THE HUMAN HEALTH ISSUE

Fall 2016

DEAR READER,

Go to NASA’s website on climate and you’ll see some hard-hitting facts about climate change: Global temperatures are about 0.9 degrees celsius warmer than in 1880; the Arctic loses about an eighth of its summer ice every decade; atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are above 400 parts per million and seas are rising by 3.4 millimeters per year.

Yes, these numbers are alarming. But I wouldn’t blame someone if they didn’t jump to their feet when they heard the sea rose a few millimeters last year. Call it narcissism or empathy, but people often don’t care about numbers without a human impact on the other side. This quarter, our reporters examined those human impacts.

We sifted through alleys in one of Canada’s poorest zip codes with a team of graduate students studying urban rat ecology. We walked through the historic brick buildings of Fairhaven, Washington, which could endanger people in an earthquake. We met scientists racing to produce a vaccine for Zika virus. We teamed up with an analyst to calculate how toxic the air we breathe is in Whatcom county.

Environmental problems are often human problems, if you look hard enough. And we humans are responsible for looking for solutions. So please, dear reader, take a look with us.

To our good health,

Jesse Nichols
Editor-in-Chief