Planetary Overload: Global Environmental Change and the Health of the Human Species

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Cambridge University Press, 7 oct. 1993 - 352 páginas
The human species faces a new threat to its health--perhaps to its survival. Our burgeoning numbers, the spread of technology, and our conspicuous consumption are overloading Earth's capacity to replenish and repair itself. Taking a unique perspective, Planetary Overload forcefully points out the consequences to human health of ongoing degradation of Earth's ecosystems. In a broad-based, accessible analysis, A.J. McMichael examines current ecological disruptions--land degradation, ozone depletion, temperature increases, and loss of genetic diversity through the extinction of species, among others--and compellingly demonstrates their potentially disastrous results, including food shortages, new and intensified disease patterns, rising seas, mass refugee problems, and cancers, blindness, and immune suppression from increased ultraviolet radiation. While other books on the subject analyze only the environmental impact of these problems, McMichael takes his analysis to an entirely new and disturbing extreme: he relates each of these insidious processes back to its ultimate impact on human health. He thoroughly considers these problems--and their scientific uncertainties--within a broad evolutionary, biological, social, and economic context. He also explores the underlying problems contributing to environmental breakdown, especially the relations between the world's rich and poor. This eloquent and alarming book will be of intense interest to environmentalists, public health professionals, policy makers, environmental studies and human ecology scholars, and anyone wishing a lucid, rational assessment of today's pressing ecological concerns. A. J. McMichael is the chair of the Australian Government's Environmental Health Committee and the co-author of The LS Factor: Lifestyle and Health (Penguin, 1987).
 

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Índice

First things
17
The ecological framework
39
The health of populations
56
ancient and modern
82
Population increase poverty and health
108
Greenhouse warming and climate change
132
The thinning ozone layer
174
exposure
181
loaves and fishes
203
forests food and Pharmaceuticals
238
The growth of cities
259
conceptual blocks
294
relationships
313
The way ahead
326
Glossary
339
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