When offering advice about priorities, career counselors advise that you first find something you like to do and learn to do it well. The money will take care of itself. The relationship between environment and health is much the same. First nurture and protect your environment. Your health will take care of itself. Case in point– a Town Council decides to pave over a large green area in a public park, for basketball courts and parking. Park goers complain of a spike in mosquito bites as run-off provides breeding ground for mosquito larvae. Two confirmed of West Nile virus infection are reported. This actually happened in a Texas town.
Environmental Risks and Effects
There is simply no escaping the cause and effect relationship between environment and human health. Human health is a barometer of the health of the planet. And a key tool in managing that delicate relationship is identifying the simultaneous stressors on health and the environment– carbon emissions, global temperature changes and human health for instance– and the practical assessment of costs and benefits in fashioning an effective, multi-disciplinary solution.
- Air Quality - Air is ubiquitous. That is to say, it is everywhere. So, too, are the pollutants that contaminate the air and their adverse health effects. We have all heard about the controversy over global warming. We have heard about the degredation of the ozone layer. We know that contaminants ranging from benzene emissions at gas stations, vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions to tobacco smoke and cow flatulence, which accounts for some twenty percent of airborne methane contamination, foul the outdoor air.
- Water Quality - Any form of life that we know of, or can even imagine, requires the presence of water. Yet to look at the dramatically declining quality of the water in the earth’s oceans and in our lakes, rivers, streams, aquifers and reservoirs makes one pause and wonder whether we really appreciate this most precious resource.
Pollution of our air and water with contaminants that are likely to have dangerous effects on the health of living things, plants and animals, is a global problem of major proportions. The contamination of our air and waters is responsible for endangering countless species of plants and animals in eco-systems around the globe as well as causing human illness, disease and death in staggering numbers. Before the introduction and widespread use of pesticides and thousands of other synthetic compounds developed for industrial uses and to make our lives more convenient, the chances of cancer occurring during an average life span was about one in fifty. Today the statistical probability is one in three.
We Are In Charge
We are very much the masters of the earth. Which is to say that because we control the health of the environment, we also control the health, and the future, of life on earth as it currently exists anyway? There is almost universal agreement that if we really mess up, cockroaches will emerge as the dominate species on the planet.
Until such as time as the levels of contamination in our air and water improve dramatically people will continue to suffer the personal and financial costs of ingesting polluted air and water. For more information on air and water quality regulation or assistance with understanding the risks and health issues related to exposure to contaminated air and water, contact your state or local bar association for referrals to attorneys qualified and experienced in environment and health litigation.