Virtual NC Sustainability:

Human Health AHD Process Diagram

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"The 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"
The United Nations' 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development - Johannesburg Plan of Implementation


What is sustainable human health?

For 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?

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?

In order 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.



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UNC Chapel Hill: Enst 94/Envr 95 Capstone, Fall 2005

Last Updated: December 17, 2005 (K.N.Baer)