How is environment related to health?
1.1 Energy and environmental issues
The use and supply of energy may be the basis of social development in addition to agriculture and forestry. Human large-scale and universal energy-related activities have had a great impact on the environment. Although energy and environmental issues were initially local, such as mining, transportation, and harmful gas emissions, they have now become regional and global issues. The main impact of electricity consumption on the environment is the generation of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Issues such as these have now become major political issues and the subject of international controversy and norms. It is for this reason that it is necessary for people to solve the problems of energy and environment at the same time.
The inevitable increase in the demand for power generation energy is the main driving force for the demand for fossil fuels. In the 2009 International Energy Outlook (IEO) reference plan, the world’s grid power generation increased by an average of 2.4% annually from 2006 to 2030, with a net increase of 77%. It is estimated that non-OECD countries will contribute nearly 90% of the increase in the world’s total energy demand. Population growth and large-scale industrialization in emerging economies are the two main factors leading to these increases. As it continues to rely on existing coal-fired power plants to generate electricity, it is expected that fossil fuels will remain the main source of primary energy in 2030. Although greenhouse gas emissions are a concern, many energy-consuming countries still use coal to provide safe energy. Fossil fuels contribute approximately 56.6% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Figure The contribution of human activities to greenhouse gases
In 2008, among the global carbon dioxide emissions of the three fossil fuels, although China’s total emissions (21.67%) exceeded the United States (20.22%), its annual per capita CO2 emissions of 4.88 tons were still far lower than that of the United States and Canada. Compared with Australia’s 19.96 tons, 18.82 tons and 17.72 tons; it can also be seen that India’s annual per capita CO2 emissions are only 1.17 tons, which is much lower than the world average of 4.51 tons; in 2008, Brazil, China and India were three. The emissions of these major developing countries accounted for 27.57% of the world’s total emissions. The emissions of the remaining countries in the table are 22.09%. Per capita CO2 emissions in these countries are less than 2.42 tons.
1.2 Environment and health
Energy and a clean environment are essential for sustainable development. Unfortunately, the degradation of the environment and the lack of clean and affordable energy supplies have created an imbalance in development. Proper environmental management can prevent a quarter of preventable diseases that are directly caused by environmental factors. The environment affects our health in many ways-through physical contact, chemical contact, biological factors, and through our related behavior changes to respond to these environmental factors. Air pollution diseases include respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal problems, skin problems, eye problems, heart problems, etc. Every year 13 million people die from diseases caused by preventable environmental problems. Preventing environmental risks, only for the vast majority of developing countries, can save the lives of up to 4 million children every year.
The sustainable development of the environment has become a vital issue worldwide. There is indisputable evidence that human activities are having an impact on the environment. Environmental issues such as water quality, air pollution, and sustainable agricultural production are of great significance to public health.
The environment has a great influence on health. An unhealthy labor force is bound to ① increase medical expenses; ② reduce productivity; poor health of the labor force ③ lead to a decline in the country’s economic growth. Severe weather, climate change affecting food and water supply, and changes in ecosystems are all closely related to global warming and health risks. Climate and weather can have a great impact on health. Deaths caused by natural disasters such as high temperature and floods such as malaria and other existing or emerging infectious diseases threaten human lives. Among them, the poor are the biggest victims, because they do not have a sound medical security system like people in industrialized countries.
According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 25% of global diseases are due to preventable environmental factors. Children are particularly vulnerable because they are more affected than adults, so more serious and extreme consequences will occur. The health of unborn children will also be affected, because the environment can affect genes and organ development. The incidence of disease is unevenly distributed, among which the most vulnerable are children in developing countries and low-income countries. In addition to the traditional threats that children in these countries have to deal with, including lack of access to safe drinking water, poor sanitation conditions, and infectious diseases, they must also endure new and life-threatening environmental risks, such as rapid globalization. The impact of globalization, the wave of urbanization, the transportation of chemicals across borders, and unsustainable consumption.
The environmental performance index is calculated by considering various environmental factors, such as diseases caused by environmental degradation, human water resources, human air quality, water resources in ecosystems, air quality in ecosystems, biodiversity and habitats, forestry, Fisheries, agriculture, climate change, etc. In 2007, Iceland’s per capita electricity consumption was as high as 36853kWh, but its environmental performance index ranked first. As expected, developed countries with sufficient financial resources will have a higher environmental performance index. However, most of the world’s largest economies have very low environmental performance indexes. From this point of view, the environmental performance index depends on the energy structure on which power generation depends. A sustainable solution that does not affect public health and does not harm the environment is to use clean, low-carbon and environmentally friendly renewable energy technologies. If we do not pay attention to environmental protection, it will not only hinder the growth of the global economy and industry, but also cause serious health hazards.