The connection between incisive poverty and environmental degradation - Essay Example

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Various factors contribute to environmental degradation globally. One issue that various reports has identified as requiring urgent attention since it threatens sustainable management of the environment, is the issue of poverty and its relationship to environmental degradation…
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The connection between incisive poverty and environmental degradation
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Download file to see previous pages In this case, reports such as World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) and another one commissioned by UNEP titled Global Environment Outlook 2000 (Clarke 1999), identify poverty as a major cause of environmental degradation. However, there is little evidence to connect poverty to environmental degradation since the poor suffer from environmental degradation with human activities and behaviours harming and ruining the natural environment. In this case, it is important to dispel this myth and identify the real causes of environmental degradation. According to World Bank’s 2008 estimates, about 1.29 billion people lived on less than USD $ 1.25 a day with more than 75% of this population living in the rural areas (World Bank 2012). On the other hand, the United Nation (1997) estimated 1.9 billion hectares of land as degraded worldwide as a result of human factors related to unsustainable land management practices and other various land management practices. In the current society, about 25% of the world’s population is directly dependent on degraded land, which highlights a worrying trend that requires being adequately addressed (Bai et al. 2008). More worrying is the fact that the world loses about 5-8 hectares of land each year to degradation (Scherr 1999). Significantly, most of this land that is lost to degradation is in developing nations, which have a high number of poor citizens. However, is there evidence that poverty is linked to environmental degradation? Vosti and Reardon (1997) provide a model to study the link between poverty and environmental degradation as shown in Figure 1. From this model, poverty is an asset that is viewed as a combination of various components that include natural resources, human resources, on-farm resources, and community resources, which have a relationship with the sustainability efforts that communities use to manage the environment. The closest this theoretical model goes to connect environmental degradation to poverty is related to the lack of sufficient resources that can help enhance sustainability efforts by investing in conservation efforts. In this case, the model does not associate poverty with high utilisation of non-renewable resources that are scarce, damage of important renewable resources such as forests, and a high generation of non-recyclable waste that cannot be assimilated easily or broken down properly. In effect, the model fails to link poverty with these three factors that contribute to environmental degradation. Consequently, it is important to identify the link, if any, between poverty and these factors that contribute to environmental degradation. (Vosti and Reardon, 1997). With regard to the use of non-renewable resources, it is common knowledge that people living in conditions characterised by incisive poverty live in dwellings that use reclaimed materials from waste and use little, if any, cement to construct their houses considering that cement requires high input of energy input. In addition, people living in incisive poverty rely on public means of transport, or even walk or use bicycles, which do not contribute to environmental degradation. On the other hand, using public transport ensures that the average amount of oil consumed per person is maintained at a low, which is an effective way of conserving non-renewable resources and consequently avoiding environmental degradation. On average, electricity consumption levels of these individuals is low, which consequently makes their consumption of fossil fuel from oil, gas, natural resources, and coal less than the consumption by rich people. With regard to t ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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