Climate Change and Public Health

Kaiser Family Foundation pointed to a recent debate going on in the halls of Congress. Our legislators are faced with the difficult choices on budgeting for the next fiscal year. The balance between remaining fiscally responsible and ensuring socially just structures is difficult. Today, they debated regulations on carbon dioxide emissions. Rep. Lois Capps claimed that climate change is a great threat to public health measures. This connection requires much analysis from public health officials. In addition, we must also closely examine legislation that is being passed these next few hours, if not days.

To begin, the climate change issue is intrinsically linked to public health. Although I am not a scientist on the matter, I do say with confidence that we need to become better stewards of the earth. Business operations are often executed with little regard to the environment. In lower-income countries, this is harming populations already. In addition, future weather patterns could be affected which would harm crops and the safety of millions of people.

I do not want to direct my focus on climate change, but rather use this article to reflect an immediate reality. I want to turn my attention to the difficult issues that our elected officials need to make in the near future. When deciding on a budget, many justice issues occur. Where should funds be allocated? Where should they be cut? Who suffers with these decisions? In regards to the climate change issue, the House voted to cut regulations of carbon dioxide emissions. They did this so that business could benefit more. With an issue like this, it is difficult to decide what is more just. As with many issues, this is not clear-cut at all. On one hand, we are cutting regulations that could help save our environment. On the other hand, businesses claim these regulations hurt their effectiveness. I think we need to way how we value things. Are profits or environmental sustainability more important? How do our decisions factor long term? All of these issues are difficult, but to begin, we need to educate our issues. We need to get a point where we have honest dialogues on these issues so that we can ensure a better future for our country, and our planet.

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