By Annelise Wilimitis
Being in class learning about communication in relation to health has made me wonder why people don’t care when certain issues are staring them in the face and then they let other issues take the forefront of their concerns. The media can largely influence what we are concerned about in relation to our health, and can say situations are more or less of an issue than is true. For instance, lately Zika virus has been in a lot of the news. People are so concerned about it even though it poses less of an risk directly than issues relating to climate change. People in South Carolina were so concerned about killing mosquitoes that carried Zika virus by aerial spraying of pesticides that it was not considered that the pesticide might kill bees. It ended up that millions of bees died from this pesticide, and since bees are largely endangered, this is a big issue (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/us/south-carolina-pesticide-kills-bees.html). Yet, people don’t understand it or don’t know about it because it is not in more than one article. The people in charge of spraying the pesticides should have done more research on this before hastily taking action because of the public calling for something to be done. Honeybees are largely responsible for pollination of fruits and vegetables, and they keep many flowers alive as well. For bees to go completely extinct would devastate many crop yields and our flower and food availability.
These issues, as pressing as they are, are cast aside. Another situation of this is the coverage of flooding in the Cincinnati area last week. Though this was a big issue and was even called a 100 year flood (meaning there is less than a 1% chance every year that rainfalls of these measures will happen), no one is really as concerned as they should be about this (http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/08/29/torrential-downpour-100-year-storm/89539302/). People are more worried about Ebola and Zika and other stories and this is now considered “old news”. More and more is happening that is proof of climate change, but it is not being labeled as such. I am curious to know whether people really do not believe climate change is happening, or if people think it will not happen in their lifetime and therefore are not concerned? Why do health stories take so much precedence over environmental issues, when the latter also affects health in different ways?