According to the U.S.A. Today (Borenstein, 2007), the latest IPCC report states that within twenty years "hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water." And while safe drinking water may not be available to those millions of people, tens of millions of others will be "flooded out of their homes each year" as rising temperatures cause polar ice caps to melt. "Tropical diseases like malaria will spread" and in another forty years or so polar bears will only be seen in zoos, as their habitats (ice floes) will have disappeared.
Initially, food will be in good supply because of longer growing seasons in the northern regions of the world, but in time, starvation will become a reality for "hundreds of millions" of people, as the land on which crops are grown will be drought-stricken. Presently, changes in climate are having an affect on "physical and biological systems on every continent." And those changes are happening "faster than we expected" according to Patricia Romero Lankao of the national Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, a co-author of the report who was quoted in the U.S.A. Today article.
Indeed the present conditions are bad, and some of the health-related problems caused by man-made global warming (and included in the IPCC report) include "...more acidified oceans, loss of wetlands, bleaching of coral reefs, and increases in allergy-inducing pollen" along with dramatic changes in species' habits and habitats." The health of species is a reflection of the good or bad health of the planet.
Another of the hundreds of co-authors, Terry Root of Stanford University, was quoted in the U.S.A. Today article as saying, "We truly are standing at the edge of mass extinction" of species. Smog in U.S. cities will get worse, the IPCC information asserts, and "ozone-related deaths from climate (will) increase by approximately 4.5%" by the middle of the 2050s.
The IPCC issued its first climate change report in 1990, a report which "outlined risks of warming" and had a role in motivating many UN governments to agree to a 1992 UN "climate convention"; at that convention a "non-binding goal of stabilizing greenhouse gasses at 1990 levels by 2000" was established, according to Reuters (April 10, 2007), but was not met. The IPCC released another report in 1995, which stated: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." As a result of this report, a 1997 international agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions - called the Kyoto Protocol - was signed by 35 industrial nations (not including the United States). The Kyoto Protocol called for those 35 nations to cut greenhouse gases to "5% below 1990 levels by 2008-12," Reuters reports. The IPCC issued another report in 2001, stating that, "new and stronger evidence" linked "human activities to rising temperatures" (Reuters, 2007).
A working definition of the health attributes - an object closely associated with or belonging to a specific thing - of the planet we live on is "Mother Earth" which depicts a nurturing, healthy place for all living things. As mentioned in the material above, the health of the planet is in great jeopardy.
5. CONSTRUCT a MODEL CASE:
The World Health Organization (WHO) (www.who.int/child-adolescent-health/right.htm) has a section in its Web site called the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (CAH). Imagine if every nation on Planet Earth had the same goals as the WHO when it came to the health of children. This is a model case that may seem idealistic, but when enough people support a good idea, that idea can become reality. Meantime, the WHO offers a "firm conviction" that all children and all adolescents "...should have the means and the opportunity to develop to their full potential."
The model case in this instance would be that all countries - democratic nations or ruled by autocratic dictators - would adopt a working strategy that, like the WHO, would offer assurance of "life, survival, maximum development, access to health and access to health services..." To all children. The United Nations has a "Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)"; and among those rights, which the WHO supports, are the right to education, the right to health and health services, and the right to an "...adequate standard of living."
Also, the CRC model for all nations should include the "principle of non-discrimination" and that all political decisions should be made "...in the best interests of the child." Article 6 of the CRC establishes the "right to life, survival and development," while Article 12 embraces "respect for the views of the child."
The WHO / CRC model is partly based on the need to keep children healthy. One does not need to go far to find terribly bad health news about children, and hence the overwhelming and urgent need for a model that nations can follow. For example, the WHO points out that four million children under the age of 15 have become infected with the HIV virus since the epidemic started several years ago. The HIV progresses "quickly to AIDS in children," the WHO site explains. And "an estimated 10.3 million young people aged 15-24 are currently living with HIV / AIDS, and half of all new infections - over 7,000 daily - are occurring among young people," the WHO points out. What better evidence should the world's nations need - when it comes to enacting a model that protects children's health - than the terrible toll that disease takes on children?
6. BORDERLINE, CONTRARY...ILLEGITIMATE CASES: The World Book Encyclopedia: (Field Enterprises 1959) (Volume 8) (p. 3335). "Health Protection: [photograph of a man spraying a cloud of insecticide / DDT into a river] Government Agent spraying a River to kill mosquitoes and their eggs. Malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases are carried by infected mosquitoes. Draining swamps and effective spraying have reduced disease rates in many cities."
This encyclopedia of course is circa 1950s, when it was believed that DDT was the answer to the mosquito problem. However, what is known today about DDT clearly leads an objective observer to believe that the government was ignorant about the unhealthful nature of this pesticide. However, according to Stanford University the widespread use of DDT resulted in a very unhealthy environment for birds. The chemical DDT got into the food chain and caused the thinning of eggshells. "DDT...alter[s] the bird's calcium metabolism in a way that results in think eggshells...[resulting] in the decimation of the Brown Pelican populations in much of North America and the extermination of the Peregrine Falcon in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada." The thin shells of Golden and Bald Eagles, and White Pelicans, were also weakened by the chemicals of DDT, until the pesticide was banned, and now these bird species are coming back into good health.
Another illegitimate case where "health" as a concept is abused is found in contemporary political reporting. Isn't it a good idea for a nation to try to secure a healthy situation for its children? That seems obvious, but politics can change logic into confusion, in many instances, and healthcare is no exception to that general rule. A story in the Los Angeles Times (Alonso-Zaldivar 2007) ("Bush ready to veto children's healthcare bill") indicates that, President Bush will likely veto healthcare legislation approved by the Congress. The bill is called "State Children's Health Insurance Program" and while it will cost about $35 billion over the next five years, Congress wants to fund the program by raising the tax on cigarettes (an unhealthy habit that is the possible source of revenue for many healthcare solutions). Bush will veto the bill he says because it will "...lay the groundwork for government-run national healthcare." But all of the candidates for president from the Democrat party are in support of national healthcare anyway, so this is not any radical departure from the national debate on healthcare.
But meantime, the bill is intended not just to help poor families provide health insurance coverage for their kids, but it would help some middle-class families who now face annual medical insurance rates of around $12,000. When middle class or low-income families face health crises with their children, the burden falls on "society as a whole," writes Alonso-Zaldivar in the Times; so in the end, it may be prudent for the federal government to provide healthcare coverage for those above-mentioned families. Still, the very idea of a president vetoing legislation that would provide health coverage for approximately 10 million children seems rather unbelievable, but politics can make a good thing - when it comes to health - go bad in a hurry. Hence, this section on illegitimate health concepts includes petty reactions from politicians that stand in the way of giving a child a decent chance for a healthy future.
7. IDENTIFY ANTECEDENTS and CONSQUENCES of HEALTH:
An antecedent - "something that is responsible for a result" according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary - for poor human health is…