World faces “deathly silence” of nature as wildlife disappears, warn experts
As technology develops, sound has become an increasingly important way of measuring the health and biodiversity of ecosystems: our forests, soils and oceans all produce their own acoustic signatures. Scientists who use ecoacoustics to measure habitats and species say that quiet is falling across thousands of habitats, as the planet witnesses extraordinary losses in the density and variety of species. Disappearing or losing volume are many familiar sounds: the morning calls of birds, rustle of mammals through undergrowth and summer hum of insects–The Guardian, April 16, 2024

Biodiversity is nature’s “magic” that improves people’s’ mental health
A new study from King’s College London finds that time spent in natural spaces with more biodiversity and natural features (trees, birds, plants and waterways) is healing “magic” and is associated with greater improvements in mental wellbeing than time spent in outdoor spaces with less natural diversity. The study also found that these benefits can last as long as eight hours–Environmental Health Sciences, April 17, 2024

Global survey finds mental wellbeing remains at its post-pandemic lows
The Global Mind Project’s The Mental State of the World in 2023 was just released, surveying 500,000 people across 71 countries. Key findings: mental wellbeing remains at its post-pandemic low with no sign of movement towards pre-pandemic levels. Younger generations, particularly those under age 35, saw the steepest declines in mental wellbeing during the pandemic, while those over 65 stayed steady. Several African and Latin American countries topped the country rankings for strong mental wellbeing, while wealthier countries such as the UK and Australia are towards the bottom. This research finds a correlation between poor mental wellbeing and younger age of first smartphone ownership, ultra-processed food consumption, and diminished family relationships–all more prevalent in wealthier countriesMental State of the World Report, March 2024

More than a billion people worldwide are now obese, WHO study finds
A new study from the World Health Organization, based on data from more than 220 million people in 190+ countries, finds that obesity is so widespread it has become more common than being underweight in most nations, including many low- and middle-income countries that have previously struggled with undernourishment. While obesity rates are plateauing in many wealthier countries, they’re rising rapidly elsewhere, leading the WHO to note: “In the past, we have been thinking of obesity as a problem of the rich. Obesity is a problem of the world.” Obesity rates for adults more than doubled between 1990 and 2022, and more than quadrupled among children and adolescents aged 5-19–Reuters, March 1, 2024


A Striking Stat:
The last 10 years have been the 10 hottest on record. Most forecasters are anticipating that 2024 may break all records.

Source: NASA, cited in CNET’s Wild Weather Ahead: Here’s How 2024 Is Shaping Up

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