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Breakthroughs Magazine

Editor's Screen

Tomorrow's environmental health depends on today

Life is really about consequences—whether it's those extra pounds brought on by eating junk food in front of the television or landfills piling up with indestructible junk. If we pause for a moment to look back, the causes for these situations become incredibly clear. We learn from the past.

In putting together this issue, I was struck by how much the future of our ecosystem and human health hangs in a delicate balance today. As technology develops at exponential rates, who is answering the question "How will this affect the future?"

Centuries ago one of the great art masters, Leonardo DaVinci, sketched the Vitruvian Man, also known as the "Renaissance Man." He couldn't have known how symbolic this work of art would become to science in representing balance, human health and the environment.

In an age of computers and high-speed electronics, we have the ability to use information from our past to gain insight into the future. Using their expertise in what is known as predictive science, PNNL scientists are creating state-of-the-art modeling tools for the environment to understand trends—from melting snow packs to genetic mutations in fish—and surmise what the future holds. With this knowledge, government decision makers, industry and even the average citizen can make more enlightened decisions about how to live today.

Using science and modifying our behaviors, we all can change what tomorrow looks like...and ensure worthy subjects for artists of the future. – LT

Writers for this edition: Peter Bengston, Sue Chin, Amy Cruz, Brittney Drollinger, Kristin Manke, Jodi Melland, Sallie Ortiz, Rosalind Schrempf, and Virginia Sliman.
Graphics: Chris DeGraaf, Nathan Johnson, Shannon Neely, Mike Perkins, and Elaine Schneider.

Breakthroughs Magazine

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