Rio Declaration on Environment and Development states that human beings
are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development, and that
they are entitled to a healthy and productive life
there is urgent
need to address the causes of ill health, including environmental
causes, and their impact on development"
United Nations' 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development - Johannesburg
Plan of Implementation
What is sustainable
a community to remain sustainable, the health of the human population
must be maintained and protected. This assertion is confirmed by considering
a community in which the entire population is sick and unable to be
productive, or a community in which the death rate greatly exceeds the
birth rate. In either of these cases, it is clear that the state of
health will not support the development of the community over an extended
period of time.
How does human health influence community sustainability?
on the community level is tied to the size and health of the citizen
population. Apart from desiring good health in and of itself, a healthy
community can better care for the environment, contribute to economic
development, and promote social equity. Through remaining healthy, citizens
can ensure that valuable economic resources needed for other aspects
of life, including environmental protection, economic growth and social
welfare, remain available rather than being diverted to health care
or being lost through an unproductive workforce.
How can human health be assessed with respect to sustainability?
to evaluate human health within a North Carolina community, this website
uses indicators of population demographics, occurrence of communicable
and non-communicable diseases, and fitness. These indicators were chosen
based on benchmark reports from sustainability initiatives in several
other American communities (see Smart
Communities Network: Definitions of Sustainable Development, Sustainability
References). These indicators allow for an overall assessment
of population health related to specific environmental conditions, behavioral
trends, and population size.
to Virtual NC Home