Statement Of Holly Berkowitz
Environmental Protection Agency
Aging Initiative Public Listening Session
Iowa City, Iowa
April 15, 2003
I am a registered health information technician, a linguist, and I grew up in Oregon, where I had access to many of nature's wonders. I learned very clearly about the miracle that is produced from a natural versus an artificial man-made world. The natural world holds the web of life intact by producing critical flows to sustain life, to nourish and nurture and fulfill the cellular needs to produce enough to consume and to consume enough to produce. Essentially, we need to re-define economy as more than cash. I think that this is one of the problems that the Bush administration has kept pushing. The Bush administration and the Republican party value cash and the potential for private profit limited to the short term, limited to the obvious, and essentially blind to self and the rest of the world to devalue the other, outside of the price itself. If we are going to succeed as a civilization, we need to reevaluate our economy. We need to redefine economy. Eco in Greek means house. You can talk about how the cells, like a cell that is a family, or the neighborhood or the community, the business corporation, the city, county, state, region airshed, nation, watershed, globe and beyond. You cannot segregate those levels into little contained bits. You cannot privatize, deregulate nature. You have to obey nature's laws to succeed or you pay the price. And indeed, we are paying the price now with fierce storms, and severe weather changes that affect our economy. Our human economy is a reflection of nature's economy. You have to balance nature's budget to balance human budgets. Human cash is only a subset of the type of the critical flows that sustain life in nature's world and hold the web of life intact. We cannot afford to rip the fragile web of life apart. We need to value habitat. We need to value and count something besides the price itself of the short-term, obvious, immediacy of cash. The cash-driven economy is driving the Bush administration to lower the value of seniors. The cash-driven economy is saying it is okay to pollute, I will sell you credits, which is totally unacceptable. We cannot afford to do that. We cannot afford to dirty our nest, or we pay the consequences. The Bush administration cannot blind us to the costs and consequences beyond the immediate, private bank accounts and doesn't want us to calculate, or even see, those long term public health effects, epidemics, mysterious diseases that war causes. We need peace to cause prosperity and prosperity to cause peace. Deuteronomy says that you have a responsibility to cause blessing and to prevent curse. The Bush administration, at this time, is causing curse. We need to turn that around. He has no right to drive us all down into a negative tailspin, into hell. The cell equals the globe. We must hold the web of life intact. I would call it inward-definitional eco-economics. Economics is the in with numbers. It is the number we count as cash, great quantities. Our cash system only tells quantities. The top of the quality of life is sick as it privatizes and deregulates. Ecology. The L is for logic. We need nature's logic to produce the critical flows that we need for life. It is immoral to rip this web of life apart. The EPA needs to increase the sensitivity of the detectors in the ICD, the International Classification of Diseases - especially for respiratory diseases are far too insensitive, far too general. You need to go back into the research, into the academic research for the environmental and health effects. You need to redefine symptoms to come up with the detectibility of research that detects the patterns, the sub-clinical patterns that our cash service system calls for. It needs to correct the erroneous assumptions of buy-for-cash. You need to use GIS, geographical information systems to link environmental hazards into a system with the health effects, the pattern in the public health system. You need to value more the structure and you need to value the function of a system. Every system, from the cell to the globe, has a specific, genetic purpose that produces statistics, highly specialized outcomes that need to be valued as outcomes. You need to value the quality of the outcome - impossible to tell in cash. You need to improve your urban planning to enable communities to take care of the aged, who are increasing in numbers so you have communities that people can live in, instead of places in the world where people are hurt. We cannot afford harsh lighted and insensitive walls and barriers that crack and crumble and rot in time. We need nature's wonderful worlds. We need to nurture the vegetation and the systems that cleanse and inform, instruct and buffer and nurture and produce, protect and renew life.