chapter  7
35 Pages

The Politics of Environment and Public Health

Science and policy are two symbiotic cultures that would prefer to live independently but are resigned to an uneasy, if reciprocal, coexistence. Scientists are forever asking for additional studies and the public funds to carry them out. Policymakers are always seeking to meet the public's demands for increased safety with limited knowledge, short timetables, and declining budgets. Science proceeds slowly and incrementally. Policy may change erratically and apparently illogically. And when it comes to environmental causes of disease, science can rarely provide a crucial experiment, unambiguous data, or convergence from all the experimental domains that are relevant to the policy issue. (Krimsky 2000, 171)

There are many reasons why one should pay attention to the quality of our environment. The environment is, ultimately, the source of sustenance for humans. We depend on the availability and quality of environmental resources for air, water, food, energy, and materials to build hornes and offices (essentially transforming the "natural" environment into the "built" environment). Wise use of environmental resources is necessary to sustain human populations and population growth. We rnight view the environment as intrinsically important. It benefits humans to have at least some areas left undeveloped and closer to their pristine nature.