Natural Life Magazine is unique among the current crop of green living magazines and websites because we’re all about connections, about how the various topics we cover are interwoven into the tapestry of life: parenting, health, economy, leisure, work, education, housing.
Those interconnections are why I always chuckle when a new public opinion poll proclaims that people have changed their top priorities from, for instance, the environment to health care, as I heard this past week. The solutions to problems in these areas are inevitably linked, as we often illustrate in Natural Life. Although that would seem obvious, it’s not always so for many people.
Cancer, with its myriad environmental causes, is a good illustration of that connection. And it comes to mind because this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On my personal blog, I’ve written about what I dubbed “pinkwashing.” Pinkwashing is an extensionof “greenwashing” - used to describe the activities of companies that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to the disease. Those practices include using a variety of carcinogens in their products and/or polluting our air, water, and soil with carcinogens that are by-products of the manufacturing process. The cosmetic industry, which supports breast cancer organizations as a way of marketing its products, is one example, but there are many others. The result is that people get sick and our environment gets polluted while corporate shareholders get rich. And if we made these companies clean up their acts, fewer people would get sick and less money would be spent on health care.
So it’s hard to justify a greater sense of urgency over fixing problems with either one of the environment, health care, or the economy. Even though environmental issues seem remote and therefore not urgent, while health care and jobs seem to affect us on a more immediate level, their solutions are interconnected. As Thoreau said, “What is the use of a house if you don’t have a decent planet to put it on?”