Today is my last day at work before my maternity leave begins. As part of my daily ritual, I read this morning’s Above the Fold digest from Environmental Health News. For those unfamiliar with the publication, it’s an unbelievably robust collection of environmental news articles from a variety of sources on almost any environmental health subject you can imagine. Because I work in the field of environmental health, and am concerned about reproductive and children’s health in particular, I’ve customized my feed to send me articles that pertain to toxins that affect children’s development, infertility, women’s health—not especially lighthearted topics— so the daily dose of information that winds up in my inbox is sometimes a bit overwhelming.
Usually, I read over the daily digest searching for inspiration for blog posts for the MOMS site. Past inspiration has come from articles linking autism to flame retardant chemicals, or air pollution to asthma. Today, though, there was too much inspiration to settle on one article in particular, so I decided, instead, to write about all (well, most) of them.
Here’s a selection of the rainbow of issues covered in today’s digest:
- Mitt Romney, Monsanto Man
- Controversy grows over chemical spill after Hurricane Isaac
- Valley fever cases soar in California, harm remains hidden
- Tube with radioactive material is missing in Texas
- Costly contamination clean-up in Newark, Ohio, to displace families
- PCBs return to Port of Tacoma
- Birds sound the alarm on West Nile Virus
It’s enough to make you (especially if you’re about to bring another person into the world) drop your jaw and scream, “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh, my!” And because I’m about to be on maternity leave and away from this work for a period of time, it’s possible I’m feeling more sensitive to this onslaught of bad news than I might otherwise if I were going to be around to do something about it.
That’s when I decided to do something I rarely do. I scrolled up to the top of the digest and clicked the “Good News” link. It’s up there, right at the top, but for some reason I skip over it each day. I think it’s important when doing this work that can sometimes seem overwhelming–especially if you tend to be a worrier of a parent like me—to remember that there is so much good work being done. There is so much progress being made toward making this world a safer, healthier place for our children.
Even though I’ll be out of the office for a while, I’ll likely contribute the occasional blog post to the MOMS site. Old habits die hard, you know. But I’m going to work hard to make this “looking on the brighter side of life” a habit that sticks with me as well.
And if you “Like” our Facebook page, I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop when my baby finally arrives—which truly will be good news to share!