Poverty exists when one lacks typical socially acceptable things or possessions. People who are in poverty lack basic needs vary from one context to another. The common understanding of basic needs is things necessary for continued existence.
Many people around the globe face the problem of poverty. Poverty links to human population and their activities on the environment. The human population affects the environment negatively due to poverty resulting to environmental degradation and a cycle of poverty.
Poverty and the environment
Poverty and the environment are interlinked as poverty leads to degradation of the environment. On the other hand, the issues of poverty eradication and degradation of the environment are often treated separately hence failure in addressing the issues effectively and reducing poverty around the globe.
Human activities have led to destruction of the environment and the trend shows that there is a bleak future ahead unless the destructive activities on the environment are halted or regulated to avoid destroying the environment further as the future generations are in jeopardy (Ezeonu, 2004).
For instance, people living in poverty destroy natural resources such as forests to clear land to plant food. Consequently, deforestation leads to environment challenges like flooding. Moreover, the high number of human population also causes destruction of the environment when people live on land near rivers and clear tracts of forests to inhabit.
Close to forty per cent of the world’s total population live in poverty according to World Bank estimate in 2004(Whitman, 2008). Explosion in population causes a strain on the environment and pushes millions of people into poverty. Poverty varies from one country to another and poverty in developing countries is dire than in the developed countries.
Poverty depends on class, race and gender. For example, more women than men live in poverty (Kendall, 2009). The poor struggle in their lives as they are disadvantaged in the society and often face prejudice of being lazy.
World poverty is caused by a number of factors such as inequality of resource distribution, wars and conflicts, natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and droughts, degradation of the environment and social inequality among others. It is important to note that the levels of world poverty have reduced with global economic growth but many people are still living in poverty.
Persistence of global poverty
The reasons for persistence of world poverty are things such as discriminatory trade policies that favor only the developed countries at the international market and exploit the developing nations hence they are unable to make a profit that can be used in fighting poverty (Wade, 2004).
Wars and conflicts that emerge in countries from time to time keep people in poverty for instance the war in Iraq has contributed to high levels of poverty to the citizens. Other factors such as corruption in governments make fighting poverty impossible as a few rich embezzle public funds.
The continued unequal distribution of resources confines people to poverty. Furthermore, those born in poor families are unable to breakaway from the cycle as they do not get opportunities to acquire education and thus grow and live in poverty as their poor parents (Pogge, 2008).
Addressing global poverty
However, world poverty can be addressed by acknowledging that poverty and the environment are connected. Then look for ways of helping people to acquire food without having the need to deforest. If people can access food they are can concentrate on economic activities to improve their situation.
Governments should also deal with corruption because it leads to misuse of funds that would have been used to lift the standards of living of the people.
The international business laws and policies should also change to give all countries a fair opportunity at the international market. More importantly, people should be empowered through training and given access to loans to start small businesses to gain a source of livelihood.
Benefits of global poverty
Some countries may favor continued world poverty because it enables them to take advantage of the poor countries that depend on them by exploiting resources in such countries through multinational corporations.
The organizations in such countries that concern themselves with the issue of poverty may never want to see poverty eradicated because they would not have any business and many of their employees would become jobless. The countries may also want poverty to continue so that they can lend loans with high interest to poor nations (Mack, 2009). Thus, world poverty may benefit a few countries.
Ezeonu, I.C. Poverty and the environment: sociologizing environmental protection in sub-Saharan Africa. Review of Black Political Economy, 31(3), 33-42.
Kendall. D. (2010). Social problems in a diverse society. 5th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Mack, E. (2009). Absolute poverty and global justice: empirical data, moral theories, initiatives. New York: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Pogge, W.T. (2008). World poverty and human rights: cosmopolitan responsibilities and reforms. United Kingdom: Polity.
Wade, R.H. (2004). On the causes of increasing world poverty and inequality, or why the Matthew effect prevails. New Political Economy, 9 (2), 163-188.
Whitman, S. (2008). World poverty. Infobase Publishing: New York.