What would the food label on human breast milk look like? Well its something like 4 percent fat, a long list of essential vitamins and minerals, growth hormones, protiens, enzymes, and antibodies. Sounds wonderful, but let’s keep reading the label. How about DDT, PCB’s, dioxin, trichloroethylene, lead, mercury, arsenic, perchlorates, and benzene. Doesn’t sound nearly as appetizing, but it’s true. Though breast feeding is still the best thing you can do for your young child, your baby will receive its highest lifetime dose of toxins from your breast milk! I suspect this isn't the gift you are hoping to pass on to your children.
Now men, what are you contributing to your children? Well, it’s not as grim as it is for fish and frogs, both of which are now developing eggs in their testes rather than sperm thanks at least in part to increased levels of organophosphates in the water in which they live, but you do now have a remarkably lower sperm count than you would have 100 years ago. In some parts of the U.S. it may be as low as 40% of what it would have been a century ago. So…to be honest, you may not have the opportunity to contribute at all.
Now, I have nothing against polar bears. I like trees too. But I’m not really launching this year-long writing campaign for either. I’m writing it for you. I don’t care whether you are a tree hugging hippy or a conservative banker, you and I are heavily impacted by what are referred to as environmental problems. In reality, these are all invironmental problems. The term refers to the reality and sentiment that you and I are the ones impacted by environmental problems...not just polar bears. These problems aren’t just outside, they are inside, yes, even inside your testes.
So lets get this straight. I’m not writing this to a political party or to an ideology, I’m writing it for a species. I’m writing it for humanity. I’m not concerned about the planet for the planet’s sake (that’s too cerebral for me), I’m concerned about my family and my friends and I’m concerned about my future. This isn’t some high minded lecture series on why we should give up our parasitic existence and leave the planet to the birds and bees. It’s a lecture…OK blog series on human health, human lives, and more specifically my love for my children and yours.
My aunt and uncle live in rural south central Missouri. I hardly ever get to see them. They are wonderful people who live on a beautiful piece of farmland. They live wisely, with great faith, and probably don’t see themselves as environmentalists, and to be honest, neither do I (though I’m sure I fit a few of your stereotypes). This lecture series is for my aunt and uncle and for all of you regardless of how you see yourself or what you call yourself. We are all just people, doing our best in life, working with what we have. What I have to say isn’t political and it's certainly not meant to polarize as politics seems to do. What my writing is meant to do is to motivate you to love deeper, share more, laugh harder, and to ACT as if you really mean any of it!
Vincent M. Smith