What Does Florence Nightingale Think About Climate Change?

Salutations!  Florence Nightingale, here. Through the wonders of technology, I am able to speak to you from the past and learn about future cultures. Allow me to invest my limited time today to speak with you about stewardship of our glorious planet. 


Why is the environment relevant to a publication for nurses? Since you have the entire world of information at your fingertips, you are no doubt aware of a piece I penned called “Notes in Nursing: What It Is & What it is Not?” This work, among many topics, discussed how one’s environment improves or impedes one’s health.

One of my simplest and most effective changes I implemented in Scutari was to keep windows open and allow patients to breathe fresh air. I will not recant on this position. This issue seems to be evergreen, so to speak. Lately, in a publication named The Guardian, Ian Sample, a science correspondent, furthered the argument by stating microbes from the outdoors are an added bonus to fresh air for humans, especially those who are ill.  (link to the reference article here http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/feb/20/open-hospital-windows-stem-infections

Conversely, the actual composition of the air should concern everyone. So many dreadful chemicals billow about now, even apart from the factories. Plus, you must endure dreadful levels of light and sound pulsations. These are like the air pollutants. It seems you are living in a toxic environment everywhere you look!

All that to say, I believe a patient in a rural facility, somewhere out there in God’s country, with many trees and truly fresh air, might benefit from open windows. It seems an unwise decision to keep windows cracked in urban hospitals, but I suppose that depends upon what microbes are germinating inside. 

There is a gentleman, an actor, and climate change advocate, who was previously a Governor of an American state, although he is originally from Austria (only in the future, could I see this happen). He has had some wise words to say on this situation:

“Do you believe it is acceptable that 7 million people die every year from pollution? That's more than murders, suicides, and car accidents - combined. Every day, 19,000 people die from pollution from fossil fuels. Do you accept those deaths? Do you accept that children all over the world have to grow up breathing with inhalers? Now, my second question: do you believe coal and oil will be the fuels of the future? Besides the fact that fossil fuels destroy our lungs, everyone agrees that eventually they will run out. What's your plan then?” (link to this piece: https://www.facebook.com/notes/arnold-schwarzenegger/i-dont-give-a-if-we-agree-about-climate-change/10153855713574658/?_rdr=p)

These are wise words from a fellow who has a colloquial nickname of The Terminator
I agree wholeheartedly. While the focus on health care is important, understanding how to provide clean energy to citizens is best for not only for our health, but it can likely bolster employment creation and, by extension, world wide economies. 

In this wonderful future, I urge you to take the time to make as many small changes as possible. Consider  solar power, wind power, plant trees, and maybe even plant a vegetable garden in your spare time.Take a stroll through your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors, pick up any litter. It will be good for your health, and you will make an environmental impact. True, you are only one person, but when many people make these small changes, the cumulative effect would make the air we breathe much cleaner.

I must away, but I will return another time with more of my vintage wisdom. Be well! 

Candy Campbell is an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco and is a DNP, RN, CNL & FNAP. She is also famous for “Channeling Florence Nightingale: Integrity, Insight, Innovation” on stage and in print. Visit her site at candycampbell.com & follow on Twitter at @CandyCampbellRN