Asthma and Air pollution – justice for Ella Kissi-Debrah

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I feel really honoured as well as deeply sadden to have been asked to help raise awareness of this particular issue. Some of you may have seen in the papers last week the news that the death of a nine year old girl could be linked to illegal levels of air pollution.

The guardian reported that legal documents have revealed that the spikes in air pollution in London could have been linked to Ella Kissi-Debrah’s death in 2013.

Asthma and Air Pollution

Ella’s family have set up a foundation, the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, as a way to remember her life and raise awareness about the dangers of Asthma and dangers of air pollution.

Her mother, my former school teacher and old friend was able to share some facts with me about Asthma and Ella’s condition.

  • In the UK, asthma is the number one childhood illness.
  • Currently in the UK three people die from asthma every day and at least two of those deaths are avoidable.
  • In London the picture is increasingly worrying not only does the capital record high levels of air pollution but 872 schools are in areas which breach the EU recommended levels.
  • Asthma in London continues to increase, in a class of 30 at least 3-4 children will have a diagnosis of asthma. The number of asthma deaths every year amongst children aged between 1 to 17 years in London is between 8-12 children.

Part of the difficulty with Ella’s asthma was it was increasingly difficult to control. Some of her known allergies were tree pollen, grass pollen and hayfever but others were Airborne and are still unknown.

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Various inhalers and steroids was unable to control Ella’s life threatening attacks, they even occurred in her sleep. Ella would say “Mummy, we don’t sleep anymore.”  After being woken by another severe attack. Living with severe asthma was incredibly stressful and very frightening at times.  Ella eventually lost her battle with asthma on 15 February 2013. She was 9.

The foundation campaigns for Clean Air in London and for better diagnosis and treatment of asthma and other respiratory illnesses and have been calling for an inquest to investigate whether Ella’s death was caused by air pollution.

Levels of Air Pollution have reached dangerous levels

Air pollution, labelled a health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), leads to the premature deaths of at least 40,000 people a year in the UK alone. It is known to be a major risk factor for childhood asthma.

The UN agency has previously warned that tiny particulates from cars, power plants and other sources are killing 3 million people worldwide each year. China is the world’s deadliest country for outdoor air pollution, according to analysis by the WHO.

For the first time the WHO has broken down that figure to a country-by-country level. It reveals that of the worst three nations, more than 1 million people died from dirty air in China in 2012, at least 600,000 in India and more than 140,000 in Russia.

At 25th out of 184 countries with data, the UK ranks worse than France, with 16,355 deaths in 2012 versus 10,954, but not as poorly as Germany at 26,160, which has more industry and 16 million more people. Australia had 94 deaths and 38,043 died in the US that year from particulate pollution.

London has the worst air quality of any city in the UK. In 2017, 95 per cent of Londoners lived in areas which exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) standards by 50 per cent.

We need your support

Please support us in getting a fair inquest into the cause of Ella’s death. Last week the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan came out in support of the inquest writing to attorney general to also back the inquest.

The petition has reached over 96,000 signatures but we still need more. The link to the petition is https://chn.ge/2O4Ltl3.

This isn’t just about justice of Ella but for all of those suffering with respiratory diseases and illnesses in air quality that is severely below standards. We need change and we need it now.

 

It’s Earth Overshoot Day

1st August 2018 is Earth Overshoot Day―this is the earliest date yet since the world went into ecological overshoot in the 1970s.

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So what is Earth Overshoot Day?
This is the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. We are using 1.7 Earths. How? By using more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb.

If everyone committed to #MoveTheDate 5 days each year, we could get out of global overshoot by 2050. Take your first step today! And use the hashtag to spread the word.

How many earths do we need?
If everyone lived like the average American, we would need 5 Earths. The average Russian, 3.3 Earths. And the average Brazilian, 1.8 Earths.

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It would take 8.5 South Koreas to support South Koreans’ Ecological Footprint. It would take us in the UK,  4 times our nation to meet the demand for natural resources of UK residents. How does your country stack up?

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Here’s how Earth Overshoot Day has changed over the last 50 years. A true apples-to-apples comparison of Earth Overshoot Days can only be made using the same edition of the National Footprint Accounts. The precise Earth Overshoot Day date for each year is less significant than the sheer magnitude of ecological overshoot.

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What can we do? 

  • If we reduce driving by 50% around the world and assume one-third of car miles are replaced by public transportation and the rest by biking and walking, Earth Overshoot Day would move back 12 days.
  • Mingle with the carpooling folks, or even the cyclists or public transit riders who you meet on the way to or from work every day.
  • If we reduced global meat consumption by 50% and replaced these calories with a vegetarian diet, we would move the date of Overshoot Day 5 days
  • If we cut food waste in half worldwide, we would move the date of Overshoot Day 11 days.
  • Clothing makes up 3% of the global Ecological Footprint. You can move the date by being intentional about clothing purchases and streamlining your wardrobe.

Thank you  http://www.overshootday.org please visit their website to find out more.

 

 

Times Up

‘She was powerful, not because she wasn’t scared but because she went on so strongly, despite the fear.’

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Many of you will have seen i’m raising much needed funds for 3 great causes. One of these is the Times Up UK Justice and Equality campaign.

This is a cause very close to my heart. I am so proud of all the women that have come forward and shared their pain so boldly. Thank you. Your bravery has given something which was not widely talked about, a platform. A platform so we can start to put an end to the suffering that goes on behind closed doors. The incidents which we are made to feel responsible for because of the way we walk, dress, talk, behave, our mere existence damnit!

We have been conditioned to ignore the actions of others which impact us so deeply but are brushed off as insignificant, because ‘you are an attractive woman, what did you expect?’ You amazing women have given strength to us all over the world, that have for long been silenced, and hope to all others that they will never be silenced.

I also stand with those that may be like myself and choose not to share our #metoo . Not because of shame or fear but because we have found peace in some other way, but still want to stand with all the women out there, that do.

Remember, no one has rights over your body not in the work place not anywhere. Harassment is not only physical, if it makes you feel uncomfortable it’s not right. No matter what situation. You have a right to say no and demand it stop!

It doesn’t only happen to women we can all be subject to it and it is our responsibility as a collective to be respectful to one another.

The Times Up campaign rooted from Hollywood and has grabbed world-wide attention since. The UK has also set up a campaign which I am fundraising for. You can donate via the link.

We come in peace but we mean business. And to those that would dare try and silence us we offer you two words #timesup ~ @janellemonae

As always thanks for reading 🖤

 

Mermaids have their say on the need to protect their homes!

As a child I grew up watching Disney with my favourite princess being Ariel from the ‘The Little Mermaid’. The story is as magical as it gets, but I like to think that mermaids (in some form or another!).

Back in the summer of 2016 I had the good fortune of participating in campaign aimed at raising awareness about ocean conservation. And what did this involve? (see below)

7F2A3917Me dressed up as a mermaid for Project Mermaids (Sept 2016).

Project Mermaids, is a ‘photographical art project’, the project’s premise is transforming people into mermaids / Mermen and taking beautiful photographs all over the world in a bid to spread the message of the need to protect our oceans.

‘The goal of Project Mermaids is to bring awareness to how precious the ocean and beaches are and to keep this beautiful environment healthy and clean.’

The stunning project was co-founded by ocean conservationist and underwater photographer, Chiara Salomoni, and fashion photographer, Angelina Venturella who are based in California.

IMG_4574Me with the Project mermaids team Angelina Venturella (left) and Sophie Rose (right)

The shoots last about an hour or so, either underwater or on the land, but the tails weigh about 30lbs (13 kilograms) so no one can last much longer than about that in the shoot!

7F2A4022Me struggling with the 30lbs tail!

Mermaids are styled for around 30 mins and then given up to an hour for the photoshoot. Each participant is given 100 images to keep and one fully retouched image. 50% of the proceeds are donated to the save our beach foundation.

It was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had bringing my childhood fantasy and a cause I am passionate about together. Do check out the website if you want to get involved. The team is due back in London later this summer.

The team hope to continue to ‘use the imagery to create awareness of our world’s most precious gift, the oceans, and to inspire people to protect them.’

Oceans have many uses – offshore wind is one of them

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This week I’ve been at the Global Offshore Wind Conference 2018 in Manchester. For those of you that don’t know me I have been working in the sustainable energy sector for some time now, with my specialism being the deployment of renewable energy.

Our oceans have many uses! In a bid to reduce our carbon emissions the UK has a commitment to reduce producing electricity from fossil fuels and increase generation from cleaner sources and technologies. Offshore wind technology is one of these.

For those of you outside of the sector offshore wind is a renewable energy source. Offshore wind farms are constructed in the ocean to generate electricity with wind.

Basically when wind blows past a turbine, the blades of the turbine capture the energy and rotate. This rotation triggers an internal shaft to spin, causing the internal generator to produce electricity. This is then transported to the grid via some very clever cable technology (again pioneered from the UK) and then to our homes.

In the UK the Crown Estate handle the allocation of seabed’s to developers of the offshore wind farm projects. Before being consented the project developers are required to prove as a part of the planning application process that the project is safe for the environment, for example projects have been denied due to the potential impact on sea-life and birds.

As well as being bankable, the projects also have to bring broader benefits to the communities surrounding the developments i.e. supply chain development and the creation of jobs.

Cost reduction is also key globally we have seen the costs of offshore wind come down and in the UK we have already surpassed our aspiration to reach £100 per MWh by 2020. In fact last year we smashed this target with projects coming in at £57.50 per MWh. Costs coming down mean less impact on our energy bills making this a truly sustainable energy source.

As I mentioned the UK being the only country with a legally binding carbon reduction target (80% by 2050 compared with levels in 1990), brings with it an equally ambitious (attainable) renewables target. And the deployment of offshore wind is a big part of helping us meet these targets.

At present the UK leads globally with the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world. Our expertise is sought by other markets who are starting to enter the market. This is helped us export to other nations and has also attracted much needed investment into the UK.

image1 (2)Picture of me at the Department of International Trade’s Green is Great Britain backdrop at the GOW event in Manchester 2018.

As report earlier this week the UK still holds the top spot globally with around a total of 35GW of capacity either in operation, development or planning. The aim for the industry now is to deliver 30GW of operational capacity by 2030, providing enough power to meet demands from 30% of British homes.

As ever donation to my three great causes welcome via the link!

 

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! I’m a little nervous about this as I have never written a blog post before. Saying that I have never entered a beauty pageant before either. As the saying goes there is a first time for everything.

I’m Amisha, a finalist in Miss Earth UK 2018. The pageant is aimed at helping to raise awareness of environmental conservation. Further details can be found via the link
https://www.missearth.co.uk/finalists

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As an environmental professional for over 10 years now I have worked to strengthen policy incentives towards conservation and protecting our planet as a lobbyist and most recently promoting the deployment of clean energy technologies in the UK and Overseas.

For a change I thought it would be fun and empowering to participate in this rather unconventional (but brings together my love for fashion and beauty with the environment) yet immensely worthy way to champion the environment and promote three causes that are close to my heart.

  1. The Ocean Clean Up
  2. Cancer Research UK
  3. Times Up UK Justice and Equality Movement

Over the next couple of months I’ll be posting news about my motivation for supporting my chosen causes, as well as important facts about environmental conservation and updates on preparation for the pageant.

Oh and you can donate to the cause by clicking here!

Thanks for visiting and pleased stay tuned!

Amisha x

‘The ocean is a central image. It is the symbolism of a great journey.’ Enya

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