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Global Unity: Together in Saving Lives, Part 3 of a Multi-part Series, Oct. 3, 2009, Hong Kong

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“Now, when fossil fuels already cause problems, and also it’s exhausting, we begin to think: Do we have enough energy? The answer is yes, there is plenty. Actually, solar energy is plenty because every year, the Earth receives enough sunlight – ten times more than all possible energy resources existing on Earth. On an annual basis, solar energy can reach the Earth at least 15,000 times more than the energy consumed by the whole world. So there’s plenty. There are ways we can improve ourselves by using those energies with no pollution, also are efficient, and can maintain our living styles, or even improve our living styles, and at the same time improve the environment.”

Recently, the outbreak of H1N1 (swine flu) is becoming serious everywhere. What is the relationship between disease and climate change? Today, our second distinguished speaker, Professor Lin Ruey Shiung, will share his insight on “Climate Change: Catastrophic Public Health.” Professor Lin Ruey Shiung is a world-famous epidemiologist. He is currently an emeritus professor at the College of Public Health, National Taiwan University. Professor Lin is also an advisor at Min-Sheng Medical Care System, Taoyuan, Taiwan (Formosa, [member of ] board of editors of Annals of Epidemiology.

“Looking back over the past 50 to 60 years, there has been progress in public health, the promotion of environmental hygiene, and the widespread use of vaccines. Many infectious diseases, like smallpox and polio of the 1950s and so on, are nearly eradicated. It made people in the public health field very happy that infectious diseases were all going to be eradicated. All our major health concerns shifted to chronic diseases, like high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which are related to lifestyle and dietary habits. We feel lucky. However, in the past decade or so, we’ve witnessed outbreaks of avian flu, SARS, and swine flu this year. We feel that many emerging infectious diseases and some re-emerging infectious diseases are all occurring. As a result, these infectious diseases seem to have a great impact and influence on us humans.”

“There’s an ecological Environment between a pathogen and its host. Changes in the ecological Environment not only affect the host but also the pathogen. […] For individuals, it’s about how to enhance your own immunity – to enhance your own immunity, your resistance against diseases. For public health as a whole, it’s about how we should change the ecological environment to cut off the routes of transmission and entry for pathogens into the human body, and then about how to eliminate infectious agents. That’s what we in the public health field need to focus on. So, next, I’m going to talk about how these infectious diseases are transmitted to humans after all. […]”
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Part  3 / 28
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