Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mey Akashah TweetChats on climate change and health

Climate change and human health

Climate change and health
Image from Climate Change
Emergency Medical
Global climate change is often viewed solely as an environmental concern - a phenomenon caused by environmental changes that has environmental impacts. Rising sea levels and more frequent and intense storms and droughts immediately spring to mind when climate change is mentioned, but environmental impacts are only one part of the story. The human impacts of climate change are many and varied, but are often conveyed in abstract terms or as problems that affect "other" people. Why does this matter? Because urgent action is required to mitigate the pace of climate change, as well as to adapt to the "new normal." Action will only be taken when it is demanded. The impacts of climate change on health could serve as a lightning rod to motivate such action by highlighting and personalizing the risks of inaction to all, regardless of which country you call home.

Join Mey for a TweetChat on climate change and human health

Want to know more about how climate change affects human health? Join Mey for a TweetChat on the health impacts of climate change hosted by HCHLITSS at 8pm EST, Thursday September 13. You can also follow Mey on Wordpress and Twitter, or leave a comment below to share your thoughts on how climate change will affect health in the future.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Climate Change and Humanitarian Crises

The Fight and Flight of Environmental Change

In 2010 I wrote an article for Environment Magazine, The Fight and Flight of Environmental Change, that examined how environmental change can lead to displacement, human rights concerns, and war and conflict. Environmental change, including climate change, can both create new vulnerabilities and exacerbate those that already exist. For those already living on the margins, this additional stress may overwhelm individual, familial, and social resilience. People and populations may be forced to migrate to unfamiliar parts of their own country or become internally displaced, migrate internationally or become "environmental refugees," or try to find a way to meet their needs in the "new normal." In desperation, some may turn to maladaptive coping strategies like crime, violence, or armed conflict to provide for themselves and their families.

Mey Akashah, The Fight and Flight of Environmental Change.

New Feinstein International Center Report:
Climate Change as a Driver of Humanitarian Crises and Response 

Last week, the Feinstein Center for International Studies at Tufts University released a new report on Climate Change as a Driver of Humanitarian Crises and Response that explores many of the themes highlighted in my 2010 article:

"This paper explores the relationships between climate change, humanitarian crises and humanitarian response through a review of published and grey literature.  We examine the historical evidence for associations between climate change and humanitarian crises, and move on to a brief review of present humanitarian crises directly attributable to disasters triggered by climatological events.  Finally, we look at three interrelated aspects of future trends: changing weather patterns, increasing societal vulnerabilities, and shifting demographics. We conclude with some thoughts on the policy and practical implications for the aid community, academia, and donor and crisis-affected states, emphasizing the need to shift from a mindset in which crisis response is exceptional and interventionist to one in which managing crises is seen as the norm, part of sovereignty and internalized within more formal international and national arrangements."
- Report webpage summary
Climate Change as a Driver of Humanitarian Crises and Response

More soon on my Wordpress site

I will be writing more on the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on health, livelihoods, and humanitarian crises on my Wordpress site in the coming days, as well as the topics explored by the Feinstein International Center report. In the mean time, I wanted to make sure that the report was on the radar of anyone interested in the relationship between climate change and humanitarian crises and its impact on the humanitarian system. Please do pass it on if you know somebody who should read it.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Mey Akashah's Harvard thesis online

Mey Akashah's Harvard thesis front page

Mey Akashah's Harvard thesis online at Slideshare and Wordpress

Mey Akashah's Harvard School of Public Health doctoral dissertation, Fish Consumption, Mercury Intake, and the Associated Risks to the Kuwaiti Population, can now be found online at Mey's Slideshare page and her Wordpress blog.

Topic and background

Mey's dissertation addresses health risks factors associated with mercury intake as a consequence of fish consumption among the Kuwaiti population.  Mercury is neurotoxic, and some studies have shown that it may also contribute to cardiovascular disease (Harada 1995; Grandjean 1998). As Kuwaitis eat more fish than many other nationalities, it is important to better understand how much fish Kuwaitis consume, how much mercury is in the fish being eaten, and the physiological factors affecting how much mercury is absorbed into the body. The three papers in the dissertation address each of these areas, individually.


The first paper, “Fish Consumption among Kuwaiti Nationals,” addresses the consumption patterns of the Kuwait population, including the types of fish eaten, how frequently they are consumed, and average consumption among various age, sex, and ethnic groups. “Human Health Risks from Mercury in Fish” investigates the potential health effects to the Kuwaiti population as a result of current fish consumption patterns. The third paper, “Fish Consumption as a Determinant of Hair Mercury Levels among Kuwaiti Nationals,” relates this consumption to overall body burden of mercury, allowing a better understanding of the relationship between intake of fish and mercury levels found in hair samples.


It is hoped that the dissertation's three studies will inform future work in the areas of risk reduction and risk management, so that more accurate risk assessments may be undertaken in the future. The research may also be used to create fish consumption advisories for the Kuwaiti population and other countries in the region.

Access, download, and share

To access or download a pdf copy of Mey Akashah's Harvard School of Public Health doctoral thesis, please visit Mey at Slideshare or Mey at Wordpress - and please share and/or like the page if you believe it is important and useful!

- Mey Akashah
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

My blog at Wordpress

Dear all,

Just a quick post to let you know that I have also created a blog at Wordpress, which also has posts about environmental health, biodiversity, human rights, and humanitarian affairs. Some posts might appear on both, while some may only appear on Wordpress or Blogspot. If there is content on one, but you think should also be included on the other, please let me know and I will cross-post.

You can also follow me on Slideshare or Academia, or follow the External Sites link above to find my other profiles and pages. 

- Mey Akashah

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Welcome to my new blog (also found here), where you will find thoughts and analysis of major environmental, social, and political trends affecting our futures and those of the voiceless billions around the world. I’ll do my best to keep it fresh and new, as well as invite others to collaborate on posts, to implement my belief that intractable problems can only be solved with creative, collaborative, and bold new ideas. I would also love to hear yours.

Welcome again, and looking forward to learning your thoughts and perspectives as I share mine,