SACRAMENTO, California—In a move which health groups believe will benefit human health, the State has established a legal commitment to lower carbon emissions beginning in 2013.
On 20 Thursday 2011, the California Air Resources Board adopted rules that will regulate carbon emissions, also known as pollution, from oil and gas producers, utilities and transportation companies, as well as farmers and the building industry.
The regulations establish a “cap and trade” system, where limits are set on how much carbon dioxide companies can produce. California will give each company the same number of “carbon allowances,” meaning the amount of carbon dioxide the companies can produce.
Companies that produce less carbon dioxide than the limit will be able to sell the allowances they have not used to other companies who intend to pollute more than the limit.
The new cap and trade system is said to increase incentives for businesses to reduce carbon emissions, contributing to better health for California residents.
Health care costs will decrease along with the air pollution, according to the American Lung Association in California and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
As California appears to be contributing to a healthier environment by reducing air pollution for its residents, what other areas of the environment could be changed to improve the physical, mental, and spiritual health of people specifically in your community? Globally?
Environmental impact on physical health
Carbon emissions have been linked to diseases directly affecting people’s lungs like lung disease and asthma, as well as other diseases like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
One form of carbon emissions is carbon dioxide, which is produced when fuel burns, as well as when humans and animals exhale. Carbon dioxide is dangerous to humans and animals if inhaled in large doses and lethal in its purest form.
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, both helping to keep humans and animals breathing.
As industry increases, trees and plants are removed from land to create room for machinery, factories, buildings, residences, and roads. Such infrastructure can produce more carbon dioxide into the air, as the buildings can depend on fuel for energy, which is burned. Roads provide travel for cars, which produce carbon dioxide when fuel is burned to keep them moving.
Without enough trees or plants to absorb the carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, humans and animals are more apt to contract diseases said to be caused by large amounts of carbon dioxide inhalation.
Environmental impact on mental health
The industrialized environment, substituted for trees and plants is believed to have an indirect effect on the human mind.
Quick paces on the job can produce intensity and stress, less sleep and depression.
Rather than socializing with face-to-face human contact, people increasingly use various forms of typing to communicate. Youth, the next generation, especially use texting and various social networking websites, like Facebook and Twitter, as means of communication.
According to a BBC film series, All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, as industry and technology have developed, humans have developed brains that think like computers. Humans increasingly work solely to solve problems and are goal oriented, as opposed to enjoying the inconsistencies life has to offer.
However, actual computers run at speeds quicker than most humans can think and can stay “awake” or on, longer than humans do. Without enough sleep, people can become depressed and contract other mental health problems.
Environmental impact on spiritual health
The hustle of an industrialized environment can cause people to focus solely on production, leaving little if any time for play and a balanced spirit.
Bogged down with work, people in an industrialized environment do not always have enough time for their family, friends, and selves.
Less time is spent connecting to emotions as thoughts void of feelings are preferred in fast paced work settings. In customer service jobs, a smile is valued, even if it does not match what the employee is feeling inside.
People are increasingly told to keep their personal lives separate than their work lives. Though, what happens when their work lives becomes their personal lives?
Thought to consider
Does your community need to change its surrounding environment? If so, how so?