As the gap between rich and poor continues to grow, poverty not only affects the people experiencing it everyday, but it can greatly impact the environment. Poverty puts additional stress on the environment in areas such as; deforestation, waste management and increased population.
Poverty and Public Health:
Natural resources allow the human race to exist and evolve in many different fields. When natural resources are not regulated properly, as a species we overuse to the point of degradation. In regions that poverty is present, deforestation, air pollution and waste management issues increase. It is partially due to lack of information on proper resource management – as many people depend on natural resources for basic survival needs – the resources are used for cooking, heating, housing and crafts. Poverty and public health are an issue in every country, lifting those out of poverty and distributing wealth and opportunity equally is essential for the health of our people and our planet. Let’s look at the detriments on public health for those living in poverty.
Public Health Facts:
- Nearly 1 in 4 deaths is attributed to environmental factors.
- Environmental risk factors such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change, and ultraviolet radiation contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.
- Air pollution is one of the major consequences of poor production techniques while water pollution is a result of poor water management, once again due to lack of knowledge.
- Water pollution deprives soil of nourishing elements, kills off fish, and is extremely harmful to human health.
- More than 16,000 children die globally each day from lack of clean water, medical, air pollution and more. These deaths could be prevented if they had access to clean resources, basic necessities and medical care.
- Older age groups at the second age group most affected by environmental factors.
- Noncommunicable diseases cause 65% of environmental related deaths. These include stroke, heart attack, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases.
- Environmental disease is preventable.
How can I make an impact:
Tier 1: Global Goodness
- Start by increasing your health. Mindfulness in your consumption of foods, personal care products, and resources will lessen the burden on everyone else.
- Educate yourself on the companies you support. Many of the environmental degradation in developing countries is due to big business exploiting their resources, leaving their air, water and soil polluted. Support companies that are working toward protecting public health and the health of the planet.
Tier 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- Volunteer in your community or at a local social services organization. There are many people in our local community that you use a helping hand. Research an organization that speaks to you and give back.
- Look for global initiatives on public health and donate your time and resources to give back.
Tier 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Want to make a bigger impact? Pursue a career in public health.
- Lobby our government to implement more regulations on big businesses that are exploiting people and the planet.