We know that the poor are worst affected by environmental degradation. They live in poverty; have the highest exposure to pollution; drink contaminated water, which is responsible for the highest mortality among children; breathe polluted air; and depend on depleting forest resources for their survival. Research over the years has made it clear that the poor, through their intensive use of natural resources, are not responsible for environmental degradation. It is the extensive use of resources on a commercial scale, involving highly energy-intensive and extractive industrial methods, by the rich that is primarily responsible for degradation.

In the 1970s and ’80s it was widely said that the “other energy crisis” is firewood for cooking as supply was short and women had to spend hours walking to collect this basic need. It was also said that this use of energy by the…CONTINUE READING


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