Health impacts of an environmental disaster: a polemic

D Dorling, A Barford, BW Wheeler

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    At this early point in the 21st century a major concern that we face is the future possible effects of people-induced global warming. The predicted effects are severe, but argued by some to be avoidable if we act now. Here we consider the dimensions of another disaster: one for which not only the causes, but also their horrific consequences, are current worldwide. The implicit question is 'why are we more worried about future disasters than those already occurring?' The worldmapper collection of cartograms (where a map is used like a pie-chart to present data) is used here to illustrate the extent of international inequalities in health and living conditions, discussed in relation to other aspects of human lives. Though the shape that we can see the world is in is shocking, we can also envisage a positive future. We compare these current global times to more local past times experienced during the ravaging inequalities of Victorian Britain. We use Britain simply as an example. We end by suggesting a further step the current British Prime Minister could make in his thinking. Doing this we can see the potential for environmental reconstruction, which would result (as it did before) in considerable reductions in infant mortality. Our common future is not already mapped out; it is still to be won.
    Translated title of the contributionHealth impacts of an environmental disaster: a polemic
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1 - 11
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
    Volume2 (4, 045007)
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing


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