Below the Fold - the wrong kind of influencing

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Happy Friday, Below the Fold!
The world is a troubled place and we all feel it. Everything seems to be on the brink from political turmoil to ecological disaster. While this week’s issue speaks to a few such frustrations in the world, we encourage everyone to take a moment for themselves and find where they can help and where it’s okay to take a beat for yourself.

Latest Toll of Russia’s War: 700 dolphins
Thu Nov 3

War reports often focus on the destruction of cities and lives, but they seem to miss one important yet voiceless victim: our wildlife. In a time of climate change and deteriorating ecosystems, we cannot afford to lose much, but a recent count shows that 700 dolphins have died in the Black Sea due to military activity in those waters.

Bombs and mines have hit dolphins and are so noisy that they can’t navigate or communicate using sound as they normally do. As a result, the dolphins become disorientated and end up starving, wandering into unfamiliar territory and getting caught in fishermen’s nets, or stranded ashore where some have been found with burn marks. Experts are worried the populations won’t rebound in the area, especially as certain coastal areas near Ukraine are vital to some dolphins and porpoises.

And this is a pattern seen long before this Russian war. In the past, wars have resulted in:
  • Steep declines in wild animal populations from being hunted to feed armies or to finance war operations.
  • Asian elephants killed for being suspected supply carriers
  • Wildlife injury and death from crossfire of guns or landmines and from exposure to chemicals
  • Disruption of natural habitats as refugees try to escape conflict zones
  • Entire zoos left to die in their cages as people flee the conflict zones
On the other hand, there have also been moments of greater conservation due to war. For example, there was an increase in elephant populations in Zimbabwe as poachers avoided the area due to the civil war. Similarly, the lack of human activity In the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea has allowed for growth of wildlife.

With 80% of wars occurring directly in biodiversity hotspots, the question of conservation is heavily dependent on social and political contexts. Activists recognize that world peace is unlikely and focus efforts on awareness (gaining global attention can funnel resources towards protection), monitoring, and rebuilding post conflict. At the very least, it's clear that global conservation efforts can only be successful if they include war-torn regions.

Does Intermittent Fasting Affect Female Reproductive Hormones?

In response to critics’ concerns over the potential negative impact on female reproductive hormones, a study was conducted on a small group of pre- and post-menopausal obese women. It measured their hormone levels before and after an 8-week fasting program in which participants did not eat (but could drink water or energy-free drinks) except within a specified four or six hour window. While DHEA levels did drop, no other hormone was negatively impacted. Given that the fasting resulted in a 3% to 4% weight loss, the 14% drop in DHEA levels isn’t an unreasonable risk, especially as there are proven fertility benefits of lower body mass. Furthermore, the dropped DHEA levels were still within normal range. (DHEA is a hormone prescribed to improve ovarian function and egg quality but is also linked to breast cancer.)

>> Read More

Syria: Influencers Welcomed, Journalists Persecuted

Since the revolution began a decade ago, 711 journalists have been murdered. Just this past year, there have been four journalists taken hostages, ten imprisoned, and at least one murder. But influencers (sometimes calling themselves “independent journalists” while clearly not) are being granted visas and taken on regime-chaperoned city tours if they promote an image of a safe and stable Syria. Some worry that this will lead countries to send refugees back to a bad situation. Currently, the only news outlets in the country are closely tied to the government, and the only journalists doing well are mouthpieces of the government. Foreign mouthpieces are also government approved and some are American-based, far-left websites such as The Grayzone, which is known for misleading reporting and sympathetic coverage of authoritarian regimes.

>> Read More

🎬 Action of the Week

Interested in helping to protect wildlife currently at risk in Ukraine? Learn more and support through the Ukrainian Nature Conservation Group.
Dolphins Killed In Russia’s War
8 days old | 4 minutes long
Impact of War on Wildlife
3 years old | 4 minutes long
Dolphin’s Ecological Importance
2 minutes long
Warfare in Biodiversity Hotspots
13 years old | 15 minutes long
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    ' | | '
   |   _ |
   |  (O)  |

        Peter Punk

Oh this? It’s a new type of authoritarian-approved camera that only records approved influencers.

Art Credit:
Peter Punk,
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