Humans are the Earth's Immune System

June 15, 2009
By Megan Scanlon BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Megan Scanlon BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Isn’t the feeling of cleansing yourself and removing dirt from your body revitalizing? It can be after a muddy soccer game or even a long day of gardening. In the modern day, humans are so accessible to cleaning themselves that the only thing holding them back is whether or not they want to themselves. But not everything is offered these luxuries of being able to self cleanse, and humans take advantage of that. Our own environment and the increase of pollution truly reflect our lazy, ungrateful habits as human beings. Planet Earth cannot magically clean itself. Imagine, we humans and all living things on Earth make up its immune system. The immune system in human bodies defeats any unhealthy threats as well as keeps germs away. In many ways humans can be related to the immune system of the Earth and need to ensure its healthiness.

As an immune system weakens, the whole body suffers and declines. What’s essential to realize is that human need to fulfill being the Earth’s immune system because if they do not their OWN immune systems will become affected. The risk of cancer from breathing diesel exhaust is about ten times more than ingesting all other toxic air pollutants combined. Diesel emissions contribute to over 70% of the cancer risk from air pollution in the U.S. (reported by Environmental Defense). In addition, power plants contribute to over 2,800 lung cancer deaths as well as 38,200 heart attacks per year in the United States (reported by U.S.-EPA). In 2002, the World Bank reported that pollution is the culprit in causing the 2.42 billion dollars worth of damage to the Egyptian environment daily. The 18 million citizens in the Egyptian city of Cairo breathe in daily air pollution that is equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes per day. Pollution emissions from ocean-travelling ships contribute to approximately 60,000 deaths each year, mostly from heart and lung cancers.

Most importantly, our studies of human pollution provide us with a clear picture of the route our race is travelling towards: extinction. Simple facts that provide evidence to human extinction can cause certain people to panic; but the importance is how we move forward in truly living up to the full potential as Earth’s immune system. This can be applied to the smallest choices of recycling and taking advantage of new “green” technologies that have been developed as well as many more that can shape our environment into a healthy one. If people don’t take action now, we are only weakening the Earth which eventually will take its toll upon us. The Earth cannot help itself, but we can. Next time you decide to litter, emit diesel exhaust, or pollute the environment in any way, think about the human beings that may suffer or perhaps die from pollution-related causes. Think about how maybe one day you might be that person…

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