AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SUSTAINABILITY
Heading: Society Topic: Health
Human health is one of the best indicators of whether our society is sustainable, that is whether the present generation can meet its needs and whether we are putting future generations at risk. The signs today are not good.
- 25% of preventable poor heath is caused by environmental factors. Most of those affected are the poor, and 2/3 are children.
- 30% of disease is from poor household environments (sanitation, water, indoor air pollution, overcrowding).
- 1.3 billion people lack clean water; 2 billion lack sanitation.
- Indoor air pollution affects 1 billion women and children.
- 1.3 billion people live with air pollution above safe limits.
The globalization and increasing crowding of the human population, with millions travelling around the world and coming and going from the largest cities to rural hamlets, has increased the threats of global pandemics. AIDS continues to spread, fostered by changing morality, poor education and inadequate health services. Emerging diseases occasionally hit the headlines. The threat of another influenza pandemic like that of 1918, perhaps from the mutation of the H5N1 bird flu now spreading inexorably around the world, is very high, and is taken extremely seriously by epidemiologists and public health officials. In a worst case scenario, a highly lethal flu could kill up to 20% of the world population directly, and the economic and social disruption that might follow could kill many more.
REFERENCES AND SOURCES