Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cancer alert sounded

Why we should care about what's going on with our environment. This story by the Boston Globe highlights a grave environmental problem that we, as Americans, seem incapable of addressing--that many of our irresponsible industries are and have been poisoning our environment.

The problem is that we, as a society, do not actively conduct continual studies of our environment (including cancer studies) to monitor the massive pollution that comes from industry. In most cases, because our government cannot get the monies to do so (and because we are inherently indisposed to do so) we do not find out about mass contamination until long after an outbreak of cancer or a disease occurs.

We assume, or we presume, that industry will act in a responsible fashion towards our environment—though there is little historical reason for believing this. We do so because not to do so would cause a major disruption in the way business operates. But, the fact is that for most corporations their only concern is for their shareholders to gain a profit. This means that our environment is only important as it does not cause a negative drag on its operations.

We assume that because that because we only occasionally see stories of industry pollution that it rarely occurs, but this assumption is based on a terrifically stubborn political attitude not see what we know to be true—that many industries act irresponsible towards our environment. They poison our ground, water, and air and then go bankrupt and leave. Note the thousands of brownfields and Superfund sites around the country.

Though most are indisposed to do so, we should as ourselves this question: To what extent has our environment been compromised by irresponsible industry? That question (regardless of your opinion) is unanswerable without a lot of independent studies on the matter. The bottom line: we just don’t know how many people are getting cancer or getting sick because some industries have been polluting our environment. Without a massive shift in attitude and a pro-active search to find out the true state of toxins in our environment from industry, we will not know—until events like this story in the Boston Globe occur.