Human health will be increasingly threatened if the world does not take urgent measures to curb and repair the serious damage caused to the environment, the UN warned today by publishing the most comprehensive and rigorous assessment on The global environmental state.

Here are some key facts:

  • Antimicrobial resistance could become one of the leading causes of death in 2050 due to water pollution.
  • The authors say that the world has, at its disposal, the science, technology, and finances necessary to avoid greater risks.
  • If 2% of GDP is allocated to green investments, climate impact and loss of ecosystems will be reduced, while maintaining projected economic growth.

The emblematic report of UN Environment, prepared during the last five years by a team of 250 scientists and experts from more than 70 countries, indicates that either we drastically increase environmental protections or millions of premature deaths could occur in mid-century cities and regions of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

The sixth edition of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) report warns that antimicrobial resistance will become one of the leading causes of death by 2050 due to contamination of freshwater bodies and that endocrine disruptors will affect male and female fertility, as well as childhood neurological development.

In this regard, a scientist and environmental writer, Gioietta Kuo Petravic, highlights some important points about sustainable development policies. As an environmental writer, she has over 100 environmental articles in both English and Chinese. Kuo argues, “the world has at its disposal the science, technology, and finances necessary to move towards sustainable development, although there is still more support from the public, business, and political leaders who cling to obsolete models of production and development.” She has published prolifically in World Future Review, , but recently her articles have appeared in English in Stanford website MAHB ( Millennial Alliance on Humanity and Biosphere) - the web initiated by the famous Paul Ehrlich who is a pioneer in world population matters. In Chinese, her articles has been published in almost every issue of the important magazine. WORLD ENVIRONMENT, Beijing, of the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection. Being a governmental magazine, it is read by many government officials who make decisions on policies of the Chinese government. In addition, of course, it is read by the vast masses of educated Chinese who would be interested in the health problems resulting from the various environmental phenomena affecting the world today.

Gioietta Kuo has written on various aspects of the environment and we can only list here a few of her more succinct articles:

-“The Bee, Part I: Dance of the bees
The Bee, Part II: Disappearance of the bees, What we can do to help
The Bees, Part III: Future outlook for the Bee with self pollination, human pollination, synthetic biology and robot bees.” Jan 2018

The bee is the major pollinator of the food we plant and eat. Kuo is concerned about the growing disappearance of the bees due to wide use of insecticides like neonicotinoids. She writes about the future outlook and what we can do to help to preserve the bee..

  • Plastic pollution of our oceans “ July 2019

We are polluting our oceans that is poisoning many sea animals like the whales. Microplastics in small sizes are ingested by sea animals at all levels of the ocean. Eventually this enters our food chain and is harmful to human health. Kuo points out the urgency of good waste management and stop this pollution

  • Yet another emerging global crisis - homelessnes”August 2019

Gioietta Kuo is concerned with this growing phenomenon which is polluting our environment and causing diseases like typhus. Much education in local policy making is needed apart from wise societal management. At the moment, much of untreated human waste goes straight into the Pacific. Health experts like Dr Drew Pinsky warns that the present homelessness if unchecked could lead to diseases like bubonic plague. Horrors upon horrors!!!!!

Policy options

The projection of a healthy future, with healthy people, is based on replacing the development model of "grow now, clean later" with an economic model "zero waste" for the year 2050.

According to the report, if countries allocate green investments equivalent to 2% of GDP, they would produce long-term growth as high as currently projected, but with less impact on climate change, water scarcity and loss of ecosystems

At present, the world is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 or 2050. Urgent measures are required since any delay in climate action will increase the cost of achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement or reverse progress achieved so far.

The report advises adopting less meat-intensive diets and reducing food waste. If actions are not taken, it will be necessary to increase food production by 50% to meet the demand of between 9,000 and 10,000 million inhabitants of the planet in 2050. According to the publication, 33% of the world's food is wasted, and 56% of those waste is generated in industrialized countries.

The unprecedented urbanization of today can present an opportunity to increase the well-being of citizens while reducing their environmental footprint, if best practices of governance, land use planning, and green infrastructure are adopted. Additionally, strategic investment in rural areas would reduce the pressures that motivate migration.

The report also calls for action to stop the flow of 8 million tons of plastic waste that reaches the oceans every year. While this problem has received more attention in recent years, there is still no global agreement to address it.

The authors report advances in the collection of environmental statistics, particularly in the field of geospatial data, and highlight that there is great potential to boost knowledge through big data and the strengthening of cooperation between public allies and private for data collection.

According to the authors, policy interventions that address complete systems, such as energy, food, and waste – rather than specific problems, such as water pollution – can be much more effective.

For example, a stable climate and clean air are interconnected results; Climate mitigation measures to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement would cost around $22 billion, but reducing air pollution would bring cumulative health benefits of up to $54 billion.

The report shows that there are already policies and technologies to design new development paths that avoid risks, and what is currently lacking is the willingness to implement policies and technologies at a sufficient speed and scale. The fourth UN Environment Assembly must be the opportunity for policymakers to face challenges and seize opportunities for a better future for humanity to produce health and prosperity for all people. 

Author's Bio: 

Brooke Whistance perspicacious columnist, writer, and blogger, always engrossed to help youth and women to reach their goals. Her focus has been on writing, producing and editing stories on lifestyle, tech, business, interesting personalities, entrepreneurs, culture, the environment, and social issues. You can always find her @IamBrooke94.