A climate of despair August 13, 2014 Konrad Marshall Senior Reporter for The Age “………If the term “climate depression” is new to you, it should be. No such condition is recognised by the world of psychiatry. There is no formalised syndrome. If there is a disorder of this kind, it has not been acknowledged by the medical community. Thornton herself wonders whether the moniker is misleading – whether “despair and disempowerment” might be better.
Yet no matter what the nomenclature (some refer to the problem as “ecoanxiety”, while others talk about “doomer depression” and “apocalypse fatigue”), despondency over a what many believe is societal failure to adequately acknowledge or address environmental issues has become a line of psychological inquiry.
Several experts suggest that the overall intersection of mental health and climate change is one we ignore at our peril.
Researchers have conducted extensive studies into increased “climate anxiety” levels and hyper-vigilance in communities formerly stricken by droughts and floods and bushfires. (One professor coined the term “solastalgia” to describe the “existential distress” felt by residents after a negative environmental change in the place they call home.)…….
Susie Burke, a senior psychologist with the Australian Psychological Society, has done extensive work on the mental impact of climate change………
Only last month, Burke made a presentation on mental health and the environment as part of the Climate Reality Project, hosted by former US vice-president Al Gore at Rod Laver Arena and attended by hundreds of committed by weary campaigners.
“We can be very sure that many people in the field of climate change are distressed – highly distressed – and it can have a significant psychosocial impact on their wellbeing,” Burke said. “If you’re feeling stress, anger, guilt, anxiousness or hopelessness, it has effects on your life. Depression becomes a real risk.”
Burke points out that disengagement – “switching off from the cause and becoming passive” – is an additional and bona fide concern for leaders within the green community, such is the crippling power of the threat perceived by people like Thornton, and the slow rate of change they observe.
“Think of the overwhelming evidence they have. And then imagine the retraction or repeal of important legislation, or the watering down of bills. Or the green light that was just given to the Carmichael open cut mine in Queensland – granted by the environment minister,” Burke says. “There is also some ‘vicarious distress’ that comes with knowing what is happening to people here and around the world as a result of climate change. It can have an effect on your well being.”………. : http://www.smh.com.au/national/a-climate-of-despair-20140813-102r1w.html#ixzz3AQfUIjvm
St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls the first in Australia to install UV meter http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/st-hildas-anglican-school-for-girls-the-first-in-australia-to-install-uv-meter/story-fnhocxo3-1226931735377 RACHEL NORMAN PERTHNOW MAY 16, 2014 ST Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls is now the most sunsmart school in Australia. The Mosman Park school has become the first in the country to install a meter that tracks ultraviolet radiation from the sun. If the meter hits level 3 or above, students have to cover up.
The move is an attempt to mitigate the prevalence of Australia’s most common form of cancer.
The Cancer Council says almost 77,000 skin cancer cases are treated each year in WA alone. Mark Strickland, the Cancer Council of WA’s SunSmart manager, said installation of the meter on the school’s junior campus was a positive step towards reducing skin cancer in the community.
“It has been shown that reducing lifetime UV radiation goes a long way to reducing the risk of skin cancer,” he said.
“A UV meter is another way of reminding people that the sun’s radiation in WA is strong enough that they need sun protection.
“It’s a silent but constant reminder of the ever-present need to cover up.”
Andrea McNally, the head of Junior School at St Hilda’s, said childhood was a particularly important time to recognise the need to seek shade and form good habits for the future.
“Having the visual prompt of the UV meter has taught the students that it’s not the heat that determines danger, but the UV index; and hopefully that will create a lifelong awareness and a change in their attitudes,” she said.
Data from the UV meter will also be used as part of the junior school curriculum, with students from year 1 currently monitoring and recording data every day.
Australia’s first public UV meter was installed at Deep Water Point in Melville last year.
There is also a Cancer Council meter at the Surfing WA club house at Trigg Beach.
St Hilda’s year 6 pupil Angelique Preau said she and her fellow students were paying close attention to the meter – regardless of the sort of day it was.
“When it gets to 7 or more it’s bad and you have to go into the shade and/or put sunscreen on,” the 11-year-old said.
Running amok at Ranger Mining Australia, 5 May, 2014 Ben Hagemann“…….The job was to clean out one of the CCD (Counter-Current Decantation) tanks, ready for inspecting and repairing the rubber lining, and to change pump impellers underneath the tank.
A CCD tank is like an enormous, open-topped butter churn, but rather than mastitus-ridden, bovine squeezings, the tank is filled with a mixture of milled ore, water, some kind of flocculant (guar gum, maybe) and of course, sulphuric acid.
If I remember correctly, the acid comes from the leach tanks where the ore sits for a while so that the uranium can dissolve into solution, then that solution is decanted in the CCD tank where the flocculant is frothed up so that it can bond with the uranium and float to the surface, turning the whole lot into one big, bubbly, radioactive milkshake.
Of all the tanks only one of them was shut down so that we could do maintenance, and judging by the look of them, we were the first guys to take on this job in a very long time.
Once drained, the tank was one or two feet deep in the extremely heavy ore slurry and the arms were piled with sulphur sediment, hard as sandstone. We needed to disconnect the pumps below and hose all the sludge down the drainhole in the middle, a task that we were instructed to do with process water.
Now, process water… little did I know that’s the water that was used to “process” the ore… duh.
This means the water contained traces of the uranium in solution, fully dissolved and ready to soak into porous, human skin. Although we wore gumboots, long gloves and faceshields, naturally we wound up completely soaked after a few minutes of waving a two inch fire hose on high pressure, trying in vain to get the dense rock sediment to lift up and go down the drain.
It took four weeks to clean one tank, and that included digging out the gutter around the top of the tank from a scissor lift, as well as smashing all the piled up sulphur residue off the enormous arms of the churn (crawling around the lattice structure with a gympie hammer, bashing our way through and getting covered in the yellow muck).
If this sounds like a horrifying degree of physical contact with some very noxious material, you’d be right. It was about two weeks into the job that management finally got around to giving us our radiation inductions.
There I learned that the water with which I’d been soaking myself was actually radioactive, and you shouldn’t let it get on your skin!
We couldn’t know the degree of radiation we faced, as we weren’t issued with personal radiation monitors (not necessary for shutdown crews, we were told) but workers would reassure us that it wasn’t much.
The next week I took myself to the radiation lab during lunch, where the radiation officers expressed bemusement, then horror when I told them that the grey material all over my shirt was ore.
A quick sweep with the scintillometer revealed slow ticking over my body, which was reassuring, but my leather boots crackled like static on a black and white TV.
They were, as they say in the uranium game, “hot”, and were promptly discarded and replaced with a fresh pair from the stores, along with a full complement of new socks……..
Leaving alone the forgetfulness of management when it came to educating a shutdown crew about the full extent of radioactive hazards, Ranger’s production plant was in pretty bad shape, even to my uneducated eye – It was like the mine that time forgot. There was gridmesh rusted out, full of holes in some spots, so you really had to watch your step on the stairs and catwalks, not to mention the rotted-out, RSJ beams, steel nearly two inches thick you could push a screwdriver through.
I guess that’s what happens when you have sulphuric acid fumes mixing with the sultry, jungle atmosphere- It rots the steel away from under you.
I don’t know whether the site was under-maintained or not, but the fact that a leach tank actually busted open and spilled a full load of radioactive acid slurry last year is a pretty bad sign.
It’s good that ERA is replacing the baffle supports in all the leach tanks, but that kind of corrosion incident points to the prospect that the Ranger plant will be up for a lot more maintenance than that.
It makes me wonder what could happen if ERA were allowed to start a new mine expansion?
Would they look after it? Or would it simply rot away over the years, mismanaged and scraping by on the barest minimum of maintenance?
What do I know? I’m just a simple rigger.
New Studies Show Health Risks from Wireless Tech: Warnings from the BioInitiative Working Group http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140411005708/en/Studies-Show-Health-Risks-Wireless-Tech-Warnings April 11, 2014 RENSSELAER, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)--The BioInitiative Working Group says evidence for health risk from wireless tech is growing stronger and warrants immediate action. The Group released a mid-year update covering new science studies from 2012 to 2014.
New studies intensify medical concerns about malignant brain tumors from cell phone use. “There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones,” says Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD at Orebro University, Sweden, according to studies released in 2012 and 2013. “Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a known human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits are not adequate to protect public health.”
The BioInitiative reports nervous system effects in 68% of studies on radiofrequency radiation (144 of 211 studies) in 2014. This has increased from 63% in 2012 (93 of 150 studies) in 2012. Studies of extremely-low frequency radiation are reported to cause nervous system effects in 90% of the 105 studies available in 2014. Genetic effects (damage to DNA) from radiofrequency radiation is reported in 65% (74 of 114 studies); and 83% (49 of 59 studies) of extremely-low frequency studies.
Mobile wireless devices like phones and tablets are big sources of unnecessary biological stress to the mind and body that can chip away at resilience over time. The Report warns against wireless in schools. Schools should provide internet access without Wi-FI.
“It is essentially an unregulated experiment on childrens’ health and learning. Microwave from wireless tech disrupts thinking – what could be worse for learning? Technology can be used more safely with wired devices that do not produce these biologically-disruptive levels of microwave radiation,” said Cindy Sage, Co-Editor of the BioInitiative Report.
Federal programs like ConnectED and E-Rate are calling for wireless classrooms while ignoring the health evidence. Hyperactivity, concentration problems, anxiety, irritability, disorientation, distracted behavior, sleep disorders, and headaches are reported in clinical studies.
Government reviews on health impacts of wireless radiofrequency radiation from the European Union and Australia continue to be inconclusive largely because they require certainty before issuing warnings. The FCC review of health impacts from wireless technologies is still underway, but has not affected the federal push for wireless classrooms.
Concerns women may not be getting enough sunshine http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/concerns-women-may-not-be-getting-enough-sunshine/2215239/ Rae Wilson 31st Mar 2014 Professor John Wark, who works at both organisations, said vitamin D was an essential nutrient for everyone, young and old.
“Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones, muscles and overall health. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the best natural source of vitamin D, but it is also the main risk factor for skin cancer and premature ageing of the skin,” he said.
“A balanced approach to sunlight exposure can help you avoid vitamin D deficiency, which has been linked to many chronic health conditions such as poor bone and muscle health, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and adverse mental health conditions to name only a few. Continue reading
Waves of uncertainty over wi-fi Stuff.co.nz 29 March 14“……..CUT BACK ON YOUR EXPOSURE
MOBILES AND DEVICES
Before buying a cellphone or internet-capable device, check out its SAR (specific absorption rate) rating – though in New Zealand you’ll likely have to go online for this information. The SAR measures how much the device’s emissions are absorbed by the body. Lower ratings indicate lower absorption.
Ensure your mobile has flight mode and use this as often as you can, including overnight, and when carrying it close to your body.
For long computing tasks, select a wired desktop or plugged-in laptop, rather than a wireless tablet.
Avoid holding a laptop or device on your lap or stomach – use a table instead, unless it’s in flight mode.
When you can, choose a text over a call. Keep phone calls to a minimum or use a hands-free kit.
Keep calls to a minimum where reception is bad – when a mobile is far from a cell tower, it has to boost its signal to connect.
Choose a wired mouse and keyboard.
If possible, choose corded devices, or purchase one with speaker-phone capabilities.
Keep the main transmitting base of the cordless phone away from bedrooms and desks.
Keep calls short.
When installing a transmitting unit, ask for it to be put up high, such as on the wall or a shelf, away from bedrooms or where people sit.
Only turn the system on when you’re using it. Make sure the router is turned off overnight, especially.
Choose software on a laptop rather than cloud-computing technology such as Google Docs, if you’re using wi-fi. Typing in a Google Docs word processing means a wi-fi signal is sent with every single keystroke.http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9882716/Waves-of-uncertainty-over-wi-fi
The uncertainty around the radiation’s effect should mean we treat the technologies using it with kid gloves rather than abandon, Monash University radiation researcher Mary Redmayne said.
The Melbourne-based scientist said there was not enough research for us to know what a safe level of exposure was…… She said young people have thinner skulls, and the brain’s protective defences – a protein that covers nerve cells called myelin – were only fully developed in middle age. This combination meant children’s brains were poorly insulated from outside interference, such as radiation.
Waves of uncertainty over wi-fi Stuff.co.nz 29 March 14, After thousands of studies, the most that experts worldwide can determine is the radiation used for wi-fi networks, digital devices, cordless phones and cell phones is a “possible” cause of cancer. With such uncertainty, OLIVIA WANNAN asks if we are using this technology with enough caution. Continue reading
A major study by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, affiliated with the University of Western Australia, looked at the extent of sun exposure among workers in a cross-section of industries.
The research found that overall, more than one-third of male workers but just eight per cent of female workers – two million people in Australia – were exposed to solar radiation at work.
The workers at particular risk of skin cancer were farmers, trades and construction workers and drivers…..https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#inbox?compose=143ff06c388d6238
Compensation plea over nuclear test MIKE DUFFY, 7NEWS SYDNEY 21 Jan 14 A veterans’ support group says it is disgusted by the treatment of sailors left sick with cancer after taking part in nuclear tests in the 1950s.
The conscripts claim they’ve been abandoned despite other servicemen receiving healthcare assistance.Over 60 years ago, back in October 1952, an Australian atomic test gave Britain membership to the nuclear club.
‘What no officer wants to face’ The cloud that appeared over the islands of Monte Bello, off Western Australia’s north coast, was proof Britain had the bomb.
Operation Hurricane was a major operation for the Australian Navy, but not everyone involved knew what they were in for.
Michael Rowe was a teenager, a conscripted national serviceman on HMAS Murchison.“When we got there we didn’t know why we were there,” he said.
“Then one morning we were told to assemble on deck we were going to witness the first British atomic bomb explosion. So we did as we were told and assembled on deck in fully protective outfits of sandals and shorts. “Knowing what we know now, they wouldn’t have had us there exposed as we were.”
Since speaking to 7News, Michael has sadly passed away, claimed by a cancer he believed was caused by radiation.
He lobbied for the same healthcare assistance afforded to those veterans judged to be closer to the blast.
Veterans activist Sandy Godfrey said:” These are the forgotten veterans of Australia who have just been ignored by the government.”……..http://aunews.yahoo.com/nsw/a/20893335/veterans-plea/news.yahoo.com/nsw/a/20893335/veterans-plea/
Climate change, the ozone hole, and skin cancer – they’re all connected, Online opinion, By Noel Wauchope, 30 Dec 13 As I watch the TV news on these hot summer days, I marvel, in a sort of shocked way, at the acres of bare human flesh exposed to the harsh sunlight.- Australians of all ages, frolicking at the beaches. Don’t they know about skin cancer? Don’t they care?
Like the mythical mass suicide of lemmings, do they frolic to their doom.?
In a slower sort of frolic, Australia under the Abbott government no longer seems to know or care, about climate change.
Science is finding new connections between global warming and the ozone hole, and skin cancer, especially in Australia.
Australia has just had its hottest year on record. Global warming is happening, whether or not one argues about the cause. The hole in the ozone layer is still there, even though talk of that has gone out of fashion. And there’s skin cancer on the increase 2 common forms, and the less common melanoma, and another nasty rare one, that is becoming less rare in Australia.
What are the connections here?………
This article is not attempting to say that by addressing climate change,we are going to prevent skin cancer, although it is pretty clear that the faster Australia heats up, the greater will be the incidence of skin cancer. (So, on that basis alone, it would be a good idea to get on to a global drive to fight climate change.)
No, what is bugging me is the lack of information, media and public concern in Australia, about UV radiation, about skin cancer, and also cataracts and eye cancers, which also are caused by UV radiation..
You see, although the effects of UV radiation are world-wide, Australia is a special case, and we should be more concerned than nearly any other country.
these rather frightening connections between skin cancer, ozone depletion and climate change are surely more reasons for Australia to take a leading role in action to slow the rate of climate change. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=15873
While mammography is still a very useful test, it has limitations, and having had a recent mammogram does not definitively exclude cancer. So, any change in the breasts, particularly a painless lump, requires a timely trip to the GP.
Radiologist issues a caution on breast cancer screening for young women, Canberra Times, Dr Jeremy Price, 26 Dec 13,
- Mother knows best in advising a second opinion on breast cancer screening
- Boost in demand for breast cancer checks
- Breast cancer test not failsafe, women warned
The problem of screening younger women for breast cancer is an important health issue.
All too frequently we see women between 30 and 50 years of age presenting with a palpable clinical lump which turns out to be cancer and often at a rather late stage. Furthermore, when compared to the older more typical age group, young women with breast cancer usually have more aggressive high-grade disease. Frequently, even if a mammogram has been performed, nothing has shown up, often because the cancer cannot be distinguished from the normal dense breast tissue which most young women naturally have in preparation for lactation. Continue reading
they’ve been treated like second-class citizens.
“This really is disgusting. How is it that these people, subject to the fury of a nuclear blast, aren’t even entitled to a gold card for their medical treatment as other veterans are?”
AUDIO Aussie nuclear veterans ‘disgusted’ by bid failure http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/12/17/aussie-nuclear-veterans-disgusted-bid-failure Australian veterans of British nuclear tests say they’re disgusted by the latest setback to their campaign for compensation. (Transcript from World News Australia Radio) Australia’s Human Rights Commission has decided it can’t consider the case of the 300 veterans because the matter is out of its jurisdiction.
The decision has left the veterans’ lawyers saying it’s the end of their campaign.
Murray Silby spoke to some of the veterans, including Avon Hudson “They’ll act with extreme disgust at the government and the Human Rights Commission. I mean we shouldn’t wait on the Human Rights Commission. This should have been addressed by governments of the past, but given the Human Rights heard this I have no time for the Human Rights (Commission) now.”
Avon Hudson says he and his fellow veterans have lost faith in a system that should have protected their rights.”I don’t know anybody that was there when I served there that hasn’t had either cancer or some other illness induced by radiation. Continue reading
Expansion of the Australian National Radiation Dose Register http://medical.wesrch.com/paper-details/pdf-ME1AU7TU3NJWR-expansion-of-the-australian-national-radiation-dose-register#page1 13 Dec 13, This medical presentation is about Expansion of the Australian National Radiation Dose Register. In the International Best Practice exposure records for each worker shall be maintained during and after the worker’s working life, at least until the former worker attains or would have attained the age of 75 years, and for not less than 30 years after cessation of the work in which the worker was subject to occupational exposure. This requirement has been adopted in Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation across Australia.
1998 Both ANSTO and the government have sought to cloak rational discussion about the costs and benefits of a reactor under a dishonest claim that the reactor is vital for nuclear medicine. In fact medical isotopes can be easily obtained from a global market which already supplies many Australian hospitals.
a senior government bureaucrat who was quoted on the same ABC radio program saying: “The government decided to push the whole health line, and that included appealing to the emotion of people. … So it was reduced to one point, and an emotional one at that. They never tried to argue the science of it, the rationality of it”.ABC radio on March 29, 1998
The medical isotope rhetoric has become so implausible that the government is itself backing away from it. The parliamentary Public Works Committee produced a bipartisan report in August 1999 which said: “A number of organisations and individuals challenged the need for a research reactor based on a requirement to produce medical radiopharmaceuticals. … The Committee recognises that this issue has not been resolved satisfactorily.”
In fact, a nuclear reactor is likely to commit Australia decisively to the “nuclear club” by ensuring a seat on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA regulates the world’s nuclear industry and is also the world’s biggest promoter of nuclear energy.
It is unclear how our national interest is served by participating in the global spread of nuclear energy with its associated risks and waste problems. Professor McKinnon, who carried out the government’s 1993 Reactor Review, agreed, stating: “There may be national advantages in not being so closely associated with IAEA stances.”http://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/oz/lh/articles
Cyclotrons have important advantages over nuclear reactors in relation to radioactive waste and safety, and cyclotrons pose no risk in relation to weapons proliferation. The underlying reason for these advantages is that cyclotrons are powered by electricity, whereas research reactors rely on a uranium fission reaction.
The onus falls on the media to report on health fears about wind farms cautiously, particularly given strong evidence that it is the discussion itself that may be creating and perpetuating health complaints.
Wind turbines don’t make you feel sick or healthy, but spin can http://theconversation.com/wind-turbines-dont-make-you-feel-sick-or-healthy-but-spin-can-20845 Fiona Crichton PhD candidate in psychological medicine at University of Auckland 29 Nov 13
Despite at least 19 reviews of the scientific evidence universally concluding that exposure to wind farm sound doesn’t trigger adverse health effects, people continue to report feeling unwell because they live near wind turbines.
We’ve known for some time that exposure to negative messages about wind farms makes people more likely to report feeling sick after exposure to turbines. And new research, published by my colleagues and I this week in the journal Health Psychology, shows positive messages about wind farms may have the opposite effect – improve perceptions of health.
Speculation in the media and on the internet often attributes the symptoms to sub-audible sound produced by operating wind farms (infrasound). But the reality is that infrasound (sound below 16 hertz) is consistently present in the environment and is caused by wind, ocean waves and traffic. Importantly, research demonstrates there is nothing unusual about the levels of infrasound produced by wind farms. Continue reading