The Expanding Field of Environmental Health Sciences

Environmental Health Sciences can be defined as the assessment, evaluation and control of chemical, physical and biological hazards in order to protect public health. The sanitary revolution began in the late 1800s when it was determined that basic environmental sanitation and hygiene were necessary to prevent communicable diseases. Sewage disposal and water quality control were necessary to prevent diseases like cholera.

Today environmental health science is concerned with more global issues due to expanding populations. Such issues are: the pandemic flu and West Nile Virus. Also, global warming and ozone depletion are probably the two major global environmental health issues today, but yet the most controversial. The environmental health scientist must be well prepared to evaluate such controversial issues, as the ramifications do affect public health.

With globalization and exponential advancement in technology, the environmental health scientist must have broad knowledge of health sciences, not just sewage disposal and water quality control. An advanced degree in public health (MPH) provides the necessary general background as well as specific environmental health science knowledge. Continue reading “The Expanding Field of Environmental Health Sciences”

Solving Environmental Health Problems

Global warming, unsafe drinking water, poor air quality inside and outside and contaminated food supplies, those are just some of the big environmental health problems we are currently experiencing. These problems may seem very overwhelming, it may seem inevitable and unavoidable, but it is us who have all the power to prevent or fix these problems. It is us who have all the power to decrease pollution, limit our exposure, and most importantly, strengthen our bodies and environmental systems in order to resist contamination.

Decrease pollution: Try to improve your quality of life by decreasing your contribution to pollution. A good example would be to turn down the thermostat during winter time; doing so will decrease carbon dioxide emissions and also improve the quality of indoor air.

Using HVAC (Heating Ventilating & Air Conditioning ) on high levels will redistribute contaminants inside a building. To avoid using HVACs try and wear appropriate clothing for the temperature. For example, instead of turning up the heater during cold days, just wear a thick jacket in order to save electricity; you won’t just save electricity, but your body’s immune system will be strengthened and it will be trained to live in rhythm with nature.

Safe pesticides and cleaners: While it is recommended to avoid pesticides completely, if you should use them, use biodegradable and safe pesticides. When it comes to cleaning agents, you should also use biodegradable and safe cleaning agents. In cleaning your house, it is best to limit the use of chemicals to prevent contaminants from getting inside. Biodegradable products will also keep your water supplies safe for drinking. Continue reading “Solving Environmental Health Problems”

Virtual Environmental Education and Team Building

Surfing the Internet I discovered something new the other evening: “virtual environmental education and team building”. Apparently you can catch some pretty wild rides and achieve some serious bonding without leaving your couch!

Unfortunately, my old buddy John McKinstry never got to see it, the Internet that is. He had to settle for the real thing. Forty years ago we used to sit together on our boards at sunrise, waiting for the surf to come up. John was among the first to surf the big waves at Ghost Trees in my hometown of Pacific Grove. He had the courage to charge down the face of those massive forty footers, long before jet ski pull ins, or rather, pull outs. John pushed the limits of the possible and was an astronaut on a surfboard. Like many American pioneers he paid the ultimate price doing what he loved most.

I miss John, and a lot of other things that we enjoyed together, many of which are now paved over, but I particularly miss his questions. Once, as we passed a used car lot with a banner advertising “transportation cars”, John asked me: “What other kind of cars are there?” In this age of human induced climate change, that remains a great question.

So if we could ask John whether the experience of wild nature, or bonding with your fellow human beings, can really be replaced with virtual reality, what would he say? For that matter, let’s ask ourselves that question. But before we answer, perhaps we should ask our kids to tear their attention away from their video games, TV shows, computers and cell phones and ask them too. Continue reading “Virtual Environmental Education and Team Building”