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10 Necessary Factors for a Sustainable Environment

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1. Combating poverty is a central goal because poverty reduces access to healthcare, education, and other essential components of development.

2. Reducing resource consumption is a global consideration, but wealthy regions are responsible for most of the world’s consumption. For example, the United States and Europe have less than 15 percent of the world’s population, but these regions consume about half of the world’s metals, food, energy, and other resources.

3. Population growth leads to ever-greater resources demands, because all people need some resources. Better family planning, ensuring that all children are wanted, is a matter of justice, resource supply, and economic and social stability for states as well as for families.

4. Healthcare, especially for children and mothers, is essential for a productive life. Underdeveloped areas can lead to disease, accidents, respiratory and digestive impairments, and other conditions. Without health, economic security is a risk, and poverty can persist through generations.

5. Sustainable cities are key because over half of humanity now lives in cities. Sustainable development involves ensuring that cities are healthy places to live and that they cause minimal environmental impact.

6. Environmental policy needs to guide decision making in local and national governments, to ensure that environmental quality is protected before it gets damaged, and to set agreed-upon rules for resource use.

7. Protection of the atmosphere is essential for minimizing the rate of climate change and for reducing impacts of air pollution on people, plants, and infrastructure.

8. Combating deforestation and protection biodiversity go together because much of the world’s biodiversity is in forests. We also depend on forests for water resources, climate regulation, and resources including food, wood, medicines, and building materials. Other key zones of biodiversity include coral reefs, wetlands, and coastal areas.

9. Combating desertification and drought through better management of water resources can save farms, ecosystems, and lives. Often removal of vegetation and soil loss make drought worse, and a few bad rainfall years can convert a landscape to desertlike conditions.

10. Agriculture and rural development affect the lives of the nearly half of humanity who don’t live in cities. Improving conditions for billions of rural people, including more sustainable farming systems, soil stewardship to help stabilize yields, and access to lands, can help reduce populations in urban slums.

– Principles of Environmental Science: Inquiry & Application
Cunningham/Cunningham, 8th Edition

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