Millvale Library connects dots between public health and environment, hosts Millvale Environment & Health Fair

April 11, 2017

For a lot of people, protecting the environment is an important value.  There are many different reasons for people to hold that value, including the prevention of climate change and its effects, saving different animal species like bees and polar bears from extinction, preserving land or water features that are near and dear to our hearts — the list keeps going.  

While certain reasons can be controversial for some, one important reason we can all agree on, but do not necessarily think of as a reason to protect the environment is…  Our health!  Many human behaviors and practices that are harmful to the environment, are also harmful to human health.

Did you know that many people credit Pittsburgh’s own Rachel Carson as the driving force behind the modern environmental movement in America?  People, including Carson, who was a lover of nature, started to notice that many of their favorite natural places, which would typically be alive with the calls of birds, were slowly getting quieter and quieter.  

After much research, Carson wrote the groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, which revealed that not only were uses of certain industrial chemicals harmful to wildlife, they were also causing severe illnesses amongst people.  Rachel Carson’s work paved the path forward for the banning of many harmful chemicals like Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (can’t pronounce it?  DDT for short!), and also led to the establishment of the Envrionmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which then helped develop crucial regulatory policies like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and more.  Her work, alongside those that she inspired has helped save countless lives, and changed our thinking on how we impact the environment, and how it in turn impacts us.

It is with that spirit that the Millvale Library is working with Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellow, Amanda Hagl, to host the Nurture Nature series and the upcoming Millvale Environment & Health Fair on April 29th.  

Finishing up her education to become a Physician Assistant, Amanda believes that, “preventative medicine is not just about one seeing his/her family physician yearly but also about striving for wellness and healthy environments.”  She goes on to say that, “Illuminating the ways in which environmental concerns are public health problems has the potential to help the environmental movement gain more attention and momentum.”

We agree with Amanda, and so does the late Rachel Carson!  The biggest motivation behind a lot of sustainability work we do and support in Millvale is to improve environmental conditions so that our residents and businesses have clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, fresh & healthy foods to eat, and have accessible streets and public spaces for healthier lifestyles.  Millvale has nearly double the cancer rate of Allegheny County.  If the work we do to improve the quality of life for our residents also helps maintain the environment, that’s like feeding two birds with one scone!

Please join us on Saturday, April 29th, as we band together as a community to clean up our town in the morning, then enjoy self guided tours around all of our fresh environmentally friendly projects around town, and get connected to health care resources and professionals!  Healthcare resources include free blood pressure screenings, a prescription drug take-back, yoga, tai-chi, belly dancing, pediatric health resources, free toothcare supplies & information, and more!  Please visit our facebook event page for more details and let us know if you’ll make it!  The event is entirely FREE, open to all, and is family friendly!


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