Thursday, April 22, 2010

Women and the Environment


By Kathleen Rogers

Climate change is a critical issue in the 21st century, and as we observe Women’s History Month we should bear in mind the effect of the environment on women. Women make up the majority of the earth’s population, and are most vulnerable to changes in climate and environment.

“The poor are not living in industrialized countries where the environment is distant -- where you have to go out to appreciate it. Our lives depend upon it," said Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

Problems such as air pollution, contaminated water, lack of adequate sanitation, disease vectors and degraded ecosystems are all risk factors for women and their children. In 2005, 1.1 billion people lacked access to safe and affordable drinking water, nearly 20 percent of the earth’s population, while 40 percent of the earth’s population lacked clean sanitation. Approximately 1.8 million children die every year as a result of diarrhea caused by lack of clean water and proper sanitation. That is an average of 4,500 children per day.

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