With the spread of droughts, flooding and agricultural decline, one can easily understand why fears of reduced access to drinking water, cereal crops and the threat of infectious diseases affect our sense of well-being. One might also predict a dramatic rise in the incidence of stress-related psychiatric disorders and depression, as well as physical manifestations of stress such as asthma and hypertension, as living conditions deteriorate.
The health consequences of a changing environment are numerous and can have both direct and indirect consequences. For example, the direct physical health effects of floods include: mortality (injuries, infectious diseases, poisoning and diseases related to physical and emotional stress).
Indirect effects result from the events affecting other systems in ways that cause human injury and disease. Examples of indirect effects are: reduced nutritional status (especially among children), increases in respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases (including cholera) because of the crowding of survivors, mental health problems (often protracted), and, for floods, increases in water-related diseases from disruption of water supply or sewage systems and exposure to hazardous chemicals or pathogens released from storage sites and waste disposal. Ultimately, environmental problems are reflections of human insecurities that have significant impacts on human health and well-being and it is in addressing these insecurities that contributes to part of the solution to environmental challenges.
Our related activities
In June 2012 the international policymaking community, scientists, the private sector, NGOs and other groups gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, where IHDP launched the first Inclusive Wealth Report. |Read more
Extended Deadline: 15 May 2013
The IHDP Secretariat's Writing Contest is open again! Young scholars are invited to take part and write an article for the third issue of the Dimensions magazine, to be published mid 2013. The issue will focus on the human dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals that have been widely discussed in the context of the Rio+20 summit. The magazine is directed towards a wider audience, including non-scientists interested in the topic. Upon expiry of the submission deadline, the Secretariat will select up to three winners to be awarded cash prizes - and will publish their work in the magazine (print and online).
8 February 2013 | Read more
Cities are ecological spaces. They are ecosystems packed with trees and vegetation that comprise an urban forest, birds, insects, small mammals, water and more. They are connected to suburban and rural areas along ecological gradients. And human well-being and effective urban design is intimately connected to the health of urban ecosystems. This Blogspace www.thenatureofcities.com is a collective of writers and is devoted to conversation about cities as ecological spaces … about the nature of cities.
12 July 2012 | Read more
The world watched in horror on March 11 as the fifth-largest earthquake on record slammed the Tohuku and Kanto regions of Japan, and has remained transfixed as a series of natural and unnatural disasters have followed in its wake. Read more on why Japan should look at traditional land-management practices for a long-term sustainable reconstruction.
27 April 2012 | Read more