Save Our Planet, Save Our Health

EarthzineHealth, In-Depth, OpEd, Original, Sections, Sustainability

Image of air pollution in New York CityThere is a definite cause-effect relationship between the environment and human health, one of direct dependency. To put it in simple terms, the healthier the Earth is, the healthier its inhabitants. It’s something that is pretty obvious if only we stop to think about it, but since most of us are busy with our own lives, we fail to see how the two are interlinked. Human beings and all other living forms on Earth are adversely affected by:

‰Û¢ Air pollution: We only have to walk on the sidewalk of a busy New York street to see how much pollution our cars cause. It’s not just the exhaust from motor vehicles, it’s also the smoke that belches out from the innards of industries, mostly from hazardous manufacturing facilities like coal factories. All this serves to make our planet one polluted mess. We are exposed to chemical residues that are toxic and cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses, allergies, and skin disease. And our children suffer from congenital problems because we have exposed them to harmful chemicals when they were but fetuses in the womb. There seems to be no limit to the amount of pollutants we send into the air, so this situation is set to continue for an indefinite period of time.

‰Û¢ Water pollution: Water is our most precious resource, one without which we would all die. But we end up polluting our natural water resources like lakes, streams and rivers with the effluents that result from manufacturing and other industries. We cut down trees en masse and decrease rainfall. We wipe out entire species by destroying their natural habitat. And we suffer as a result of our actions ‰ÛÒ we are plagued by diseases that arise from drinking contaminated water, like cholera, dysentery and typhoid.Image of homeless people on street in front of a church

‰Û¢ Unsanitary conditions: When nature is destroyed indiscriminately, there is less rainfall and more poverty and squalor. Most people who are impoverished live in pathetic and unsanitary conditions are susceptible to diseases and chronic conditions.

Besides this, the high level of pollution in the environment puts us at risk for cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other terminal diseases. We also risk becoming infertile with environmental factors leading to the decrease of sperm counts in men and the hastening of the onset of puberty in young girls. And unless we stop polluting the Earth and start to nurture it again, we are in danger of losing not just our health, but also the very planet we live on.

This guest opinion article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of online engineering degrees. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: