Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Simon, the other judges, and the entire audience laughed as this boy and his friend came on stage. But then those laughs quickly turned to applause and tears when Jonathan and Charlotte started to sing. WOW.
Public outrage over case of newborn boy who was apparently dumped down toilet and had to be cut free by doctors.
It’s among the most basic, most critical, and most overlooked resources needed to run a hospital: electricity.
But in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the flow of energy is intermittent at best. Consider that in Mirebalais, located 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, the power goes out for an average of three hours each day. This poses an enormous challenge to running any hospital; surgeries are jeopardized, neonatal ventilators stall, the cold chain is interrupted, and countless everyday tasks get derailed. As Partners In Health co-founder Paul Farmer noted during a recent lecture at the Harvard School of Public Health, “It’s not great if you’re a surgeon and you have to think about getting the generator going.”
To make sure the patients and staff at Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (University Hospital) aren’t left in the dark, PIH and its partners looked toward the sun. Stretched across the roof of the new 200,000-square-foot hospital is a vast and meticulously arranged array of 1,800 solar panels.
On a bright day, these panels are expected to produce more energy than the hospital will consume. Before the facility even opened its doors—the official opening is slated for March—the system churned out 139 megawatt hours of electricity, enough to charge 22 million smartphones and offset 72 tons of coal. Perhaps most important is that the excess electricity will be fed back into Haiti’s national grid, giving a much-needed boost to the country’s woefully inadequate energy infrastructure.
In a country ravaged by deforestation, the ecological benefits of this alternative energy source cannot be overstated: Annually, the system is expected to save 210 metric tons of carbon emissions.
And while a sea of solar panels perched atop a hospital in the mountains of Haiti is certainly eye-catching, it’s just one part of a comprehensive environmental strategy. Other green-friendly features at the hospital include natural ventilation that minimizes the need for air conditioning and motion-sensor activated lights that cut energy consumption by 60 percent when compared with traditional lighting.
This push toward sustainability and energy self-sufficiency translates into significant financial savings. In Haiti, electricity is expensive: The price per kilowatt hour is 35 cents, compared with 5.5 cents in New England. Using solar is expected to slash $379,000 from the hospital’s projected annual operating costs.
When fully operational, University Hospital is expected to be the largest solar-powered hospital in the world that produces more than 100 percent of its required energy during peak daylight hours, an impressive feat for the first-ever teaching hospital in central Haiti. The many lessons learned from the project will prove invaluable as PIH, its partners, and others undertake similarly ambitious and sustainable projects.
Monsanto's Agent Orange caused over half a million Vietnamese children to be born with deformities.
Since the Vietnam War ended and the effects of Agent Orange have become more apparent, many are beginning to look back at the effect it had on the people of Vietnam. Tran is one of many. Her story represents millions living in the shadows of a lasting legacy.
These children will never live a normal life; their deformities are physical signs of human decay. Although their parents were not even born until after the Vietnam War, 18 million gallons of the toxic herbicide, sprayed through the jungles of South Vietnam, is still penetrating the DNA of those born today.
"There are millions and millions of victims still alive and are suffering from illnesses and from cancers," said Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, the Director General of Ngoc Tam Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Dr. Nguyen is Tran's doctor and accompanied Tran to testify on Capitol Hill.
The US government has acknowledged a connection between Agent Orange and the health defects and ailments that continue to plague the lives of Vietnam War veterans for generations. But the US has refused to make the same link for the millions of Vietnamese War victims whose lives have been devastated as a result of Agent Orange.
This is why delegations are here in Washington following a report issued by lawmakers, scientists and doctors calling on the US government to own up to its Agent Orange legacy in Vietnam today.
Government records show nearly 95 percent of all US Agent Orange related aid is committed to contain and remove dioxin contamination. In fact, the US has been providing medical aid for everything but Agent Orange treatment and medical exploration.
Those fighting for justice in the case of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims want the physical and psychological damages to be acknowledged.
"If they accept, they have to pay to compensate for millions of people, not only in Vietnam but also in the United States and also to the other countries, like Korea, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand," said Dr. Phuong.
Jonathan Moore, an attorney from New York, says US chemical companies at the time of the Vietnam War knew the purpose of the Agent Orange they produced. He says they should be held responsible for its impact.
"The Agent Orange -- used in Vietnam -- that was manufactured by Dow, Monsanto and other chemical companies in the US at the time, contained dioxin rates that were unnecessary and had no effect on the purpose that the herbicides were used for. It wasn't a defoliant, it was simply a chemical that was created because Dow and Monsanto used a process which even at the time was contrary to industry standards," Jonathan Moore says. "Any way you look at it -- from the moral, or ethical, or legal standpoint, we believe these corporations should be held responsible for the harm they caused because they knew what was going to happen."
Mora County, N.M., has a message for the oil and gas industry: “You’re not welcome here.”
The county commissioners also adopted a bill of rights that asserts Mora County’s right to block drilling, even if the state or federal governments try to allow it. Again from the AP:
In addition to putting the county off limits to oil and gas development, the ordinance establishes a bill of rights aimed at affirming the county’s right to local autonomy and self-governance.
The ordinance states that any permits or licenses issued by either the federal or state government that would allow activities that would compromise the county’s rights would be considered invalid.
“This is the fight that people have been too chicken to pick over the last 10 years, which is essentially deciding who makes decisions about the future of the places where we live,” said Thomas Linzey, executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. “Either it’s the people who live there or it’s the corporations that have an interest in exploiting them. It’s very basic.”
Congratulations, Mora County. May you continue to conserve and enjoy your precious groundwater supplies and clean environment.Gasland Director Exposes Fracking
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