For years, political divisions over the environment have had the seemingly odd feature that Americans farthest from the open country have tended to be most supportive of protecting the environment, while those nearest to it — farmers and other rural residents — have been most resistant. This split has been … More >
The health of the American people has risen and fallen with fluctuations in the health of its poorest. Although more vulnerable in the past, the affluent have generally managed, major epidemics aside, to stay healthier than other Americans. Going back centuries, they regularly had nutritious food, usually clean water, decent … More >
I am continuing my weekly blog built around the large undergraduate class I co-teach on Poverty and Population. The philosophy of the class has been well summarized by the economist Partha Dasgupta in a recent Science article. He pointed out that, “Family planning is not subject to the play of … More >
In my role as Health Officer of San Francisco I received a flurry of concerned calls about a research study that claimed that the 2007 San Francisco ban on plastic bag resulted in an immediate, very large increase in foodborne illnesses and deaths. From their conclusions:
“We examine deaths and emergency … More >
If you ask young Americans how good their health is, they’ll tell you it’s great. The U.S. ranks #1 among 17 affluent, western countries in that regard, in the percentage of people aged 5 to 34 who rate their health as good. Unfortunately, when doctors look at people’s actual health, … More >
There’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on about the NAACP’s defense of over-sized soft-drinks. In an amicus brief challenging New York City’s new ban on the super-size, the NAACP (joined by the Hispanic Federation and an association of Korean grocers) takes a surprisingly libertarian stance against government regulation. It … More >
In 2009 UC Berkeley received a grant from the Macarthur Foundation to establish a professional Master degree in development practice (MDP) and after overcoming all of the bureaucratic hurdles, the first cohort joined campus this fall.
The MDP is, in essence, an MBA in sustainable development. It includes classes in development … More >
The graphic below, from the Economist, shows the amount of excess biomass due to obesity and overall population. As the chart shows, obese North Americans are carrying around an extra 263 million kilograms of fat — or just about 290 thousand tons of fat. That’s a daunting thought.
The Blue/Orange … More >
Governor Romney has endorsed an idea called regulatory budgeting, but it really means capping protection for public health. Romney’s position paper explains the concept as follows:
To force agencies to limit the costs they are imposing on society, and to provide the certainty that businesses crave, a system of regulatory caps … More >