children whose stunted growth is the product of malnutrition by 2030. A spokesperson for Oxfam GB says women suffer the worst.
According to the spokesperson, a combination of climate shocks, conflict and inequality is now starting to push back years of progress. If the 2030 target of ending world hunger is to be met, it is critical for governments to urgently cut greenhouse gasses, emissions, provide additional support for small-scale farming and end violent conflicts. Approximately 14 children around the world presently suffer from hunger-related delays in growth. Whilst simultaneously obesity is also on the rise globally amongst school aged children according to the UN.
According to WWF, over the last 15 years, the population of orangutan’s residing in forest patches surrounding palm oil plantations in the Malaysian state of Sabah declined by as much as 30 per cent. Despite the alarming drop in numbers, the overall population in the region remains stable. WWF says the results are the product of the most intensive study ever done on any great ape in the world.
Overall population remains stable
The study found that orangutan numbers declined by 30 and 15 per respectively in Kulamba and Tabin between 2002 and 2017. Orangutans can be found in the Bornean rainforests which is where Sabah is located as well as on Sumatra which is an Island in Indonesia. WWF says that between 2002 and 2017 at least 650 orangutans were lost in the protected Eastern lowlands of Sabah. The overall population however, held steady at 11,000.
In a statement WWF says that whilst the population or orangutans has stablilised in large forest areas, their number in and around the forests within palm oil landscapes in Sabah’s Eastern lowlands fell. Because palm oil plantations are monoculture in nature, they are unable to support species that depend on forest environments such as orangutans.
Forest patches important
Forest patches within plantations perform an important function, allowing orangutans the ability to travel between forested areas and are key to the species survival, particularly in the lowlands of Sabah according to a spokesperson for the Sabah Wildlife Department. Malaysia depends on palm oil which is an ingredient that is used in everything from chocolate spread to lipstick.
Billions are at stake
The commodity generates billions of dollars every year in foreign exchange, supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and is Malaysia’s largest agricultural crop and export. After Indonesia, Malaysia is the second ranked grower of palm-oil with Sabah the most productive state in the country. The palm oil industry is responsible for widespread deforestation over the decades as land is cleared for plantations using slash and burn techniques that result in heavy pollution.
Category: Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK raised £540m over the last financial year, representing a two per cent increase over the previous financial year, making it one of the most successful fundraising years to date. The increase in funds raised was in large part the result of more money that flowed from legacy donations. Race for Life and Stand Up To Cancer also both raised more money than they did in 2018. There was an additional £2 million raised through Facebook charitable giving which is a brand-new innovation in fundraising that was rolled out at the end of the year.
More money raised than ever before in its history
Cancer Research UK’s total income for the year rose by 6 per cent over the previous year to £672 million, a figure which includes the fundraising income plus £125 million raised from charitable activities. This is the largest amount of money ever raised by Cancer Research UK and the charity will use the money to reinvest in research. Thanks to the strong fund-raising performance more money was available to fund research at any other time in Cancer Research UK’s history. Over the course of the financial year the charity spent £546 million on cancer research.
Cancer Research continues to make investment in four key areas, prevention, early detection and diagnosis, developing new treatments and making existing treatments more effective. Cancer Research UK CEO Michelle Mitchell says at the population of the UK ages, cancer will cast a shadow over more people than ever before. She adds that it has never been more urgent for research to be translated into tangible benefits for people suffering with cancer. In order to achieve that all organisations must work together across the UK and globally and ensure every penny is spent wisely.
Cancer Research UK’s key achievements over the last financial year include securing a strong commitment towards early cancer diagnosis as part of NHS Long Term Plan. Funding three new international teams for the next five years to solve long standing cancer research mysteries. The charity also launched the Cancer Research UK City of London Centre and a new Brain Tumour Award funding scheme. For every Pound donated, investment income and royalties earned, 82 pence was made available to beat cancer.
According to the latest research, just 10-12 per cent of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, defined as people with a net worth that exceed £10 million are actively engaged philanthropy. The data was released by the Beacon Collaborative and come after a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on philanthropy was established. The group was established in July with the goal of encouraging greater philanthropy in the UK.
Range of new programs could be funded
MP Rushanara Ali who is a member of the group says that if more of the super-rich in the UK became philanthropists, i.e. an additional new philanthropist for every ten that are already giving money, it would raise £2 billion that could be used to fund a wide range of programs. The new parliamentary group will work with all members of Parliament and the Beacon Collaborative in order to connect MP’s to philanthropists, social investors, trust and foundations.
The number of people giving has dropped
In the UK there are 18,000 individuals defined as being ultra-high-net-worth and the median amount they give to charity according to data from the Beacon Collaborative. Previous research undertaken has shown that in the UK, the number of people featured on this year’s The Sunday Times “Rich List” who give more than 1 per cent of their wealth to charity has declined from 86 last year to 72 this year. There are multiple reasons behind the drop in philanthropy.
According to John Pepin CEO of Philanthropy Impact the UK is trending against a cultural change that has been around for a very long time. He cites a lack of knowledge among advisors of wealthy individuals as well a British culture that does not celebrate philanthropy. This is quite different to the culture that exists in the US where philanthropy is expected and is actually the topic of conversation at dinner. In the UK there is no sense that with wealth comes social obligations.
Political uncertainty to blame
There are people that argue that political uncertainty has resulted in more high-net-worth individuals in delaying giving to charity. There are real fears that there will be higher taxes under a potential government headed by Labour Party Leader who is hard-left. In general, when there is economic uncertainty, people tend to be less generous. In order to reach the £2 billion goals is therefore challenging, however when the numbers are crunched, that adds up to just an additional £1.1 million from 1,800 individuals. That in reality when it comes to the one per cent is the equivalent of pocket change.
The latest report by Zero Waste Scotland suggests that Scots are unwittingly spending hundreds of millions of pounds on single-use packaging further contributing to the climate emergency. Scottish shoppers are now being made aware of the obscured financial costs and harmful impact on the environment through the use of single-use packaging when they purchase everyday products.
Cost is concealed
The research by Zero Waste Scotland found that Scottish shoppers collectively purchase in excess of 300,000 tonnes of single-use packaging every year. The amount spent annually by all Scottish households on all the packaging is about £600 million. That amount is concealed within the overall price of their groceries. To make matters worse the Scottish pay approximately £40 million each year to cover the local authority costs of collecting and managing all of that single-use packaging after it has been disposed.
Huge quantity of carbon emissions
That quantity of single-use packaging yields about 650,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year which is about the equivalent of 4 million car journeys between Aberdeen and London. Zero Waste Scotland is trying to emphasise the benefits consumers could obtain from alternative ‘packaging free’ stores which allow them to bring their own containers and fill them with items ranging from past to cleaning products.
Packaging considered part of the product
A spokesperson for Zero Waste Scotland says it is easy to think of packaging as part of the product rather than a product in its own right. The reality is when someone buys 500ml of shampoo, they are also purchasing the bottle but the cost of that bottle is not obvious. Packaging is clearly not free and when its cost is added up the average consumer spends an awful lot on single-use packaging. That is not simply a cost for consumers but a cost placed upon the environment.
Packaging must be recognised as a product
The spokesperson adds that packaging in it of itself is not bad, but consumers must recognise that it is a product and like all products consumers have the ability to make more informed decisions about whether it is worth the cost, if the cost is made obvious before purchasing it. If consumers were aware of what they paid for packaging, the research indicates they would prefer to purchase unpackaged products and reusable packaging options regardless of their attitude towards sustainability.
Price signaling would encourage manufacturers and retailers to discover methods of eliminating single-use packaging which would end up reducing costs for consumers and delivering environmental benefits. The report was released amidst growing worries regarding the cost to consumers and the environment of unnecessary single-use packaging. A recent BBC documentary series titled “War on Plastic” showed that when consumers in the UK sought to avoid plastic waste by purchasing their fruit and veg loose ended up being charged far more for their produce without packaging than the same bundle that was sold in packaged form.
Category: Guide Dogs For The Blind
A number of charities from the UK have joined forces to provide easy access to high quality information about sight loss for people suffering from visual impairments or are blind. One of the charities in the partnership includes Guide Dogs whom along with its partners all of advocate for people with visual impairments have shared their expertise to create a new website www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk
The new site aggregates content from across the sector and the portal provides answers to questions people have about living with sight loss, have been newly diagnosed with a sight condition or want to learn about more about eye health. The website is useful not just for people who are suffering but also those who provide support including parents partners and friends.
A great opportunity
A spokesperson for the Royal National Institute of Blind People says the website was a great opportunity for all charities involved to collaborate and share resources and expertise. Many people with vision impairment have said they have found it difficult to find the right information at the right time. The new site is easy to navigate and all the participants hope it will become the ‘go-to’ resource for anyone seeking information about how to live with sight loss.
An excellent resource
A spokesperson for Guide Dogs adds the new portal is an excellent resource for the visually impaired and the charity is extremely proud to contribute towards its establishment. The site is part of Guide Dogs vision of a future where every person experiencing loss of vision has the confidence and support to live their lives to the full.
A spokesperson for the charity Fight for Sight said their organisation is delighted to contribute towards the new resource which will help people suffering from sight loss. The charity seeks to raise awareness about the latest research taking place into sight loss and the breakthrough that have been made in this field. A spokesperson for the charity Visionary concludes that the joint initiative on information sharing has been fantastic and the organisation is extremely pleased to be involved.
A Vision UK spokesperson says the charity is very excited to be involved in the resource for blind and partially sighted people and for those who would like to learn more about eye health and sight loss. A VICTA spokesperson concluded by saying this has been an extremely fruitful collaboration that shows when organisations work together, everyone achieves more which can only be a good thing.
Category: Cancer Research UK
The leading charity in the United Kingdom funding cancer research has created a 360-degree film of a cancer patient undergoing an operation that will save her life. Cancer Research UK filmed the surgery to illustrate how a project it spent £1.4 million funding has been able to deliver assistance to those who suffer from oesophageal cancer. This form of cancer affects the tube that delivers food from the throat to the stomach and according to Cancer Research UK is one of the hardest cancers to detect and treat.
According to a statement released by Cancer Research UK, the operation took place at Southampton General Hospital was conducted by Professor Tim Underwood whom according to the charity is producing ground breaking research. The patient whose name is Janet and is aged 65 has stage 3 oesphagael cancer agreed to be filmed during surgery so that the charity is able to demonstrate how it is saving lives of people like her and potentially helping thousands of people in the future.
Video on YouTube
The four-minute video has been posted to social media through Cancer Research UK’s YouTube channel and we aren’t posting it because as the video clearly warns at the beginning, some people may find the content of the video disturbing. The video release coincides with the revelation by Cancer Research UK that less chemotherapy is perhaps better for older and frailer patients suffering from stomach and oesphageal cancers.
Dr Peter Hall, Co-Chief Investigator from the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre says that the medical community is increasingly coming to the realisation that it is not just age that determines how well a patient can tolerate their treatment. He adds that much more work needs to be done to understand how other conditions or aspects of frailty may have an impact. Dr Hall concludes that researchers now need to look beyond chemotherapies and start examining some of the latest more targeted therapies or immunotherapies to better understand how treatment can be tailored for different patients based on their individual circumstances.
They say charity is supposed to begin at home but that isn’t necessarily where it should end. According to the latest research fewer people in the UK donated to charity last year than in either of the previous couple of years. Generally speaking, the British are traditionally generous and when compared internationally perform very well in terms of giving.
Amount donated is stable
Last year the total amount donated by the UK was £10.1 billion and that figure has been stable for about ten years and the fact that fewer people were donating cash was offset by the fact that the number of people donating goods rather than cash has remained unchanged. Nevertheless, the fact that 43 per cent of those polled said they had not donated cash to charity over the previous twelve months and just 16 per cent said they donated their time is cause for concern.
Obviously donating to charity is not mandatory and for many people the ideal world would be one where the work they do was not necessary because their needs would be met by both the government and employers. The survey did not record which income groups had ceased donating to charity or their reasons why. However, given the backdrop of rising inequality, homelessness, the growing dependence on food banks along with cuts to health care and other public service, the only positive reason to reduce giving or stop altogether is that charities no longer need the cash, but that cannot be the whole story.
The authors of the report instead there are a combination of reasons behind the drop. Chief among them is a decline in trust following a spate of scandals recently involving charities. Other reasons include stricter data protection and fundraising rules plus a decision by many charities to focus on soliciting donations from existing donors instead of seeking out new ones. Household incomes are also under pressure with 22 per cent of people living in poverty which is a national disgrace.
Can’t fix what has been broken
Whilst there is limited research into academic research available surrounding philanthropy and fundraising, it is widely believed that poor people tend to be more generous than wealthier people in the sense they give a larger proportion of their incomes to charity. Charities cannot fix what has been broken, however since medical research and children are the two of the three most popular good causes with animals in third place, clearly, they have a role to play. The state does not have the resources to fund every single clinical trial and this means that specialists play an important role.
Generosity is a reflection of a healthy society
Over the last ten years there has been tremendous pressure placed on charities and the decline in number of donors is example of this trend with governance and other failures also playing a part. Donors may also feel a sense of pessimism regarding the sheer scale of the problems faced and the difficulties posed in addressing them. However, there should be no illusions about the importance of the organisations and whether or not they are indispensable. A healthy democracy needs a vibrant civil society and strong government with generosity being a healthy impulse.
Every week, people throughout the UK dump 11 million items of clothing in landfill. Fast fashion and a culture that encourages disposable clothing is placing an ever increasing amount of pressure on both the planet and its people. This month there is something you can do to help. By joining Second Hand September and making the pledge not to purchase new clothing for thirty days you will be helping the planet take a respite from unsustainable consumer driven pollution.
If you want to participate on social media, post your second-hand clothing on Twitter and Instagram using #SecondHandSeptember, tag @Oxfam GB and become eligible for the weekly prize draw. Any post that is tagged and hashtagged will be automatically entered into a prize draw, where a winner is randomly selected every Friday during the month of September. The draw opened the first week of the month and ends at 10 AM on Friday 27 September.
You don’t just get a single chance to win the prize, multiple entries do count, so you should share any pre-owned purchase throughout the entire month and give yourself as many chances to win. Winners will be contacted on their preferred social media platform. By taking the 30-day pledge Oxfam will provide fashion facts and tips for second hand shopping which will make the challenge simple. By saying yes to pre-owned clothing taken from landfill you give them a longer life and by shopping at Oxfam, every purchase helps Oxfam to help people beat poverty.
WWF has accused the European Commission of “deliberately harming climate action”. The conservation group claims that the Commission deliberately avoided releasing a report that showed just how little EU farming policies were doing in the way of helping prevent climate breakdown. The report on the climate impact of the Common Agricultural Policy was completed more than a year ago but languished unpublished until WWF lodged a formal freedom of information request for its release.
The report was eventually quietly released the day following the EU elections and found that the European Commission was not acting in a strong enough manner to encourage the farming industry to reduce its emissions. A spokesperson for WWF says that the delayed release of the report may well be considered an act of deliberate climate harm. The spokesperson adds that the EU Commission has been talking about the urgent need to act on the climate whilst failing to release a damaging report showing its farming policy is harmful and how much more it can and should do.
Serious questions raised
The report asked some serious questions regarding the wisdom of farmers ploughing land which is a practice known to release massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Common Agricultural Policy is the main instrument used by the EU to manage the farming sector. A spokesperson for Greenpeace says the report clearly shows that European agricultural policy is failing the climate test and the EU must do something about the over-production and over-consumption of meat and dairy which are key drivers for carbon emissions.
Reversing the trend
The EU’s farming sector contributes as much as 10 per cent of the its greenhouse gas emissions but policy changes could result in a reversal and the sector could capture and store a significantly larger amount of carbon dioxide claims WWF. The organisation argues that the Common Agricultural Policy has done almost nothing to support low-carbon and nature-friendly farming. WWF adds that the policy continues to support a market driven set of farming practices that are high-input instead of incentivising environmental or climate commitments.
The WWF spokesperson concludes by arguing that it is possible for both the climate and farming sector to achieve victories by rapidly cutting emissions and adopting practices that would see more carbon going into the ground and landscapes. The EU has already drafted a strategy for long term action to deal with climate change which clearly shows that agriculture can and should do more to help Europe achieve net-zero emissions.