Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
The US is losing fewer people to cancer, thanks to increases in screening for the disease, a decrease in smoking, and advances in treatments and vaccines.
The American Cancer Society reports cancer fatalities are down 33 percent from 1991, amounting to 3.8 million deaths avoided. There has also been a 65 percent drop in cervical cancer for young women due to vaccinations against the main cause: human papillomavirus. Though researchers estimate about two million people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2023, new treatments have made thyroid and prostate cancer and melanoma more beatable. The Biden administration has set a goal to halve the death rate from cancer by 2047.
The American Cancer Society also tracked racial disparities in surviving cancer: Black people in the US have a 12 percent higher risk of cancer being fatal when compared with white people. “We should not be complacent with these regular reminders of avoidable inequities. With deliberate and devoted effort, I believe we can eliminate these disparities and make even greater progress to end cancer,” one doctor said of the findings.
Visitors paying their respects at Père-Lachaise cemetery might encounter more than the famous graves of Sarah Bernhardt, Frédéric Chopin and Jim Morrison. Tawny owls, parakeets and foxes are among the wildlife now thriving at the famous Paris burial site after a successful decade-long greening effort.
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The English have a history of letting nature run free in church graveyards. But for many years, French caretakers kept flowers and birds out with pesticides. To increase open green space, Paris banned weed killers at Père-Lachaise. Today, locals looking for a bit of quiet nature flock there (alongside fans of yesterday’s buried icons).
The New York Times reports that the cemetery helps keep Paris cooler as climate change heats up the city’s summers, and that the eco-friendly graveyard trend is spreading across France.
In one Toronto community, retrofitting houses to decrease greenhouse gas emissions is gaining momentum. With buildings in Canada (including homes) accounting for about 18 percent of the country’s emissions, several residents in the city’s Pocket neighborhood have already achieved their dream of a zero-emissions house.
These homeowners aren’t just screwing in LED bulbs and caulking windows. Through the Pocket Change Project, experienced neighbors help other energy-conscious folks navigate the complicated world of renovation budgeting, recycled insulation, non-gas appliances, heating systems and solar panels. There are even lawn signs that proudly announce a household’s commitment to an energy retrofit. “When you get stuck, you’re not left alone and not feeling like you need to reach out to a professional and pay them,” an adviser said. “You can just turn to your neighbor and get some ideas and inspiration — or just that motivational nudge to keep going.”
Retrofitting to net zero requires an investment, so Pocket Change Project doesn’t help renters. But leaders believe their approach can be widely adopted and plan to reach out to homeowners in other Toronto neighborhoods this year.