Life Expectancy and Ecological Footprint: Societal Sustainability and Health Equity

By Ronald A. Harris.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper discusses the effect of increasing human longevity on the biosphere. Longevity is measured as life expectancy at birth across nations, while earth’s carrying capacity or biocapacity is measured using the ecological footprints of countries. There is a strong link between economic growth and life expectancy across countries in the world. Driven by globalism, “sustained” economic growth is destroying the biosphere, which is not equitable for future generations. Ecological reserves are untapped natural resources countries have, more or less. Nations with ecological deficits, like the United States, Japan, and United Arab Emirates, are expropriating biocapacity through trade, wars, and neo-colonization. These activities are known as “globalization.” This study contains a cross-sectional data analysis of most countries in the world designed to predict life expectancy by relevant macroeconomic and ecological indicators. Further, the expropriation of natural resources through trade, wars, neocolonialism, and other mechanisms is explored to reveal how globalization is at odds with sustainability. This paper should interest researchers and policy makers concerned about health, life expectancy, ecological footprint, sustainable development, and generational equity.

Keywords: Life Expectancy, Ecological Footprint, Generational Equity

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.187-200. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 619.655KB).

Dr. Ronald A. Harris

Program Director and Associate Professor, Health Policy and Systems Management, School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Ronald A. Harris, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Health Policy and Systems Management Program, School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America. His research includes: sustainable development, health policy, and evaluation research. Harris is currently doing research on human longevity and generational equity. He was previously co-principal investigator on both the IGERT for Sustainable Futures project and REU for Sustainability project at Southern University and Michigan Technological University, funded by the National Science Foundation.


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