Environment focus for public heath symposium

Quentin Ison and Quentin Ison

The Earth’s temperature continues to gradually rise while the increase in natural disasters and phenomena persist. Future generations are most likely to be harmed by the changes brought on by the various factors such as heightened pollution and lack of precipitation. 

The second annual public health symposium aimed to enlighten Bowling Green students and community members about the dangers of continued human habits. The consequences are severe. If continual environmental neglect exists, the planet will become uninhabitable. 

University science professors and enthusiast gathered to address these concerns by providing alarming statistics and graphics indicating the dire need to pursue an improved human lifestyle. 

“Severe weather changes are continuing to affect our global environment, increased instances of tornadoes, flooding and crop freezing are some of the few results we as a human race are most profoundly experiencing as a result” WTOL Meteorologist Ryan Wichman said. 

Crop freezing is a major concern for many agricultural institutions. This phenomenon is brought on by uncharacteristically high temperature in the winter months which leads to the premature blossoming of many staple crops and trees. 

“Because of the high winter temperatures, we see a lot of crops grow as a result.  Once these crops bloom and the weather goes back to a regular seasonal agenda, crops freeze and die, further complicating things for farmers and agriculture companies,” Wichman said. 

Yet these issues are not the only problems that have been on the rise in recent years. 

Disease and allergens also may see an exponential spike as a result of the rising temperatures. 

“Longer allergy seasons may persist due to the warm weather. This can be jointly contributed to the fact that since rising temperatures are evident, insects and other organisms are now able to adapt to northern environments which were previously too cold,” Ecologist Shannon Pelini said.

Insects are needed to pollenate plants and other sprouts to sustain life. However, the increased presence of ragweed and other common allergenic plants is on the rise as a result of insect migration. 

Ailments such as Lyme Disease, which is commonly transmitted through ticks, are on the rise nationally because the warmer climates and their preference for hotter weather.  Lyme disease can be highly dangerous because it can go undetected for a long period of time. 

Algae and other waterborne organisms are also seeing increases.

Algae is one of the most important organisms on earth due to its production of oxygen necessary for human life to exist. However, harmful algal blooms can have a negative effect on the world. 

“Since 1972, the world has seen an increased rate of invasive species such as the algal blooms. This can be largely attributed to the fact that agricultural firms are using more Nitrogen and Phosphorus than ever before. These chemicals seep into waterways, deltas and estuaries and allow for the growth of harmful blooms which have the ability to severely alter the freshwater food chain” Keynote Speaker Tim Davis said. 

While all three speakers presented different points on public health, all agree a more conscientious effort to preserve the world for future generations is needed. Education and awareness to the environment is the key to ensuring a more inhabitable world.