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Poverty - 1
Poverty makes people particularly vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation. It can render them helpless in the face of the deterioration of the environment upon which they depend. Poverty is inextricably linked with population and power.

Land is an asset which is especially beneficial to the poor. When land is environmentally degraded by deforestation, erosion or contamination the poor, for whom it may have been the only resource, are deprived of the ability to feed and support themselves, and of ensuring social stability. This is in turn may lead to migration to urban areas.


Rampant economic development consumes natural resources, leaving wasteland in its wake. People then shift to the fringes. There are 25 million environmental migrants in the world today - one for every 225 people.

  • There are 135 million people whose land is under threat of becoming desert
  • Around 900 million of the poorest people in the world, existing on less that a dollar a day, live in areas vulnerable to soil erosion droughts desertification and floods
  • An estimated 200 million people will have to move due to rising sea levels by 2010
  • Climate change is predicted to trigger the migration of 50 million people from famine affected areas by the year 2050.

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2002 Edition