I like to try and keep an open mind and therefore for me I try to ask Why, How, Where, When, What and Who to any bit of information that I receive. I think, and that is a dangerous concept in some circumstances, that we don’t teach children these fundamental questions. Our global education systems or alternative dogmas teach us at an early age to accept what we are told and fill us fall of facts that suit that nation or part of the world. We will only be free as individuals, and there are many who don’t want us to be, when every child can grow up and make a critical analysis of the information being presented to them. So for all you adults that read blogs here is a photo and a question to stir your grey cells. I took this photo on a sunny Saturday morning in October 2013 in Switzerland with autumn on its way and winter already pushing the temperature down. On a bush that had long since flowered there were many Red Admiral butterflies. On the Friday night it had rained and on the Saturday morning the sun came out and all the butterflies arrived to presumably feed and create 2014’s generation. So the question is “What” became of the butterflies and all those carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the water molecules amongst the other elements that make up these delicate but complex and beautiful creatures? What happens to the electrical energy that drives their tiny movements? Perhaps your explanation or belief is one of science or a more simplistic religious one in that God just puts the butterflies away for winter. For me the components of the butterflies were recycled and are now something else. They were something else before and will be something else again as we are ourselves will be. Some philosophical questions, some food for your thoughts. Copyright Paul Andrews and Caroline Schmutz, Junagarh Media, http://www.junagarhmedia.co.uk .
I’m now half way through the excellent Bad Pharma written by Ben Goldacre. A look at the dastardly corporations, institutions, regulators and people that leave doctors as much as patients in the dark about how good certain drugs are. Everyone remembers the terrible effects of thalidomide but does anybody remember about or know the name of the heart drug that instead of helping people probably killed 100,000. This book should be compulsive reading for GPs and anybody who ever has to take any medicine. Ben writes about how medicine and science should work and shows how it doesn’t. Buy it, be horrified and then ask questions. Pharmaceutical
My partner and I have been very lucky to have traveled a bit and one of the places we went to was the Pantanal in Brazil. This area is the world’s largest tropical wetland area. As such it is a very diverse place for fauna and flora. We took this beautiful photo on one of the days we were there. You can buy a copy of it from our website http://www.junagarhmedia.co.uk. Unfortunately, 99% of the Pantanal is privately owned for ranching and agriculture with perhaps 8 million or more cattle now eating it. Such heavy farming is bound to degrade this very special area and we hear so many verbal alarm bells from conservationists and scientists that most humans become immune, feel powerless or simply don’t care. There are some very simple numbers regarding us, humanity, and we can’t face them. So at the risk of repeating myself one more time. When we entered this inter-glacial (and exited what was probably NOT the last ice age) period some 15,000 years ago there were supposedly 5,000,000 of us. In terms of our “clean” water all of them would have been without it. Now there are more than 7,000,000,000 of us and still increasing and 780,000,000 of that very large number do not have access to “clean” water. As our politicians and nations kick the ball of climate change around while corporations and big business stop them aiming for a goal of living within the planet’s means there seems little hope of survival for beautiful places like the Pantanal. Think about the numbers, those 780,000,000 have every right to a decent life so how much concrete are we going to have to pour and steel are we going to have to make to give these people water, housing, roads, schools, hospitals and everything else that goes with our modern life. And it is not as if we have levelled off in our numbers for our global population is still increasing. I personally think it is time for a one child policy for the entire planet until we can get ourselves down to a reasonable number where we aren’t fouling our own nest. If we don’t then in a couple of generations those children will have as much chance of seeing some of the species of the Pantanal as they will of seeing a dinosaur.
I’m still working my way through Ben Goldacre’s excellent book on the pharmaceutical industry, “Bad Pharma” and apart from being so well researched and written it has some interesting comments. Ben relates the story of how in Thailand there are two million women and 800,000 children involved in the sex trade and how the Thai government decided in 2007 to copy a western company’s drug, Abbott’s, drug for the poor. Abbott’s retaliated by withdrawing 7 drugs in total from the Thai market. His point was that the sex industry serves many western men but his knock out comment for me was, “some of whom you may know personally”. Look around you and maybe you will see some of them.