Introductory Blog for Environmental Health and Health Sciences

Tyne Riddick
4 min readFeb 15, 2021

Hello, my name is Tyne Riddick. People often mispronounce my name so for your convenience it is pronounced, “valen-TYNE.” I am a first year Public Health Practice student. I graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelors in English and Human Physiology. I am a non-traditional pre-medical student and intend to apply to medical school application cycle 2021–2022. I want to improve health outcomes for older and aging adults and help solve a growing issue for our aging populations, longevity inequality. I also have varied interests in nutrition, women’s health, preventive medicine, and sleep. In my spare time, I like to read, listen to podcasts, play video games, and cook. I also like to organize, if you can consider that a hobby.

Humans are still within the boundary for changes in land use.

Beyond Planetary Boundary. The inner green shading represents the proposed safe operating space for nine planetary systems. The red wedges represent an estimate of the current position for each variable. The boundaries in three systems (rate of biodiversity loss, climate change, and human interference with the nitrogen cycle), have already been exceeded.

With some care, humans may stay within the established boundary. I grew up in many places but mainly in the South and spent some of my adult life in the Midwest. A notable feature of the southern and Midwestern states is the sprawling landscapes, dotted with livestock and overrun with agriculture. On one of my many trips to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota, I was always struck by one of the visitor info-graphics that outlined the changes of the park over the last 100 years. The image illustrated the diminishing rivers, the dwindling herds of bison, and encroachment of humans on the natural lands of the Badlands. When you leave the park, you drive into city-towns surrounded by farmland. That kind of experience gives you pause, makes you think, is this what good ole Teddy had in mind?

Unfortunately, there is insufficient historical datasets that explicitly illustrate the changes in land use. However, model-based reconstructions are advancing and changing as more people recognize how impactful human land-use is on environmental change (Yang et al., 2017). But it is well understood that humans directly began to change the land through hunting, foraging, land clearing, agriculture, and other activities. The Neolithic Revolution marked the transformation of societies and the way people lived, moving away from traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles and toward settlements and reliable food supplies. Agriculture is most notably the driver of societal development and expansion at the expense of the natural flora and fauna. Urbanization has bloomed over the last 20th and 21st century with rapid rates of population growth. Early land use in the creation of cities was horizontal as opposed to vertical, the breadth of a city expanding 200-fold as its people grew 20-fold (Chapter 2: Brief History of Land Use | Knowledge Hub, n.d.).

A step in the right direction in finding solutions for land misuse is determining what the issue is and where specifically the degradation are occurring. Once done, the government may be able to implement agricultural strategies (Solutions -Land Use, n.d.). With the use of urban growth boundaries, communities can avoid sprawl and create clearly defined and legally enforced boundaries that have reintegrated flora and fauna. This is like the idea of reintegrating nature to the countryside. The creation of wild zones and hedgerows on the margins of fields or other unused spaces. There would small pockets of growth and re-connection in these areas that would allow fragmented habitats to flourish and promote genetic biodiversity (How Human Activity Has Changed Earth’s Land Surface | Earth.Org — Past | Present | Future, n.d.). By controlling sprawl and creation of buffer zones are ultimately beneficial to humans. Impact of pathogens and contaminated food sources would decrease. With livestock management there could be reduction in infectious disease, like SARS. With better spacing and neighborhood planning would introduce better sanitation and decrease the infiltration of pests carrying disease (Myers, 2012). Ultimately, the controlling of misuse of lands will require significant and concerted effort from humans in order to hold off the steady approach of the planetary boundary.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/america-land-use/

Bibliography:

Chapter 2: Brief History of Land Use | Knowledge Hub. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://knowledge.unccd.int/glo/part-one-big-picture/chapter-2-brief-history-land-use

How Human Activity Has Changed Earth’s Land Surface | Earth.Org — Past | Present | Future. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://earth.org/human-activity-land-surface-changes/

Myers, S. S. (2012). Land use change and human health. In Integrating Ecology and Poverty Reduction: Ecological Dimensions (Vol. 9781441906335, pp. 167–186). Springer New York. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0633-5_11

Solutions -Land Use. (n.d.). Retrieved January 10, 2021, from http://www.webofcreation.org/Earth Solutions/Land Use.htm

Yang, Y., Zhang, S., Liu, Y., Xing, X., & De Sherbinin, A. (2017). Analyzing historical land use changes using a Historical Land Use Reconstruction Model: A case study in Zhenlai County, northeastern China. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep41275

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Tyne Riddick

I am the Essaiyan — Part Healthcare Professional. Researcher. Public Health. Writer. Scholar. I need at least 237 mL of coffee daily.