BLOG: Earth Day and the March for Science
Published 22 Apr 2017
Today is Earth Day – an annual worldwide event where people come together to support environmental protection.
This year the focus is on ‘environmental and climate literacy’ – making sure people know what is happening to the environment and what they can do to help protect it.
The environment can sometimes seem like a far-away, abstract thing – something only seen on nature documentaries or when out hiking. But the environment is where we live, whether that is in the middle of a city, a rural village or a log cabin in the mountains. And our environment has a very real impact on our health.
Urban air pollution is only one of the most obvious examples of this. Vehicle exhaust fumes and other emissions have polluted many of our cities, and scientists are discovering a growing number of ways that this has harmed our health, not least increasing our risk of cancer*.
When it comes to chemical exposure, the evidence for a risk to human health often first comes from research on the effects of chemicals on wildlife. The impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals on wildlife, for example, is well documented. Unfortunately, sometimes our environment suffers, as well as our health, before we act to prevent further harm.
March for Science
Earth Day 2017 coincides with the March for Science, where people around the world will march together in celebration of science. Science is a powerful tool for improving our lives and preventing diseases like breast cancer. To ensure that we can continue to make progress with scientific research, it is vital that evidence is not rejected because of personal convictions or hijacked by special interests.
The best way of ensuring that science is used properly, and influences policies like those on chemicals regulation, is to encourage people to appreciate and engage with science. At Breast Cancer UK, we try to do our bit, by funding and sharing scientific research into breast cancer prevention, and explaining how this can impact on our everyday lives.
Science, the environment and health
By protecting our environment from harmful chemicals, we can also reduce human exposure and better protect our health. We can achieve this is through well-funded scientific research, which informs evidence based policies and regulations.
Today Breast Cancer UK join with others across the planet in celebrating and defending the environment and science – both of which are key to preventing breast cancer.
*For more information see our background briefing on air pollution and breast cancer.