Health Consequences of Environmental Degradation and Social Injustice Martin Donohoe, M. D., F. A. C. P
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Martin Donohoe, M.D., F.A.C.P. Am I Stoned? A 1999 Utah anti-drug pamphlet warns: “Danger signs that your child may be smoking marijuana include excessive preoccupation with social causes, race relations, and environmental issues” Our Home Perspective The earth spins at 1,038 mph at the equator, between 700 mph and 900 mph at mid-latitudes The earth rotates around sun at 18.5 miles/sec The solar system orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy at 137 miles/sec One rotation per 225 million years Perspective The sun is one of hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy The Milky Way is one of over one hundred billion galaxies in the known universe Ordinary visible matter accounts for only 5% of the universe (95% dark matter/dark energy) The universe may be one of an infinite number of universes The Planets Our Solar System Jupiter = one pixel, Earth = invisible Sun = one pixel, Jupiter = invisible Earth/Moon Seen by Voyager Spacecraft through Saturn’s Rings Portland, Oregon Mount Hood Multnomah Falls, Oregon Chief Seattle “The earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” The natural environment The built environment The social environment Overpopulation Pollution Deforestation Global Warming Agricultural/Fishing Practices Overconsumption / Affluenza Militarization Causes of Environmental Degradation Maldistribution of Wealth National and Global Political and Economic Institutions Poor education Media manipulation and inaccurate reporting Unbalanced political influence Citizen apathy Consequences of Environmental Degradation Increased poverty and overcrowding Famine Weather extremes Species loss Medical illnesses Infectious diseases Consequences of Environmental Degradation Death (40% of world’s yearly deaths linked to water, air, and soil pollution) War Ecological footprint (22 hectares/person) exceeds Earth’s biological capacity (16 hectares/person) Malthusian chaos and disaster Tragedy of the Commons Economic Costs of Environmental Diseases Estimated at $132-165 billion/year in the U.S. alone ($1.25-$2.0 billion in Oregon) Does not count the psychological and emotional costs of the human suffering involved for the victims, their families, and their communities Economic Costs of Environmental Diseases: Oregon Adult and childhood asthma: $30 million Childhood asthma: $28 million Adult cardiovascular disease: $342 million Childhood cancer: $9 million Childhood lead exposure: $878 million Birth defects: $3 million Neurobehavioral disorders: $187 million Source: OEC, The Price of Pollution, 2/08 Premature Deaths in the U.S. 10% due to inadequate medical care 60% due to behaviors, social circumstances, and environmental exposures Overpopulation World population - exponential growth 1 billion in 1800 2.5 billion in 1950 6 billion in 2000 7.1 billion in 2013 (1/15 humans ever to live is alive today) est. 9 billion by 2050, 11 billion by 2100 More people added to the planet in the last 40 years than in all previous recorded history Overpopulation Africa, Asia, and Latin America primarily affected Causes: Poverty Women’s rights issues – impaired access to reproductive health care and education, political/legal/economic/social marginalization Urbanization 20-30 million people/year leave rural for urban areas 2007: first time in history that more than half the world’s population live in urban areas The Displaced World migrant population = 42 million Economic, war and environmental refugees Vast majority of refugees hosted in the developing world Urban Sprawl Since the 1960’s America’s metropolitan areas have been consuming land at a rate 4x faster that population growth 6,000 acres of open space lost per day Wallace Stegner “We simply need … wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope” 1. Air pollution: Linfen, China 2. Industrial chemicals: Bhopal, India 3. Mercury: Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia 4. Pesticides: Kasargod, India 5. Chemical weapons/manufacture waste: Dzerhinsk, Russia 6. Organic chemicals: Sumgayit, Azerbaijan 7. Lead: Tianying, China
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