With all of The Billings Gazette's regular coverage and co-sponsorship of programs to find the cure for cancer, it is striking that it did not cover an important story relating to the prevention of cancer.
Internationally acclaimed scientist Dr. Sandra Steingraber spoke boldly about the link between cancer and fossil fuels as keynote speaker to a packed audience at the annual convention of the Northern Plains Resource Council in Billings on Nov. 13.
A cancer survivor herself, along with her 80-year-old mother, Steingraber has extensively researched the link between cancer and the extraction, generation, use and waste of fossil fuels, which include coal, oil and gas. Her research, summarized in her book "Living Downstream," concludes that it is imperative that alternatives to fossil fuels be taken advantage of as expeditiously as possible.
Many Americans believe that we can extract fossil fuels indefinitely, through new creative technologies such as fracking, "capturing" and storing carbon underground, and more and deeper underwater drilling, and that surely there are no negative consequences from the generation and use of such fuels. These same Americans are aware of the growing spread of cancers among our families and neighbors.
Let us hope that our new decision-makers responsibly recognize scientific bases for new perspectives for solving our collective challenges regarding energy and health.
Perhaps through their decisions, we can look forward to preventing more cancers than we have to cure.