• Bill Brandenburg, MD

What YOU Can do to help Planet Earth Today

Background

Planet earth's climate and health are being destabilized from human activity. Pollution and habitat destruction are to blame. Over half of the habitable land on earth is now used for human agriculture, 40% of our forests have been cut down, and humans now move more rock and sediment than any natural process. If we do not act quickly, it is likely that our planet will become unable to support human civilization as we know it.


Problems – These are some of the big ones (more exist)

Global warming from emission of greenhouse gases like CO2; the collapse of wildlife and mass extinction of living species; habitat destruction like deforestation for agricultural use; freshwater usage draining river systems, Impaired nutrient cycles from over-fertilizing and waste run-off creating water that cannot support life; atmospheric aerosols polluting our lungs; novel chemicals that accumulate in the environment and cause adverse human health effects; the acidification of the ocean from CO2 that is killing sea-life we depend on; ozone depletion causing increased exposure to harmful radiation.


What We Need to Do

- Stop emitting greenhouse gasses like CO2 that warm the planet (stop burning fossil fuel). We need to cut emissions in half every decade until we are carbon neutral.

- Stop producing and using chemicals that accumulate in the environment and may be harmful to human health

- Only produce items that we know how to get rid of or reuse (no more non-reusable plastics). This is called a circular economy

- Stop converting wild lands into agricultural lands. Stop destroying earths forest


What You Can Do Today

- Eat a healthy diet of mostly plants. Processed foods are bad for the environment and our health. Meat, and especially red meat utilizes much more land and fresh water than plant-based food production.

- Buy local organic food. Know your farmer and make sure they care deeply about soil health.

- Carry your own silverware, never use plastic forks, knives, spoons, and straws.

- Stop using disposable take home food containers. Bring your own containers.

- Use renewable energy whenever possible. Start phasing out machines that run on fossil fuels.

- Leave no trace when recreating in the natural world. Walk instead of 4 wheeling.

- Do not support companies that are not on board with saving our planet

- Plant trees in areas that will support them

- Plant native plants that support pollinators. Get rid of grass and other monocrops!

- Do not use chemicals that harm the environment or people.

- Educate others about the human destruction of earth and things we can do to help.

- Go into math, science, and engineering. Help develop cleaner ways of producing energy and manufacturing.

- Do not put profits over the health and safety of our planet.


Summary

Future generations will depend on a healthy planet for survival as we have. That planet is now in danger, as is our future. Let’s all change our behavior to assure the long-term survival of our species and our planet. The time is now.


References

- Steffen et al. Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet. Science. 2015.

- Rockstrom and Attenborough. Breaking Boundaries – The Science of Our Planet. 2021. Netflix

- Chemicals in the Environment – Dehumanizing Humanity. 2017. Royal College of London. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq2K1IvRf8M

- Environmental Working Group. https://www.ewg.org/research/pollution-people

- Meyer and Lemery. Health Implications of Environmental Change. Ch 121. Aurerbach’s Wilderness Medicine.

- Experience as a medical doctor and naturalist



Additional Resource

Full Scope Podcasts – Human Destruction of Earth and Its Effect on Our Health, Part 1,2, and 3.

Available at fullscope.org.

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