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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
On-line version ISSN 1678-4561
RATTNER, Henrique. Environment, health and sustainable development. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2009, vol.14, n.6, pp.1965-1971. ISSN 1678-4561. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232009000600002.
Environmental problems and their impact on health and welfare of the population, mainly the most deprived and excluded, from access to material and symbolic goods, provided only to a privileged minority, must be analyzed within the context of the global economic and financial crisis which swept the whole world since 2008. The collapse of the capitalist system and its negative impacts on production, income and employment provide evidence to the predatory nature of the underlying social and political relations which lead humanity to a catastrophic abyss whose consequences are felt on local, national and global levels. Appointing to the main aspects of environmental deterioration - greenhouse gases; pollution of rivers, lakes and oceans; the erosion and intoxication of soils; the lack of basic sanitation and fresh water supply in metropolitan areas, this essay refers to official health indicators published recently by the Ministry of Health of Brazil which documents destructive trends. Discussing the dysfunction and the paradoxes of capital accumulation the essay points out to the need for building a new development paradigm based on cooperation and solidarity; an equitable distribution of the social product and the reform of the political system leading from the present authoritarian patterns of social relations to a participative and a true democratic model.
Keywords : Environment; Health; Sustainable development.