The Environment, Our Health and Black Lives All Need our Attention Now!
As I hurry to prepare for an imminent assault on my allergies coming in the form of a giant Saharan dust plume that promises to paint the North Texas skies orange for the next few days, I am again reminded of the inextricable interconnectedness of our world. When weather forecasters warn us that when we step outside, we’ll be breathing in air that began as a dusty cloud over North Africa and traveled more than 7,000 miles, whisked by strong winds across the Atlantic Ocean to touch down in Dallas, there can be no denying that what happens to one of us can affect us all.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, it’s not unusual for Saharan plumes to travel this far west during the summer months, but this one is significant in both density and reach. It’s bigger and the strongest in about 50 years.
And oh, I momentarily forgot that we are still in the midst of a different health assault that traveled over 7,000 miles to get to us—in this case, from Wuhan, China. We must also wonder if Texas’ current spike in coronavirus cases could be related to the fact that we’re in the middle of our ozone season. After all, North Texas has failed to attain federal air quality standards for 15 years now.
What to make of all of these environmental issues that are having such great health impacts on our city, our region and our world? Well, I think God is trying to get our attention. He blessed us with a perfectly made environment that contained everything we needed to survive and thrive and gave us dominion over it. It’s becoming harder to deny that what we do to that environment, including to other human beings, is what’s mucking things up.
I believe our problems reflect the vestiges of our attempts to dominate whole races of people through the enslavement of some by others when we are all God’s creations and equal by His design. That is the cause of the current social upheaval through which He is trying to speak to us. His message is reinforced by a virus that’s affecting each and every one of us, and by a global economy that shows we are deeply interdependent, and that we are only made unequal through temporary human constructs—that can and should be removed.
In biblical times, just before the great exodus, God brought 10 great plagues against Egypt, each one worse than the last, trying to get Pharaoh’s attention so he would let God’s people go. I hope God gets our collective attention soon.
What to do now? I believe the answer is already with us: We need to have deep, important conversations; casual conversations; and grocery checkout line conversations about how our environment is connected to our health and how we treat those we have tried to dominate in the past. Communication leads to empathy and understanding, which then leads to action. I urge you to start conversating now—especially with those you might not otherwise do it with.
In this month’s issue, we are celebrating God’s bounty from the soil with our sixth annual Farmers’ Market Guide, which grows each year to include more and more elements of our healthy food spectrum. (This year we added chefs and restaurants specializing in plant-based meals.) And make sure to read “Gut Talk,” in which Melinda Hemmelgarn explains the unbreakable relationship between our health and our food.
As always, we hope you will find plenty in this month’s issue to help you on your journey to a healthier, greener lifestyle.
Blessings until next month,