At first glance, a discussion of that universal subject—the weather—might seem out of place in a Life Science/Hygiene course in human nutrition. But, since nutrition is a unified or total body process, any influence that can disrupt this complicated and marvelous process anywhere along the great chain of nutritive systems would seem to justify its study in relation to human health and nutrition. And, while many sincere investigators (past and present) have delved deeply into nature’s secrets of human nutrition, as yet we cannot see but can only infer by deductive reasoning the mysteries of the inner metabolic processes going on in the living cells of the body. We can deduce that certain things are going on, but we cannot be sure all these deductions are infallibly correct.
1.1 Twentieth-Century Technology—A Two-Edged Sword
Meanwhile, the mounting evidence seems worthy of note and concern that the human race—the 20th-century human race—has caused “unnatural” weather conditions (such as worldwide air pollution, nuclear blasts, burning of fossil fuels, etc.), which can then become a cause of “unnatural” stimulation or shock to living bodies, on the same order that drug poisons create an unnatural stimulation (shock reaction, etc.) to living bodies. Of course, the effect of the weather will be different on different people, depending on the condition of their bodies. The heat of a noon-day sun (shining through visible and invisible layers of air pollution) will have a different effect on a sober person from the effect it will have on a drunkard (including a food drunkard).
One of Life Science/Hygiene’s most vital concerns is the mounting evidence that the two-edged sword of modern technology may be creating a technological world which, instead of enhancing life on this planet, could be making it unbearable (and unlivable!).
One area, however, that 20th-century technology would seem to deserve credit for opening some dramatically revealing new studies is in the area of this planet’s weather, and how recent findings would seem to lead to the conclusion that air, electricity, ions, weird winds, sunspots, etc., have a greater effect on human health, nutrition, moods, etc., than was thought in the past. Those Life Scientists seeking new challenges should find this area of study fascinating.
1.2 Our Fabulous Body Intelligence
This new field of scientific investigation of how weather affects living things has been given the name of “biometeorology.” The findings so far show that when the weather changes, the body wisdom quickly makes changes in the body—adjusts our marvelous internal body systems to keep the vital functions at the constant level necessary for life. All the body’s functions give evidence of marvelous intelligence, prevision, and provision, and nowhere is this better exemplified than in the living body’s master thermostat called the “hypothalamus.” Working faster than the most advanced modern computer, this temperature control system of the brain adjusts the body to external changes of cold or heat with lightning speed. It, and other body control systems, make possible the seasonal acclimation process of living bodies. This entire process of adjusting and switching the entire metabolism if living bodies from one season to another, or to sudden hocking changes in the weather during a mid-season, should show even the most hardened skeptic that the wisdom that created the living body and maintains it is (and always will be) greater than the conscious mind of man can conceive. Our duty, according to Hygiene/Life Science philosophy, is to learn all we can about it and how it works, but to never lose our awe and respect for it.
But these natural responses of the inner body wisdom to sustained or changing weather conditions can be hammered, and interfered with by a myriad of external and internal factors and conditions. One analogy of the living body would be to liken it to a fine electric motor that someone drops a wrench in. The wrench stops the motor though the electric power that ran the motor is still here ready to do its job of starting the motor when the wrench is removed. We can, for purposes of analogy only liken the marvelous, intelligent life force that “builds” and runs the human body to the electric force of the motor. And, we can liken such things as the weather, wrong diet, drugs, etc., as the wrenches that thwart the body wisdom in its work. Life Scientists should include the weather, and its influence on living bodies, in their studies on nutrition.
We constantly hear people say that they “can’t take the weather as well as they used to when they were younger.” But, the cause is not their age in years, per se, but the accumulated wrongs done to their bodies over a period of years. Many of these wrongs are self-inflicted, but not all. There is very little we can do to change the weather, and evidence is mounting that certain weather conditions can have deleterious effects on the living body, causing such maladies as migraine headaches, depression, heart irregularities, metabolic disruptions, and a host of other ills. The body, and its governing wisdom, though astounding in its capabilities and sensitive adjustments, cannot dominate he external environment (like it reigns over the internal environment), except to a very limited extent. Even the culmination of some of this century’s most vaunted technology, such as NASA’s space shuttle, must pay obeisance to the weather, as happened recently with the voyage of Space Shuttle Columbia, when it was forced to stay in earth orbit an extra day due to very strong cross-winds at the prime landing site.
1.3 Natural Weather and Manmade Weather Affect Health and Nutrition
Theoretically it seems possible (even probable) that the present “arms race,” with its continued nuclear explosions (one by Russia in the sixty-megaton range!), may have already upset nature’s delicate balance at the electronic level. And, some of these weird winds, and strange weather patterns all over the planet, in these hectic, closing years of the twentieth century, may be nature’s way of trying to restore the atomic and electronic balance! If either of the so-called “super-powers” have done any investigation into whether or not their continued insane atomic blasts have disrupted nature at the atomic and electronic level, they are keeping their findings well hidden. And, of course, in addition to this new manmade atmospheric pollution and disruption, nature has to contend with natural pollution—such as the recent catastrophic volcano eruption in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Incalculable tons of molten ash and other volcanic debris were exploded into the upper atmosphere changing the immediate weather picture around the world, according to meteorologists!
And, as far as humans on this planet are concerned, our natural atmosphere is our most vital natural resource, for we must breathe it all the days and nights of our lives. And, the electromagnetic condition of the atmosphere has been shown (by recent biometeorology research) to exert probable and significant effects on life on this planet! As this century draws to a close, evidence is mounting that man has (over the years) with sometimes good intentions, but with seldom any thought of future consequences, probably interfered in the natural environment so much that the natural electronic balance may have been vastly disrupted to the detriment of life on this planet. Nuclear explosions are the latest and greatest madness in tampering with the natural balance of our environment. Technologically-advanced “civilization” does not necessarily mean a culturally-advanced one!
We can, to a limited extent, help the body’s adjustment to external environmental conditions (sudden weather changes, etc.), with artificial “microclimates” of our 20th-century technology. But, as in the use of anything artificial, this again proves to be a two-edged sword. The best and most astounding piece of “machinery” human beings can have is their own bodies. And these marvelous systems of living equipment have their natural rhythms, their natural systems of adjustment, etc.,” to maintain certain standard levels of function within the body. These can be interfered with by artificial climates, etc. However, in some conditions of impaired health and disrupted nutritional (metabolic) functions, the temporary use of artificial climates has proven to have a temporary helpful influence. But, our bodies were designed by an incredible, invisible power and wisdom to respond naturally to weather conditions. These natural responses can be thwarted and weakened by artificial (technological) conditions.