Living with Declining Living Standards
Chapter 3: The Threat of Environmental Degradation
INTRODUCTION Environmental degradation involves a daunting range of issues. I will start with a case history of the complex interrelationship between development, increases in population and population density, poverty and environmental degradation. I will then concentrate on threats to ecosystems, ecosystem services and biodiversity. Special attention will be paid to river basins, coastal ecosystems, decreasing water availability due to melting of mountain glaciers and snowfields and threats to bird species and numbers. Discussion of the state of global ecosystems and biodiversity will be informed in part by the 2005 synthesis reports of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’s Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: General Synthesis and Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. A credible argument can be made that global climate change alone will be sufficient to reduce the living standards and quality of life of future generations. Rich and poor will be affected although the poor will be the most vulnerable, since they tend to live in more marginal areas, have access to a narrower range of options and resources (including less government assistance, as illustrated by the weak U.S. responses in 2005 to the poor in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina) and, as in the case with many ethnic minorities, have already lost what resilience they had prior to their incorporation into ‘the modern world.’ A CASE HISTORY: GWEMBE TONGA RESETTLEMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION The environmental degradation caused by the development-induced resettlement of 57 000 Gwembe Tonga may strike readers as an extreme case. It is especially important, however, because it...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.