Health care is one of the most important economic sectors in high income countries, but its environmental footprint is underreported and not often considered.
The Cuban system demonstrates a sustainable model of medical care, providing a high level of service with low use of resources. Many greens think only in terms of reducing personal consumption, or hoping for technical advances that will enable continued affluence. Too few realise that there have to be radical changes in systems as well as in lifestyles.
How do you envision yourself at age eighty? Do you want to be active, mobile, and of sound mind and body? Or do you think you’ll be lucky just to be alive? Good health is not luck.
Good health means more than good medical care. Many other things affect how long we live and how healthy we feel—conditions in our housing and neighborhoods, the social and physical environment of our communities, economic opportunities and the levels of stress in our lives.
In considering the Sun Hive alongside my personal experiences of distress, I do not mean to use the bees as a metaphor, to plunder nature for her poetry. Instead I wish to suggest that our reductive attitudes towards both bees and human health may be symptomatic of a prevailing mindset of exploitation and control.
While politicians fiddle, citizens are again being left to suffer–perhaps none more than the nearly 23,000 coal miners in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and elsewhere, facing the loss of healthcare benefits.
Where we live – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the environments around us – has a huge impact on our health and even on our DNA.