Poverty and the Environment


Last time on the blog, we took a look at how environmental stresses affect people living in poverty, especially Jamaica’s vulnerable rural poor. Today we’ll think about the flip side of the coin: how poverty can affect the environment itself.

When we think about the environment and the way we use natural resources, we’re often looking at who has control over the resources we use. Who is farming the land? Who is fishing, mining, growing and harvesting wood? When we look at farming especially, we can see the shift away from small independently-owned farms to massive operations that own large amounts of land and resources.

When resources are concentrated that way, we have a situation where many people don’t have much control over their world and what happens in it. In terms of the environment, this means that people who don’t own most of the land can’t control how that land is used, can’t control whether resources are managed sustainably or not, and can’t change much about environmental damage that might happen: for instance, pollution going into the air and water that everyone shares.

Good environmental practices and sustainable use of resources depend on everyone getting involved. The more people are able to manage their own corners of the world, and be stewards of their own piece of the earth, the better everyone’s quality of life can be.

In rural Jamaica, the generations-long cycle of poverty has meant that many communities don’t have the resources to protect and manage their environment. They’re among the vast numbers of the world’s poor who create a tiny carbon footprint, compared with more industrialized and prosperous communities, but who have to live much more immediately with the effects of environmental problems and natural disasters.

At Creators of Hope, we know that even small changes can create a big impact. That’s why we make it our mission to build homes for Jamaica’s rural poor. Building homes for people without them, giving them that foundation of security and basis for prosperity, helps to level the playing field a little piece at a time. People who have homes and can work toward better lives are also in a position to take their place in the world community as a whole. They can become stewards of their own resources and help all of us help create a healthier planet.

Learn more about us and consider donating to support our work building homes for Jamaica’s rural poor!