World News: There are other stories

The situation in Ukraine has grabbed the attention of the Mainstream and Social Media around the world in 2022. However, there are other stories.

The recent claim that Ukraine is winning the media war against Russia is absurd, the more so because Russian media outlets have been censored in a fascist policy to present only one side of the story, and by social media outlets which suppress any story which does not follow the “line”. I recently conducted an experiment on Facebook and requested two people to place the same text with one difference: one used the word “Russia”, the other used “Ukraine”. Guess which account was blocked arbitrarily and guess which one remained untouched? Freedom of expression. My take is that if one side is being censored out then I will not enter a stupid little game when one side has all 16 pieces and the other has none. Nobody seemed to care when Russian speaking Ukrainians were being shelled and killed for eight years before this started, so excuse me for saying I do not feel like writing about this story. Go find your own sources and find out what is going on and why this started. The real reasons. Try starting with Biden + energy + Ukraine + transgenic crops.

So if people wish to believe all they read and swallow it hook, line and sinker...

But there are other stories. I am choosing ten at random. The world does not center around Ukraine, however upsetting it is to see families being torn apart, whoever they are. On all sides.

1. Somalia. Unprecedented suffering and child deaths

As we speak, thousands of small boys and girls are dying, starving to death because the last five rainfall seasons have failed to produce enough water to irrigate the land, agriculture has failed and along with the drought comes severe malnutrition. And death. One child per minute is being admitted to a healthcare facility suffering from severe malnutrition. This, after the mother has walked with the child on her back for days, fighting the extreme weather conditions. Half the population is affected by drought, meaning eight million people.

2. Gender inequality: a killer

Women and children are suffering the impact of global environmental threats and Covid-19 more than men, according to the latest UN Report Protect the Promise, which indicates that in the last two years, all the measures of childhood and women’s wellbeing have seen a catastrophic decrease. The data presented in this report shows a regression in indicators such as food insecurity, hunger, child marriage, risks from partner violence, adolescent depression and anxiety.

The number of children who are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated has risen by six million, from 19 to 25 million, millions of children did not have any schooling during the pandemic – in 104 countries 80% of children experienced learning loss.

“At the core of our unkept promise is the failure to address the gaping inequities at the root of global crises, from the COVID-19 pandemic to conflicts and the climate emergency. The report describes the impacts of these crises on women, children and adolescents, from maternal mortality to education losses to severe malnutrition,” said Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General.

The statistics of inequality

Here are the statistics from 2020. The Report claims they are today even worse: Life expectancy at birth in a low-income country: 63 compared with 80 in a high-income country: Little or no change in recent years; 5 million children die from preventable health conditions; 45 million children suffer from malnutrition, nearly 150 million children have stunted growth as a result of poor nutrition.

3. 500 million people at risk through lack of exercise

The UNO warns that half a billion people, or 500 million, will develop Non-Communicable Diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart conditions and obesity, with the correlated health risks, by 2030 through insufficient physical activity.

Body Mass Index

Calculating Body Mass Index or BMI is quick and easy: kg./m2 or kilograms divided by height in metres squared...and these days an online calculator does the trick in metric or imperial scales at the click of a button. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Basically, if you consume more calories than you burn, you gain or retain weight. Walking for 35 minutes a day is an activity which is recommendable for most age groups. Accompanied by a diet rich in fruit and vegetables with less red meat and fried foods and carbonated drinks is a good place to start.

4. Covid

It is not over yet and the false sense of security provided by three vaccinations is seeing people relaxing their defences and lowering their guard. Covid is coming back and some cases reported are serious, so as people stay inside more (in Autumn in the northern hemisphere) cases will rise. Back to mask-wearing in public places and to hand sanitising and social distancing. It is common sense and it saves lives.

5. UN’s Goal of the month: Zero hunger

Hunger is rising. We are not on track to reach Zero Hunger by 2030. 

Despite the fact that farmers and fishermen produce more than enough food to feed everyone on this planet, over 800 million people are hungry. The drivers are climate change, bad agricultural practices and conflict. 14 million children around the world suffer from severe acute malnutrition and 75 per cent of these do not have access to treatment.

6. Science, technology and innovation for transforming our agrifood systems

The Food and Agriculture Organization Science and Innovation Forum, currently taking place (October 17 to 21), is putting Science and Technology in focus as a means to transform agrifood systems to ensure better production and better nutrition. Hopefully the use of plastics will be reduced, since microplastic particles are polluting not only the sea but also agricultural lands.

7.  Yemen – where children are robbed of their futures

Conflict. 23 million people in need of humanitarian assistance including 13 million children. Where is this story? Since March 2015, Yemen has lived a slide towards Hell. Half the healthcare facilities are working, equipment is lacking, health workers are not paid adequately. Over 10,200 children have been killed or injured since the conflict flared up seven and a half years ago, thousands of children have been forced to join the warring parties, 2 million children are internally displaced, two million children do not go to school and schools and hospitals are damaged. The hunger crisis has deepened and now nearly 18 million people need food assistance.

8. Mental health and the young

Gaps in funding have placed enormous stress on healthcare systems and one gaping hole is the issue of mental health care for the young. Poor mental health care leads to suicide and is a leading cause of death among older adolescents. Half of mental health conditions begin by the age of 14, most are undetected and untreated. Stress and fear and disruption caused by Covid-19 has compounded the problem.

Once again I stress the need for regular analysis sessions from the age of three (not weekly and not intrusively) to detect mental health issues and treat them before they develop into crises or anti-social behaviour with tragic consequences. If there is money for submarines...

9. Wildlife reduced 70% in 50 years

Living Planet 2022 spells out a sickening statistic, namely that since 1970, wildlife populations have decreased by 69 per cent. This crisis is caused by unsustainable use of resources, destruction of habitat and pollution. When we have run out of wild animals to kill, namely the remaining 30 per cent, guess who is next on the list?

10. Climate Change visible from space

Thomas Pesquet is a French astronaut who spent six months on the International Space Station in 2021. He speaks of our beautiful blue home but also of the visible marks of climate change, the most noteworthy being the melting glaciers.

Until scientists can agree on exactly what is happening and why, it will be difficult to formulate a sustainable and far-reaching policy. The 1.5 per cent benchmark, to keep global warming below 1.5 per cent throughout the 21st century, is a consensus figure but not necessarily a universally accepted scientific one. True, in the past oceans rose and fell – the first inhabitants of what is now the United Kingdom walked across the land bridge where today stands The Netherlands – and at one time the sea covered the entire South of England. It is true also that temperatures rise and fall in a more or less constant curve as discovered by Professor Milutin Milankovic (Serbia). Yet who can explain the exponential and growing spike in global temperatures after the Industrial Revolution?

Along with climate change comes the issue of pollution (from the bottom of the sea into space) and the disappearing water resources. See how many rivers in your capital city or region have dried up in the last few centuries, see how much the major rivers have shrunk, and then start worrying. Our planet is drying up.

So the world does not revolve around Ukraine, however upsetting it is to see families in grief, on all sides.

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be contacted at [email protected]

Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey