The observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty can be traced back to 17 October 1987. More than 100,000 people gathered at the Trocadéro in Paris to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. The United Nations and world highlight the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with the 2019 theme: “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for human rights and dignity”.

Five years later after 1987, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared October 17 the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. In accord with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed at the Trocadéro in 1948, the UN declared that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirmed the need to deliberately work toward respecting the rights of the poor.

This day presents an opportunity to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, a chance for them to make their concerns heard, and a moment to recognize that poor people are the first ones to fight against poverty. Participation of the poor themselves has been at the center of the Day’s celebration since its very beginning. The commemoration of October 17th also reflects the willingness of people living in poverty to use their expertise to contribute to the eradication of poverty.

Poverty and the environment    

Climate change threatens the world's food supply. Floods and droughts brought on by climate change make it harder to produce food. As a result, the price of food increases, and access becomes more and more limited, putting many at higher risk of hunger. Today over 2 billion people - one third of the global population - are poor or near-poor and face persistent threats to their livelihoods, including from climate change. Estimates indicate that by 2030 more than 100 million people could fall back into extreme poverty due to climate change, while over 200 million people could be displaced due to more frequent and severe climatic disasters.

How Poverty Cause Environmental Degradation?

One way that the environment is affected by poverty is through deforestation. Most of the world’s forests are located in some of the poorest areas on the earth. For fuel and other byproducts, forests become one of the main sources of subsistence survival. When a forest is depleted, people leave and find the next forest area to depend on. Forests provide the world with clean air, in addition to working as “sink holes” that help reduce the drastic climate changes seen in the world today. With the increasing level of deforestation taking place, the environment is taking a heavy blow and finding it difficult to recover. Impoverished communities, unaware of the errant, harmful ways in which they use natural resources, such as forest wood and soil, are continuing the destructive cycle that spirals the environment further downward.

Air pollution is another way in which poverty contributes to environmental degradation. Poor communities lack the proper knowledge when it comes to production techniques. Thus, the ways in which they use resources to help them survive are harmful to the resources around them, and ultimately the world at large. Air pollution is one of the major consequences of poor production techniques. Another health-related impact of climate change is access to clean water. Water pollution is a result of poor water management. Shrinking sources of fresh water, droughts, changes to the water cycle, and few resources for purifying water, all cause less access to clean water and sanitation. Water pollution deprives soil of nourishing elements, kills off fish, and is extremely harmful to human health.

What is the solution?   

The more the global population grows, the more weight is placed on the environment. Every human being consumes their share of resources from the environment, and with so many births originating from poor communities, the burdens placed on the environment grow heavier and heavier each day. In order to help the state of the environment, we must first help the state of the poor and education is a key step. 

Poor regions need to know what the proper and harmless methods are in which they can dispose of their waste.    

They must learn how to tend a healthy and sound agricultural system without the reliance on degraded soil, and other unfit resources. There must be more importance placed on water management and protecting fisheries, as those are essential for the livelihood of many people. In addition, taking action to stop the rampage of deforestation is even more important in order to begin to nourish the environment back to good health.

comments (0)
1 + 18 =

The best of Tired Earth delivered to your inbox

Sign up for more inspiring photos, stories, and special offers from Tired Earth

News Articles Experts Pictures Video Books 360°