From family pets and farmed animals to wild animals and species yet to be discovered, countless creatures are influenced by our everyday activities and consumption. Though it’s common to use animals for such purposes as food, clothing, research, ritual and entertainment, these practices meet criticism for the harm caused to animals. Human degradation of wild habitats is another major problem for animal populations, as they depend on these natural resources for survival. While many people contend ethical and emotional reasons for animal protection, it’s clear that animal welfare and human welfare are deeply linked.
Disasters are all too frequent, and the material and human costs of such events vary widely. Though disaster strikes both wealthy and poor regions of the world, such events cause especially high levels of death and destruction in developing countries where emergency response is limited. Alongside natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, man-made disasters such as nuclear accidents and oil spills also present great danger to human and animal life. Humanitarian relief is aid to victims of a natural or man-made disaster.
From climate change and the loss of biodiversity to land degradation and the scarcity of freshwater, environmental change is escalating social and economic impacts and scarcities.Unfortunately, environmental protection is a top priority not equally shared by everyone around the world.
Human rights are those opportunities and freedoms that every person deserves without discrimination. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by laws obligating governments and their citizens to act in ways that preserve human dignity. These rights include freedom of expression, and religion as well as freedom from want, fear, torture, slavery, attack, or discrimination; and finally, the right of access to societal and natural resources. The citizen’s duty is to honor those rights; the government’s duty is to protect those rights through regulation and oversight.
Knowledge is power, and access to important information is the basis of how we gain knowledge. Not only is access to information considered a fundamental human right, the ready availability of affordable formal access, such as through education in school, is crucial to promoting social equality, peace and productivity. Public information resources, such as open-access websites and libraries, also support innovation and socio-economic development.
Peace & Justice
Issues of law and order permeate human society. The role of government is to uphold justice and public order while simultaneously protecting the rights of citizens. This delicate balance can be quickly compromised if government elites express exclusionary ideologies, enact discriminatory and restrictive policies, or tolerate corruption. A fair and equitable system of law and order is essential to social justice and the protection of human rights.
People suffering from poverty lack the income or resources they need to maintain an acceptable standard of living. The inability to gain adequate food, shelter, clothing and other necessities is devastating; further, poverty tends to be self-perpetuating because it reduces opportunities for self-empowerment such as access to education and access to modern resources. Economic growth has caused global poverty to fall rapidly in the past three decades, along with global income inequality. Still, around 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 per day. Just as widespread poverty can result from a variety of political, environmental and social causes, individuals can also be especially vulnerable because of their ethnicity, gender or age.
Violence is a major challenge to public health and happiness. Each year, more than 1.6 million people worldwide will die as a result of the intentional use of physical force or power exercised to control another person or groups of people. This includes warfare, terrorist attacks, riots and violence connected with criminal activity, as well as suicides and domestic violence.
Wellness is the mental and physical health of individuals and groups. Chronic disease and lifestyle-related health issues are on the rise globally and are responsible for more than half of all deaths in the world. A person’s mental, emotional, physical, social, environmental and spiritual condition is affected by their behaviors in diet, physical activity and inappropriate drug use.