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Chapter 1 Environment Health and RiskGlobal warming population growth habitat destruction and resource depletion have produced a widely acknowledged environmental crisis These long term environmental pre thioblems are not amenable to quick technical fixes and will require profound social changes for their solutions The environmental crisisHuman beings are altering the basic operations of the earths atmosphere geosphere and biosphere Four prominent biologists have noted with concern that human alteration of earth is substantial and growing Between one third and on half of the land surface has been transformed by human actionsThere is a decline in frog populations around the world The health and reproductive success of amphibians is being damaged by interactions between an increase in the intensity of ultraviolet light traces of globally distributed toxic chemicals competition from introduced predator species and infections caused by virulent fungi and bacteriaDeclining health of frogs birds and thousands of other organisms may be theclearest indication of environmental threats to human health Todays environmental degradation is rapidly creating an unprecedented global crisis The driving forces are population growth and industrialization Human activity increased the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide by nearly 30 doubled the concentration of methane and introduced long lived ozone destroying chlorofluorocarbons into the stratosphere Human and Ecosystem HealthFrom a medical standpoint health is viewed as an attribute of the individual An ecosystem based health perspective takes into account the health related services that the natural environment provides and acknowledges the fundamental connection between an intact environment and human health An ecosystem health stance is a nonanthropocentric holistic worldview increasingly shared by biological scientist In the anthropocentric view of the world humans are the most important of all the species and should have dominion over nature Has been concluded that the earthy is warming and that green house gases are part of the cause Health and the environmentThe health effects of global changes are often indirect and difficult to asses and the quality of evidence for the health related outcomes of global environment change varies widely The health science necessary to understand global environmental change is increasingly interdisciplinary and requires collaboration over long periods among meteorologist chemists biologists agronomists and health scientists
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