The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Right on December 10, 1948 as a direct response to World War II. To this day we still call on the world to follow the 30 articles in the document. We have fallen short on all measures as planet, there are areas in this world that do not follow basic human rights. One place we fall very short on, but is not specifically outlined in the document, is protecting the planet for the health and safety of all humans.
Article 22 comes the closest to defining why we need to protect our planet for the benefit of all humans.
Article 22 Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
One of the main tenants of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that it is for the world, it knows no boundaries and our environment knows no boundaries either. The fact that what we do in one place affects another means that it affects all our human rights.
In the Pacific ocean there a garbage patch full of plastic that is larger than Texas (a problem that is also plaguing lakes and other waterways). Our fish are now eating plastic and we are eating those fish. The oil and gas industry is using our fresh water to frack to get natural gas, the water they use is permanently out of our water system because it is contaminated. Humans are made from water and need water to live it is part of our human rights to have clean water to drink everyday and everywhere a right millions of people do not have today.
Pesticides are infecting our land. There are now trace amounts of pesticides in rain water. We are developing GMO’s to be pesticide resistant so we can spray more pesticides on it. Cancer rates are more than tripling in one generations time and one of the suspects is the massive increase of pesticides in our food. We need to have land that is safe to grow our food on so we can live a healthy life.
CO2, smog, and literally tons of other air pollutants are spewed into our atmosphere every year. The air blows beyond the borders of countries. I live in a country that pollutes and what we do here spreads around the earth and the decisions we make here are in the lungs of people not down the street but around the world.
We also need to protect all of these not only for the human currently on the planet but the many generations to come. If we do not have clean and healthy planet to live on fighting for the other articles to be followed will be much harder!
This post was written as part of the Blog Action Day see other posts at www.blogactionday.org
Harriet at Climate Mama talks about education as a human right especially for girls and women.
Beth at My Plastic Free life really makes you think about your smart phone and human rights… believe me it makes a lot of sense.
Lindsay Dahl wrote about how we all deserve to live in a toxic free world and I could not agree with her more.