Political Ecology And Environmental Ecology

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As individuals who live in the USA, we are prepared with the necessary information about infectious diseases, which are a highly important matter for our health. However, as a developed country, we do not have as many disease outbreaks as the developing societies. Geographers and ecologists, have researched interconnection between geography, political economy and cultural ecology, which all relate to one another and therefore, could be described as ‘political ecology’. More specifically, in the article, “The political ecology of disease as one new focus of medical geography” by Jonathan D. Mayer, the author does an exceptional work in recognizing the main factors and how, throughout time, they have evolved into a new idea for the medical geography…show more content…
Mayer notes in his article, the main purpose of political ecology is to “unite cultural ecology, political economy and its associated concepts.” (Mayer, 446). By connecting the interaction between political interest, social institutions and human-environment, we will understand the relationship of these aspects with disease ecology. According to Dr. Mayer, disease ecology is, the understanding how humanity (culture, society and behavior, physical world, topography, vegetation and climate, biology, vector and pathogen ecology) interact together in an evolving and interactive system – producing foci of disease (May 1958, 441). The interactive system comprises of the human and the disease; and in order for a disease to occur, it is necessary for an agent and host to come into mutual contact at the same time and place. Furthermore, to understand disease ecology microscopically, Dr. Mayer suggests that we, first understand the context of the disease, and second, the environment should be interpreted very broadly, and there should be no doubt that “environment” refers to more than the physical environment in both instances. (Mayer, 446). Dr. Mayer offers an approach to disease and health from the standpoint of political ecology. However, by “environment” he does not only mean the landscape, natural resources, animal populations or other physical fundamentals of nature, instead he states that the “environment” is simply an inclusive term, which refers to “external economic…show more content…
According to the current status of medical geography, the two major traditions focus on 1) the studies of health services delivery and 2) the studies of disease patterns, including disease ecology. This symbolizes how the relations between people and the environment are closely linked with cultural ecology. Yet, as previously mentioned, both cultural and political ecology define the political ecology of disease. All of these factors interconnect because of the microscopic aspects within an individual’s life. The same factors that affect the health of an individual, affect the probability of them being at risk of being at risk of diseases. In my perspective, the relationships between the political, economic and social characteristics and relations, the environment, need to be confined to capitalism and colonialism. To be more specific, throughout history, both capitalism and colonialism have influenced an immense affect on the societies who are suffering from health disparities and dying from diseases. A great example of how environment, economy, politics and human behavior, but yet capitalism and colonialism have primarily contributed to the development and increase of diseases is through Dr. Mayer’s example of malaria in Trinidad. When the country was in stage of development and transition from agriculture to
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