I read with interest Paul Linzmeyer’s recent article on the Green Page about the effects of climate change on human health and was impressed with the wide scope of climate-related health impacts discussed in this small feature. He brought forth very clearly the reality that efforts toward reducing greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions is not just to “save the planet” but to save the lives of human beings.
As Paul stated, every choice we make – in our homes, our food, our travel and our purchase – affects ourselves and our entire global community. This is not hyperbole. For example: purchasing foods from thousands of miles away increases transportation and therefore carbon emissions, which in turn affects our atmosphere, which in turn affects the growing seasons (and drought and other extreme weather conditions), which in turn affects the quality and quantity of our food, which in turn affects our health…an unbroken circle. The most nutritional food is fresh and organic, and growers across the nation are engineering means of producing healthy, fresh, organic foods with a 500-mile distribution range by growing year round in enclosed vertical farms.
Throwaway consumer purchasing results in unneeded manufacturing power – mostly coal-generated. This impacts the quality of our air and leads to increased asthma and other pulmonary conditions, as Paul mentioned. Mercury emissions from these power plants also impacts the quality of our water, and increased air temperature is leading increased water temperature, which impacts the life forms in that water. Cod, for instance, is at risk due to warming waters in the Atlantic, and we have dead zones in waters throughout the world where nothing can now grow.
Paul’s article is worth saving, re-reading (available online at doorcountypulse.com) and sharing. It is important for all people to become informed of the far-reaching impacts of our choices on our own health and the health of others.
According to recent reports, the U.S. medical industry is in the beginning phases of transitioning from a fee-for-service structure to a wellness structure in keeping with many other countries in the rest of the developed world. That change will refocus the contribution toward climate change reduction by medical leaders. In the meantime, letters and phone calls to government representatives and your own health care professionals about carbon reduction will help persuade them that the health of their constituents is paramount and encourage them to take action toward that end.
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.