Health and The Environment: The Intimate Connection

(Towards Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security)
Romeo F. Quijano, M.D.
Professor
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
College of Medicine, Univ. of the Phils. Manila

Discussions about sustainable agriculture, food security and “green economy” unavoidably
lead to issues on environment and health. However, there is hardly a reasonable level of
understanding of health as it relates to the environment. There is a generally poor appreciation of the highly complex ways that prevailing institutions, power relations, policies and practices, including those related to sustainable agriculture, food security and “green economy”, exert their impact on environment and health. Health has always been understood narrowly by most people as “absence of disease”. Even the somewhat broader and globally recognized definition by WHO that health “ is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not only the absence of disease or infirmity” does not give an adequate recognition of the intimate relationship of environment and health.

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