Ecological and Human Health in Rural Communities


Environmental exposures to chemicals and microbes in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the objects we touch are now recognized to be responsible for 90% of all human illness. This suggests that well-documented health disparities within and between nations have significant geographic and ecological as well as socioeconomic dimensions that must be addressed in order to secure human well-being at local to global scales. While urbanization is a primary driver of global change, it is widely acknowledged that urbanization is dependent on large-scale resource extraction and agriculture in rural communities. Despite considerable evidence linking human industrial and agricultural activities to ecological health (i.e. health of an ecosystem including the non-human organisms that inhabit it), very little data are available directly linking exposure to environmental pollution and human health in rural areas, which have repeatedly been identified as subject to the most extreme health disparities...