Earth Day: Pollution as a Health Risk

One of my biggest pet peeves is all the focus on global warming (or, if you prefer the term “they” are trying to popularize: global climate change). At Logan’s Tax Day Tea Party, a guy holding a sign that read, “Global warming is a damned lie” only reinforced my irritation with our social, political and cultural obsession with this “inconvenient truth”. See, I hate the focus on climate change because it’s debatable. Even if we all agree that the climate is changing (and there are plenty of “folks” who don’t), debate rages over whether humans caused and whether we can do anything about it. This whole argument is a waste of time. Instead, we should be focusing on pollution.

Air pollution is a public health issue

When we think of global climate change, we think of it as an environmental issue. We also think of it as debatable “politics” rather than “science”. Which, honestly, makes quite a lot of policymakers and corporations happy. The real issue should be pollution. There is little doubt that much of our air is dirty. And there is little doubt that air pollution poses very real health risks. A host of health problems can be linked to air pollution. So aren’t we focusing more on this problem? Because then something would have to be done. As long as we the people are distracted by a “debate” about global warming, we won’t demand that our biggest polluters stop dirtying the air we breathe.

Focusing on, and attacking, air pollution as a public health issue would be a great thing for us to do for the planet. Everyone would benefit: Earth, us, plants and animals. Even corporations would benefit if they used pollution reduction as a chance to embrace innovation and find new solutions. So let’s quit the global warming talk, and start talking about our air and our health.

3 Responses to Earth Day: Pollution as a Health Risk

  1. I totally agree. Air pollution is getting really bad here in the Phoenix valley. You can just see the cloud of pollution hanging ove the city. I have started to think of whether it is bad enough that I should move away so that my boys can be raised in a place with cleaner air. It shouldn’t be like that. I shouldn’t have to move away because pollution is so bad. Debating and arguing is a waste of time, lets get something done about this health issue!!

  2. Totally agree with you. There’s enough to debate regarding carbon dioxide and climate change that focussing on that is a distraction to the main game.

    Here in Oz we’re (supposed to be) implementing an emissions trading scheme in 2010. I’m on a panel for CPA Australia to discuss impact of the CPRS on information systems; am concerned a lot of the debate will be around ‘it doesn’t exist’. Well, it may or it may not exist, but pricing in environmental impact into goods & services can’t be bad, surely?

    Well, I guess it can be bad if you make your own country so expensive that you stop making it here, and buy it from another country where they aren’t quite as good with pollution controls (and, realistically, Australia is very, very good and clean compared to just about every other country, but especially China 🙂 ).

    Thanks: Micheal Axelsen

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Miller Family and Micheal Axelsen. I think that you both make good points. I agree that it’s awful that our kids have to grow up with dirty air in some cases. And I do like the idea of pricing environmental impact into the price of goods. If the WTO would let us get away with it, we could impose a pollution tariff on goods imported from polluting countries…

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