Researches show that the total population of the world is increasing at the rate of 270,000 per day or just less than 200 people per minute (Andersen and Taylor 387). Sufficient production is needed to provide the vital energy for living organisms. Consumption rate and waste release increase with the expansion of production. These conditions provide growth of the pollution levels, since environment resists to the unlimited growth of the population. Abovementioned aspects represent health threats and occur mostly in remote highly populated areas. Population, health and environment are studied separately from the functionalist, conflict and symbolic perspectives. These perspectives exist as the influence forms of the society interaction. Main objectives of the research are to explore these aspects’ correlation and to examine ways that will help to avoid health hazards and threats for normal conditions of the environment and population well-being. The following questions should be answered: a) How do countries achieve growth or reduction in population in order to decrease mortality and morbidity rates and elude environmental threats? b) What measures should be taken to decrease the negative effect on environment?
To study the dynamics and reasons of the population growth, the functionalist approach should be taken to examine the sequence of production and reproduction (Loreau 15). Loreau uses the following equation of the exponential growth of consumers “C = A + Eg = P + R + Ex + Eg” (17).
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The equation explains the cycle connection between the consumption of the ingested energy (C), assimilation of the energy (A), no assimilation of the energy (Eg), production of new tissues and new individuals are combined in a product (P), respiration (R) and excretion of metabolic products (Ex) (18). This fact demonstrates that the living organism uses but not restores natural resources.
Structural-functionalist perspective on environment raises people’s awareness on negative consequences of human actions (Mooney, Knox, and Schacht 405). Statistics demonstrate that countries that suffer mostly from shortages of water, food and farmland are developing countries with the highest population growth rate (449). The structural-functionalist perspective on population examines how changes in the society affect health conditions and provide the highest death rate among infants and women of childbearing age (445). Unaffordable treatment and medicine industrialization are the common causes of chronic noninfectious illnesses and diseases. At the same time, unintended or unrecognized social patterns, such as emergency drug consumption, which provokes the development of variants of drug resistance (34). Racial and ethnic minorities are considered to have higher rates of infection illnesses, since they are more likely to lack sanitation and clean water (Witt 68).
Conflict perspective on healthcare focuses on issues involving inequality and medical organizations’ interests in their own development (Stoley 30). As a result, conflict perspective on population proves that its growth results from the pervasive poverty and the subordinate position in many less developed countries (Mooney et al. 446). Less developed nations are exploited by wealth nations, which consume more natural resources and generate higher amount of pollution. In addition, the spread of urban and suburban areas increase danger from wild life species. For example, if a nearby forest is demolished and highway is built-up on its place location, the deer, which lived in the forest, can be met on the urbanized road and can cause car accidents and injuries (446). Statistics indicates that “far more people killed and injured in car accidents than by violent crimes” (454).
As a well-known fact is that population growth results into the city urbanization and increases environmental pollution, which results into global warming and displacement of ozone layer (Mooney et al. 146). Moreover the affect of global warming is expected to be felt more severely by poor developing nations on grounds of environmental injustice (Stoley 31). These are ways in which powerful groups and wealthy corporations influence health-related policies and laws through promotion of pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, and providing less developed society with unaffordable medications (Witt ch.14). However, onr should not forget that globalization of the developed technologies helps to monitor and report outbreaks of diseases, prescribe inalienable treatment and share medical knowledge and findings (Mooney et al. 405).
Symbolic perspective on population focuses on how the society influences healthcare and illness and how they are displayed through media (Mooney et al. 446). Healthcare does not provide quality treatment, since overall curing is focused at individual levels of illness discussion between the physician and patient (Stoley 31). Symbolic perspective on environment focuses on how elaborated strategies of large industries successfully portray images of the “environmentally friendly” products, which are socially damaging and are not profitable (Mooney et al. 407).
Health, environment and population coexist in the cause-effect framework (Witt 56). Driving force of this correlation is based on the population growth, economic development and technology expansion (“World population monitoring” 55). The expansion of production and the growth of consumption and waste releases are reasons of the pressure, which causes natural hazards of the weather, shortages of resources’ availability and increasing of the pollution levels (Witt 57). As a result, human organism is exposed to dangerous levels of the absorbed doses that target weakly-developed organs. Increasing morbidity rate and mortality rate are the effect of the above mentioned cycle reactions (“World population monitoring” 55).
Moreover, there were some improvements in the population, environmental and health conditions. In some well-developed countries, the population growth is confronted and dealt with issues: a) monetary rewards are given to women to persuade them to have more children; b) immigration is encouraged; c) policies for women to combine child rearing with employment are implemented (Mooney et al. 454). On the other hand, following measures are implemented to reduce population rate: a) access to family planning services are given to families in order to prevent the abortion rate, ameliorate families’ financial status and reduce cases when children are raised up by one parent; b) by providing social programs to encourage women for education and employment that break the stereotype of the woman as a mother and housewife (458). Often unmet demand for the family planning is the highest in those rural areas where there is a threatening existence of unique plants and animals (Stoley 57).
Healthcare improvements are based on following aspects: a) provision of the Medicaid coverage for people below federal poverty level; b) the creation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to expand the health coverage to children without insurance; c) the provision of the medical and living expenses for people with work-related injuries and illnesses (Mooney et al. 65).
Basic environmental improvements are grounded on following measures: a) cleaning and redeveloping of the abandoned sites as a key for urban revitalization, since these actions provide jobs, attract more business and help to curb the urban sprawl; b) implementing programs of the revitalization and improvement of houses in economically depressed neighborhoods attracting residents and businesses; c) the creation of non-profit organizations for environmental renovation opening other care facilities; d) leveling off abandoned urban districts, thus returning land to nature (Mooney et al. 460).
Although population growth is a contributing factor for environmental problems, patterns of production and consumption are crucial as effects of population environment. According to Mooney et al. “population growth results in high unemployment rate and civil unrests and wars” (467).
In attempt to improve their living conditions, groups of unemployed young people resort in violence. Still progression in a birth rate growth will help more workers to support elderly retirees to maintain a productive economy in the future (467). Mooney et al. calls this progression a “demographic transition” (467). Abovementioned notion is based on the change in human conditions from high mortality and high fertility to low mortality and low fertility (Stoley 35). If the country chooses to increase population the growth, it should expand food production, since increasing birthrates occurs as population adopted sedentary lifestyle and came dependent on food consumption (47). This dependents raise up healthcare problems of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses related to eating disorders.
Population is the core problem if dealt with will render the solution to all other problems irrelevant. Distribution of population from urban to rural areas can be effective as a drastic measure to improve environmental conditions and solve healthcare issues. Following actions should be taken to achieve these goals: a) the promotion of the agricultural development in rural areas for improved child nutrition and food preservation; b) the encouragement of industries and businesses to move to rural areas; c) developing transportation and communication systems in rural areas. In addition, to reduce the dependence on natural resources for livelihood and ease population pressures on local ecosystem wide varieties of interventions should be projected for better control and preservation of resources. To address the environmental population and health problems, single-sector intervention will not work, but synergy creation is needed to solve them.
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