April of every year marks Earth Month. This coming Tuesday, April 22, marks Earth Day. Washington University in St. Louis talks a lot about the environment, about sustainability, about going green, saving energy, and protecting the earth. But it does not always talk about the people on the earth burdened by environmental issues.
Perhaps you have walked past Students Against Peabody, the huddle of tents and students who, in the name of environmental and human rights, protest Washington University’s endorsement of Peabody Energy. Perhaps you are in agreement, perhaps you think they are silly, perhaps you have ignored them. Whatever your stance, you have probably considered the stakes, wanted to know more, wondered if you should care about the environment, and wondered how the environment actually affects you and your community.
This issue of Frontiers Magazine seeks to provide you with some insight into environmental health and justice. Part of environmental justice includes the right for all individuals, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender, and identity, to be free from environmental burdens on health. Our articles cover a few subjects, but the environment has widespread effects on health and medicine. For a look into asthma in St. Louis, take a look at “No Cardinal Rule: Asthma & Air Quality in St. Louis,” which explores the link between coal plants and East St. Louis’ stance as the worst asthma rates in the nation. Regarding coal ash landfills in the Missouri River floodplain, check out “Labadie Power Plant and Coal Ash Landfill,” which discusses the health concerns due to ingesting water from coal ash leaching.
Environmental justice matters. The health of individuals, communities, and the global population is inextricably connected to their environments. We urge you to read on and explore these issues for yourself. If anything in these articles moves you to action, know that we are always open to consider submissions regarding these issues or other health-related topics.
Katelyn Mae Petrin