Episode 4 of The Upside aired on 24 May 2022 on 2BBB from 1400-1600. Stories of the week are below, along with a link to the show’s music playlist and a truly yummy baking recipe.
2:30pm Rat Eradication
Our first story this week concerns Lord Howe Island. Now, some of you listeners might know where this island is, or perhaps you have even been there – lucky!
But for those of you who, like myself, aren’t sure, Lord Howe Island is part of Australia and located in the Tasman Sea east of Port Macquarie, about 700km northeast of Sydney. Its official tourism website is simply named, “Just Paradise” and judging from the photos, they’re not wrong.
Especially given the latest good news reported by the Sydney Morning Herald: after a long struggle involving a lot of money and hard work, the island has successfully gotten rid of its rat and mouse infestation. According to The Guardian, back in 2019 there were around 1000 rodents for each of the island’s 350 residents. Ugh, those are not great numbers! But as a result of the Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Project, these introduced pests have finally been eradicated, and the results are surprising in some lovely ways.
With the absence of nasty rats and mice, the island’s flora and fauna are bouncing back. A resident is quoted as calling it “an ecological renaissance,” with never before seen plants and birds making an appearance.
The Lord Howe Island project is just one of over 2,000 “invasive species eradications” tracked on islands globally since 1950. It is thought that the rats were introduced by ship in 1918 and the mice even earlier. Regular surveillance and monitoring will ensure these pests stay off the island, allowing for the re-emergence of endangered species and greater, native biodiversity.
3pm Progress Against Diabetes
A recent study has shown that education and management programs for type 2 diabetes in 16 high income countries are successfully reducing mortality rates from the disease and its complications. These countries include Australia, Canada, the US, several European nations, Singapore, Taiwan, and Israel.
An earlier study published last year found that the type 2 diabetes incidence rate – or the number of new cases being reported – is also falling in high and middle income countries around the world.
And finally, a related success story concerning the fight against sugar. You may have heard that Mexico had introduced a tax on sugary sodas in 2013. In the decade leading up to that law being passed, soda was more accessible and affordable than clean drinking water in much of the country, and diabetes had become the leading cause of death.
Today rates of sugary drink consumption have fallen in Mexico, and scientists think this will have a positive impact on the high rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes; more time is needed to properly study that impact.
A new film called “El Susto” documents how Mexico was able to successfully fight the beverage industry lobbyists. The documentary offers a fascinating look at the grassroots and public health efforts to overcome this widespread problem.
3:30pm Good News re: Poverty
Our last story for the week concerns poverty rates around the world.
The World Bank reports that half a million Kenyans have been lifted out of poverty last year as the country rebounds from the COVID-19 crisis that itself led to over a million residents being pushed below the poverty line.
The World Bank also has good news for poverty in Vietnam: its Vietnam Poverty and Equity Assessment report, published in late April of this year, finds there’s been a significant reduction in poverty rates there over the last decade, seeing over 10 million Vietnamese pulled up into greater economic status.
Poverty also decreased in Bangladesh by 0.6 percent in 2021 alone. According to the World Bank’s Bangladesh Development Update, like Kenya, the country appears to be making an economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. And finally, Canada’s official statistics department reports that 1.4 million Canadians were lifted from poverty in 2020. According to the data from the 2020 Canadian Income Survey, Canada’s poverty rate declined by an amazing 3.9% from 2019 to 2020.
On the good taste tip, I made these whole-grain apple crumb muffins last week and thought they were, as advertised, a delicious treat that definitely didn’t taste healthy. Highly recommend!
This week’s show featured songs by fanclubwallet, Alison Goldfrapp, Suave Punk, and LEISURE. If you’d like to hear any of the songs again, check out the playlist on Spotify.