Are environmental issues the same as social issues? Obviously, they are, but are they the same? The answer to this question depends on your perspective. For instance, environmental issues affect different social groups differently. They’re often associated with social inequality, which means that some groups are more vulnerable than others. For example, low-income households are more likely to use older, high-emission vehicles, which contribute to air pollution.
Humanity is suffering from the effects of global environmental changes. Global warming and overfishing are among the most common causes of water pollution. The effects can range from minor inconveniences to injuries and even death. Other common problems associated with global environmental change include food insecurity, respiratory illness, and mental health and emotional distress. The consequences of these environmental problems are also affecting the economy and family life, including the displacement of people, damage to housing, and depletion of assets.
If environmental problems are the same as social problems, sociology needs to move beyond an analytical focus on human interaction. Though some recent proposals have attempted to do so, mainstream research stances are less inclined to focus on environmental issues. Sociology has to understand how all life and its environment relate to each other. This is essential for achieving sustainable development. There’s no reason that environmental issues should not be part of the conversation.
As environmental problems are often complex, governments have the option to intervene and respond. Governments may choose to act on climate change or other major issues, but tackling major environmental problems has never been their priority. Although environmental policy has been part of government activity since the 1960s, it has never been a core concern for governments. However, in recent years, governments have reacted quickly to the global financial crisis and environmental crisis.