Chapter

Health and the environment

Margaret Alston

in Social work and global health inequalities

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9781847421951
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303541 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847421951.003.0004
Health and the environment

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There is no doubt that we are witnessing significant challenges to our environmental certainties. These include the slow erosion of our rivers and waterways, the downgrading of our productive areas, and rising temperatures, which are leading to more insidious challenges to our environment, our climate, and ultimately, to our health and well-being. Thanks to the efforts of environmental activists and concerned scientists, the world is beginning to wake up to the consequences of environmentally destructive practices. However, while there has been a necessary focus on the environmental and economic consequences of potential climate change, there is less systematic attention to the health and human-rights outcomes. This chapter outlines climate change and its social consequences, drawing largely on the particular social and health impacts on Australia consequent on drought, and the links between the local situation and the global construction of climate change. It argues that global humanitarian responses to climate change have been largely crisis driven, and considers a long-term role for social work in this new world of environmental uncertainty.

Keywords: Australia; health; environment; climate change; social work; human rights; social consequences; health impacts

Chapter.  4714 words. 

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