China Faces Energy Shortages as Government Enacts Environmental Goals

Power outages have been affecting China since at least September. It’s a problem that is shutting down factories, eliminating jobs, and causing candle sales to skyrocket.

In Jilin, the state-owned water utility sent messages to customers warning that power cuts could happen of “indeterminate length” without plan or warning. They told people to be prepared for this problem to last until March, although it was later deleted – or censored. 

With all the confusion of what is to blame, many commentators are turning to China’s carbon dioxide emission reduction targets. Their concerns are creating fears for environmental advocates that a return to high coal consumption will continue. 

China Says That Rising Prices Are the Problem

COVID-19 has caused numerous supply chain shortages across multiple industries. China says that the problem isn’t that, but the cost of coal combined with higher electricity demands from factories.

Reduced mining activities have happened in China because of recent safety problems. The government also imported coal from Australia, but those purchases have been blocked since 2020 over diplomatic issues.

The coal-fired power plants refuse to operate at a loss, and they’ve been below their total capacity for several years.

That means supply and demand is likely the primary problem driving the energy shortages. Even then, some government statements suggest that the choice is between economic growth and hitting emissions targets

Many of the goals were set years ago. No recent enhancements have been made. If anything, the problem is that China became a carbon-intensive economy while it was working to make cutbacks.

Cuba Sets 90% COVID Inoculation Rate by December

Most states are struggling to reach their vaccination goals. It’s unusual for cities to be above 70%, and some areas aren’t even getting close to 50%.

We know that it’s imperative to take care of ourselves during this pandemic. When your immune system is strong with the help of products from Terry Naturally, it feels like you can stay healthy.

Cuba intends to reinforce that perspective by setting a 90% vaccination rate for the island nation by the end of 2021.  

Cuba Started Giving Shots to Young Children in October

The primary reason why the 90% goal is potentially achievable for Cuba is that the government started administrating vaccines to young children early. They were one of the first countries to begin administering shots to kids under the age of 12. 

COVID cases skyrocketed across the island as the Delta variant spread through the population. Cuba reported an average of 70 new infections per 100,000 residents in September 2021, one of the hemisphere’s highest rates.

Cuba is using the Soberana 2 and Soperana Plus vaccines to achieve this goal, both of which were domestically developed. Clinical trials found that the combination of those two products was more than 90% effective at protecting against infection.

The information from those trials has not been published in any peer-reviewed journals. 

Early trials have shown only common side effects. Cuba hopes that this effort will help schools reopen, especially since high internet costs make it almost impossible for kids to have online learning.

Weather Disasters Have Increased Five-Fold in the Past 50 Years

It doesn’t matter if you believe climate change is a natural or a human-made occurrence. Over the past five decades, the total number of weather-related disasters has multiplied by five times. 

The only good news from that data is that fewer deaths have occurred while the number of droughts, floods, and storms has increased.

Although better reporting could be partially responsible for the data increase, over 11,000 weather-related disasters occurred between 1970 to 2019. Two million people lost their lives, with over $3.6 trillion in damage requiring repair. 

More than 90% of the deaths have happened in the developing world. 

Droughts Are the Most Significant Weather Problem We Face

The biggest killer from adverse weather events is drought. It’s responsible for over 650,000 deaths.

At the other end of the scale, extreme temperature events have taken almost 56,000 lives during the study period. 

Although the number of deaths has gone down, so has the total number of recorded disasters. A steady increase happened up through 2009, but the next decade showed a decrease. That means a message of hope is out there within the stark statistics.

That’s not to say the costs of climate change are decreasing. In 2017, three hurricanes accounted for 35% of the total losses from the ten worst disasters from 1970 to 2019.

With only half of today’s countries having access to multi-hazard early warning systems, we must expand this technology to help people stay safe. International cooperation is also required to ensure that the people and families displaced by weather events can find a new place to call home. 

International Space Station Faces Deteriorating Conditions

It took 42 launches to get the International Space Station to its current state. It won’t last forever, and the deteriorating conditions it faces today suggest that it might be coming down sooner rather than later. 

The massive orbiting laboratory was launched to great acclaim in 2000. It was seen as being at the pinnacle of international cooperation at the time. It needs regular boosts or fuel injection from the spacecraft that visit to keep it up there.

If those activities stop or something goes wrong, the space station will eventually fall. It is currently scheduled to continue operating until the end of 2024. NASA says they have cleared it to remain operational through at least 2028.

The ISS Offers the Same Amount of Space as a Six Bedroom Home

The space station planning process began in the 1980s. When NASA had Skylab fall out of orbit, their goal was to bring it down through the atmosphere with controlled destruction. As solar activity increased, ballooning the atmosphere to higher levels, the 80-ton lab accelerated itself toward the planet. 

Skylab chunks littered Australia, with the largest surviving piece being an oxygen tank. If the ISS were to have a similar fate, lives could be put at stake with the descent. It wouldn’t be like a nuclear catastrophe, but the debris would spread over a significant area. 

New station modules are under development as commercial interest in accessing orbital moments grows. They might solve the problem of aging space technology, but for now, we should all be thinking about how much maintenance is still needed to keep the International Space Station flying.

Farm Labor Shortages Lead to Food Giveaways

Since dealing with the pandemic isn’t enough for everyone this year, companies in the food production industry have dealt with unprecedented labor shortages. Of course, they are not the only companies struggling to find workers.

The data shows that a significant labor loss has occurred for various reasons. Farmers have increased their acreage, fewer young people are entering into the industry, and border closings have made it harder to hire workers from overseas.

It’s the fourth consecutive year of this issue, with many crops lying in the fields unharvested because no one is around to get them. That’s made American agricultural products uncompetitive in the global market and requires the United States to import more items to meet demand. 

Innovation Could Solve the Food Shortage Issue

The food production industry is turning to robotics and artificial intelligence to speed up the harvesting and delivery process. Although produce growers still rely on human hands, mechanization is helping to solve some of the problems.

That includes truck drivers and warehouse employees who process the food products. 

Pick-and-place technology can speed up the delivery process. Drones are headed out to the fields to conduct surveys, save data, and apply chemicals. 

When human labor is necessary, today’s employers are going to great lengths to offer benefits and competitive wages to ensure the work gets finished. 

It’s hard work to be in the fields all day. When you need sustained energy, it is vital to supply your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs. That’s why having your shelves stocked with items from brands like Douglas Laboratories and Premier Research Labs is helpful.

You’ll build each day with a firm foundation that lets you do some incredible stuff!

Survival Schools See Attendance Rise During COVID

When the influenza pandemic spread globally in 1918, it wouldn’t be until 1920 when things started getting back to normal in many communities.

As we see with the COVID pandemic, the arguments over masks and social distancing were similar. Instead of focusing on one’s health, it became a political argument.

Since there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, many people are turning to survival schools to develop the skills and resources they’ll need for survival.

About 250 million people have contracted COVID since the start of the pandemic, with nearly two million dying from the disease.

What Are Survival Schools?

Survival schools have been around much longer than the coronavirus. These institutions teach people how to survive if they’re stuck in the woods with only their clothing and a couple of tools. 

Some of the skills taught during these wilderness courses include making fire by friction, finding edible food outside, and hunting safely.

Here are some of the best ones that still offer classes today.

1. Ancient Pathways

Founded by Tony Nester in 1989, this survival school focuses on bushcraft. Courses range from four days to two weeks, including a knife-only class.

2. Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School

The most popular course here requires students to improvise their own shelter. You must make your way to a campsite using a compass and topographic map over four days and three nights.

3. Mountain Scout Survival School

You can find single-day survival classes that start from $60. You can learn how to trap, track, and create a fire. If you live in an urban environment, the NYC class in Central Park delivers a fun experience.

Life can throw a curveball at any time. When you know how to survive, it’s much easier to get ready for the next pitch. 

Zoom Settles Privacy Lawsuit for $86 Million

Zoom agreed to pay $86 million to settle a class-action privacy lawsuit that originated in the United States. The plaintiffs argued that the video conferencing software company shared personal data with LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook without permission.

The lawsuit also accused Zoom of misstating how it offers encryption while failing to prevent hackers from gaining access to video conferencing sessions.

As part of the settlement, Zoom denies any wrongdoing while agreeing to boost its overall security practices. In March, the company had even asked the court to dismiss, but the judge only granted a partial dismissal.

Free Users Might Not Receive Much in the Settlement

People must prove they received harm because of Zoom’s inaction with its software or the information it sold to others.

If the settlement proceeds as expected, paid subscribers can expect about a 15% refund or $25, whichever is larger. Free users who can show Zoom’s actions harmed them might qualify for a payment of up to $15.

Lawyers in the case are seeking over $21 million in legal fees, a figure not included with the final settlement numbers initially reported. 

The primary issue involves the security flaws that users encountered while operating with Zoom, especially during the lockdown pandemic months. Mac users were sometimes forced into calls without their knowledge, while attackers could remove people from meetings, spoof messages, or hijack a shared screen. 

Since 2020, Zoom has introduced more than 100 features to improve security, privacy, and safety.

Once approved, qualifying individuals will receive notice of their status.

Western Wildfires Create Air Quality Risks Along the East Coast

States like California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington are facing a record year for wildfires. The Caldor Fire in CA is one of the largest in the state’s history, covering over 212,000 acres after starting on August 14.

The Caldor Fire grew to such a large size that it began affecting the South Lake Tahoe basin. Mandatory evacuations began in that area during the first week of September.

Air quality readings in Northern California were unhealthy during these fires, but the smoke wasn’t contained in that area. People along the East Coast were also affected by those particulates.

The Bootleg Fire Burned 600 Square Miles

When fires get as large as the Bootleg Fire in Oregon or California’s Caldor Fire, they generate their own weather events.

For several days during the summer, eastern states were trapped in a smoky haze. Even though the wildfires were over 3,000 miles away, there were mornings when you couldn’t see the city skyline in Philadelphia and New York.

This year marks the second time that wildfire smoke traveled from one coast to the other. 

As air quality warnings increase, it is vital to take steps to protect yourself. The first step is to get masks or respirators that guard against PM 2.5 and PM 10 air contaminants. These items can coat lung tissues, potentially making the body more susceptible to Covid infections.

Another step is to focus on your respiratory health. Products from brands like DaVinci Labs and Plant Therapy might give you the boost you need.

Finally, stay inside when the wildfire smoke lingers. By reducing your exposure, you’ll protect your health. 

Last Refuge for Polar Bears at Risk Due to Global Warming

The Arctic Ocean is critical for the survival of wild polar bears. Parts of the landscape remain frozen all year, with one region expected to stay frozen for longer than any other. 

The Wandel Sea area, which is north of Greenland, typically retains thick ice throughout the year. 

With record melting happening in 2020, researchers fear changing climate conditions could put this beloved species at risk of extinction. 

Sailors Found Large Stretches of Open Water

The Polarstern is a German research vessel that explores the northern seas. When they entered the Wandel Sea last year, they encountered stretches of open water that shouldn’t have been there.

After this discovery, scientists used sea ice models and satellite images to piece together what was happening in the region. 

Strong winds moved most of the sea ice out of the area, with thinner and newer ice working to displace the patches of thicker and older spots. 

Canada was so concerned about the issue in 2019 that the government designated part of this last ice area as a marine protected environment. Although climate models likely need to be re-examined to determine the accuracy of the findings, most surveys didn’t predict that much loss until several decades in the future.

That means polar bears aren’t having much luck finding food. They rely on seals and other sea creatures to appear in holes from the ice to breathe for hunting. Without this advantage, the results could be devastating for the species. 

Opioid Deaths Rose 46% in Washington in 2020

While COVID-19 spun off variants to infect millions of people, many coped with the different lockdown orders by taking opioids.

It was a choice that led to a 46% increase in opioid-related deaths in Washington, D.C., in 2020. Most of the people impacted by this issue were older Black and African-American men.

Although the rates are staggering, the issue isn’t something new to those who live in America’s capital. Fentanyl deaths started rising in 2017, and the figures have kept climbing since that time.

Treatment Options Show Racial Disparities

The United States experiences several ethnic and racial disparities in the healthcare field. The use of opioid disorder treatments, including buprenorphine and methadone, has several barriers to distribution to minority communities.

Buprenorphine providers tend to accept commercial insurance, but they will not take Medicaid.

Medicaid is the medical coverage individuals and families receive when they meet specific low-income thresholds. Minorities in the United States are more likely to use this service, and it is even more likely that someone with an opioid addiction will be on it.

That means the people who need the treatment the most are the least likely to get it. 

What fueled this crisis? We know that about one-quarter of the patients who receive prescription opioids for pain management end up abusing the product. 

We also know that about 5% of the people who misuse an opioid prescription will transition to heroin.

The only way to change these statistics is to stop offering opioids as the first-course treatment for pain. We must also reach out to the communities where overdosing is rampant to deliver some much-needed services.