Another deceptive (or stupid) green who doesn’t realize or admit that cheap abundant power is the greatest health aid since sanitation (and which basically makes sanitation and water reticulation possible today). Development is protective, environmentalism is simply another name for obstructive misanthropy.
In his 1837 novel, Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens takes us to the world of Jacob’s Island, “the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London” where the houses were “so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem to be too tainted even for the dirt and squalor”.
Dickens was just one of many 19th century figures who highlighted the link between the conditions in which people lived and the state of their health. Another was Edwin Chadwick, who demonstrated the link between dirt, disease and poor health, winning over public opinion despite an editorial from the London Times that asserted it was worth taking a chance with cholera. Which begs the question, has Rupert Murdoch really been in control of the Times for that long?
More than anyone else, Chadwick spearheaded the emergence in Britain of a movement devoted to improving public health.
It has had some notable successes. A cleaner environment has meant a massive decline in rates of infectious disease. Thanks to legislation and activism, our roads are much safer. Improved living standards have led to higher standards of nutrition and, as a result of improving technology, we have better medicine.
On average people today are living twice as long as they were in Dickens’s time.
But the direct link between the health of the environment and the health of the public is often overlooked. While the latter has tended to remain high on the public and political agenda, concerns about the environment can wax and wane – often in response to the state of the economy.