As I’ve tried to show throughout the posts on my main blog, it is often those who possess the least wealth and power who suffer the most. On a global scale, indigenous populations and third world countries have the least amount of economic growth and development but are the most susceptible to the effects of environmental degradation.

Socio-economic solutions to this issue include vaccinations to prevent disease, family planning to reduce population growth, safe drinking water, sanitary surroundings, food supplements, and debt-for-nature swaps. Ensuring land rights and autonomy to indigenous groups would help maintain areas of high biodiversity that serve as refuges for endangered species and relatively untouched ecosystems. In order to combat social and economic inequity we must ensure equal rights, eliminate prejudice, and emphasize cultural autonomy. We must abandon our attachment to monetary value and instead adopt a more ethical approach that recognizes the inherent value of the natural world and the people residing in it.

Above all, I believe that education is an important tool that should be available to every human. I realize that it is idealistic to assume that by simply educating everyone we can eliminate hunger, poverty, and ecological destruction. Destructive forces such as greed and prejudice will always exist. However, empowerment of the poor and marginalized is a significant step in the theory of environmental justice. Empowerment of women should also be a top priority, as many anthropological studies exist showing that in matrilineal and matriarchical societies, resources and food are more evenly distributed and all members enjoy similar rights and responsibilities. Education can provide the basis for change; for if you are not first aware of a problem, you cannot actively strive to solve it.