Role of Environmental Human Rights and Our Responsibilities

There is a broad consensus that human beings have the right to enjoy an environment suitable for personal development. In reality, this right is also a duty since it requires for its viability that human activity itself does not impede the enjoyment of this right. It is moving from mere enforceability to the sphere of responsibility and duties.

But to enter into the logic of responsibility implies for those of us who are culturally conditioned to advance towards a cultural change.

In today’s entry, we will carefully analyze our responsibilities towards our environment and nature itself. To do so, we will analyze the different aspects of environmental law and our responsibilities to respect it. Here are the four most vital components of that law.

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Human Responsibility in the Natural Environment

An ecological cultural change is nourished by our modern-day behaviors. Like in many cultures, welcoming the gift of creation invites us to continue to show the love that orients and promotes all lives. However, this gift allows and also demands respect for the equilibrium of the environment itself.

This balance is not only the fruit of a simple random and fortuitous evolutionary course but must be recognized as a gift that makes human life as a whole possible. A rupture of this dynamic is what scientists are warning about, the abuse of the environment. Introducing changes that break its balance, such as the current climate change process resulting from human activity and a cultural model that allows the abuse of resources. Thus, disrupting the natural balance.

Responding to this imbalance implies recognizing and practicing some duties that are marginalized in the present culture.

Our Responsibility of Conservation

The first responsibility is the conservation of creation. Today, witnessing the signs of the globalized ecological crisis throughout the planet, it is clear that the appropriate framework for “cultivation” is guardianship or conservation.

Without conservation, there can be no responsible and fair human cultivation. From this understanding, nature’s cultivation cannot lead to its “exploitation” because it cannot be abused, breaking its balance. A current concretization of this responsibility implies fighting against climate change and the various ecological disorders.

The signs of a development that has not always known how to protect nature’s delicate balances are evident when talking about air pollution. Before it is too late, severe measures must be taken, not only when writing an air pollution essay or article, but in real-life, to re-establish a strong alliance between man and the earth.

Therefore, we need a decisive “yes” to the protection of creation and a strong commitment to reverse the trends that could lead to situations of irreversible degradation.

The Responsibility not to Alienate Nature

The second responsibility that lies in our hands is to “respect the grammar of nature”. Nature is not an “untouchable taboo.” The natural environment is not only matter subjectively available to human beings, but an admirable work of nature itself that carries within itself a “grammar” that indicates purpose and criteria for intelligent, non-instrumental, and arbitrary use.

Today, many harms to development come from these distorted ways of thinking. Completely reducing nature to a set of simple factual data ends up being a source of violence towards the environment, provoking behaviors that do not respect the nature of man himself.

The latter, insofar as it is composed not only of matter but also of the spirit, and therefore rich in meanings and transcendent ends, has a normative character even for our culture.

Integration of Justice

Third, the need to integrate ecological justice and social justice. This need implies using resources that are respectful of nature and equitable with present and future human rights. Thus, the responsibilities we have towards the environment are related to those we have towards the person and his relationship with others. We cannot demand some and violate others. This is a severe antinomy of today’s mentality and praxis, which debases the person, disrupts the environment, and damages society.

For example, the desertification and productive impoverishment of some agricultural areas is also the fruit of the impoverishment of their inhabitants who suffer resource consumption damages. These have been crucial topics that show up regularly in a water pollution essay by environmental protection advocates due to the impact it causes in our occidental society. This impoverishment includes energy, air, and water pollution, which damage their natural environment (the effects of climate change on their lands, for example) and the inequitable consumption in its enjoyment and hoarding by influential minorities of humanity. The fruit of social justice must be held at peace among our societies and also with nature.

Social injustice is the occasion for social war and natural destruction. Many natural resources are devastated by wars. Peace among peoples and between peoples would also make it possible to safeguard nature more effectively. The hoarding of resources, especially water, can lead to serious conflicts between the populations concerned. Thus, a peaceful agreement on the use of resources can safeguard nature and, at the same time, the well-being of the societies concerned.

Pursuing Sustainability

The fourth responsibility is to improve efficiency and sustainability when dealing with nature. Responsible governance of creation implies, among other things, improving energy efficiency and the search for alternative energies to reduce their harmfulness to the environment and the harm to humanity itself. But it has to be framed in a global project of relationship with nature in the key of “alliance between human being and a healthy environment,” which adequately weighs the path to the future. That considers the approach to be followed in each aspect.

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This is a global responsibility: The international community and each government must know how to counteract effectively those ways of using the environment that is harmful to it. And the competent authorities must also make the necessary efforts to ensure that the economic and social costs arising from the use of common environmental rights and resources are recognized transparently and borne entirely by those who benefit, not by others or by future generations.

The protection of the environment, resources, and the climate require that all international decision-makers act together and demonstrate a readiness to act in good faith, respect for the law and solidarity with the weaker regions of the planet.

Responsibilities that can help us to assume our responsibility towards ourselves. Towards the present and future of humanity, and towards the whole of creation.

Impacts of Environmental Crisis on Mental Health

Our environment is deteriorating at a rapid pace which is impacting our daily lives in more ways than one. Environmental degradation is associated with many outcomes that may have direct as well as indirect impact on physical health as well as mental health of human beings. In recent years, the deterioration of the environment has emerged as a key contributor to increases cases of psychological ill-health across the world.

Environmental change–triggered extreme weather conditions, loss of natural environments, changing climate patterns, contaminated food, water and air are now acknowledged as major contributors to PTSD, anxiety, aggression, depression and breakdown of relationships.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, behavioral, and social well-being of an individual. It decides how a human being adapts to stress of life and impacts how we think, feel, and act. Mental health also determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Environmental deterioration can cause and heighten pressure and uneasiness, thus unfavorably affecting psychological wellness and forcing people to seek help of mental therapists and psychologists. For example, hurricanes or severe droughts can cause depression, anger, and provoke sadistic attitude.

Everybody is in danger, yet not every person is influenced similarly. People who are more prone to mental health impacts of environmental changes include children, elderly and women. Among disadvantaged and marginalized groups, those with close bonding to the land, such as farmers and tribal communities, are more at risk.

How Environmental Degradation is Aggravating Mental Health?

Each aspect of the environment has an interrelated impact on mental health of human being. For example, children are more prone than young people to changes in their environment. The nascent mind is most delicate in the womb while early adolescence is sensitive to toxic physical, chemical and biological exposures. The harmful emissions from the transportation sector and industries coupled with waste generation from domestic and commercial sectors are the major contributors to modern-day pollution problem.

Social components, including poverty, education, employment, income, security, social support and housing are also determinants of mental health that likewise alter or overstate the impacts of exposures to physical factors in the environment. The total impacts of toxic environmental exposures over the existence course can cause physiological interruptions that persevere in future, and lead to deep rooted hindrances of physical or mental well-being.

Children can be exposed to toxins prenatally, and when they inhale poor air, drink contaminated water, breastfeed, ingest food and contact polluted soil and items. The major harmful compounds in the natural and built environments that influence neuro-development and the mental health include Lead, Manganese, Cadmium, Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons and Organochlorine and Organophosphate Pesticides.

People living in rural agricultural areas are more exposed to pesticides. Overwhelming metal contaminants and pesticides have been found to be agents that help develop Hyperactivity Behavior, including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Noise and traffic-related exposures in the built environment have been related with poor mental health results.

Major acute mental health effects include trauma and shock, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), compounded stress, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression. Major chronic mental health effects incorporate higher paces of aggression and violence, mental health emergencies, an exaggerated feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, or fatalism, fear, and loss of emotions. Thus, the prevalent environmental crisis can intensify chronic symptoms and lead to more serious mental health issues in all parts of the world.

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Final Words

The mental health consequences of the environmental crisis transcend countries, income-groups, race, religion and culture. The psychological wellness of the entire humanity has been negatively affected by rapid changes in the natural and built environments during the last 50 years or so. The urgent need of the hour it to address the wide array of environmental issues and their interconnected mental health effects through broader international and multi-sectoral cooperation, political struggle and a mass movement for environmental stability.