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African American life expectancy in Bay Area

African American life expectancy in Bay Area

The nation’s goal for health described in Healthy People 2010, is healthy people in healthy communities but the odds of being healthy also depend on the community in which a person lives in. It has been seen that the African-Americans have in general the lowest life expectancy (Hofrichter, 2003). Although the life expectancy is lower among the whites also living in the highest poverty areas but less than half of one percent whites live in these areas. The Asians and the Latinos have overall longer life expectancy as compared to the African-Americans as well as the whites. Moreover they are also less likely to show the impact of poverty (Koya and Egede, 2007). This is a complex issue and a contributing factor in case of Asians and Latinos could be a significant immigrant population. It has been debated by several studies that while the immigrants have good health, it deteriorates with the time and the subsequent generations have poorer health (Adler et al, 2008).

Source: Bay Area Life Expectancy by Race/Ethnicity: Data from 1999-2001.
Growing evidence is emerging which points out that racism in itself is a factor in health. It also translates into persistent stress and other related illnesses. The hardest hit, were the African-Americans and the Native Americans who have the poorest health status.
• The impact of neighborhood on health is not only a matter of physical environment of poverty but it is also infected by several cultural factors like community, family and diet etc. These factors play an important role in promoting on obstructing the ability of the people to withstand the effects of poverty and risks created by environment.
• Several cultural supports and practices that aimed at helping the immigrant population in maintaining better health had been subjected to erosion over time and the subsequent generations have adopted the new ways of life which combined with the social and physical environmental factors are taking their toll.
• The improvements in the living conditions in neighborhood can benefit those who are most vulnerable and also those who are most resilient.
• The experience of racism has affected in health is not only concerned about the place people live in but this issue should be dealt with in its own right.
The need is for introducing improvements in living conditions in the low income and multiethnic societies. This has to become a priority for the public agencies as well as a private business investment which can contribute significantly improving health (Sieguistr and Marmot, 2006).New alliances within communities also need to be created so that it can be assured that the neighborhood improvements do not result in displacement and gratification. Educational priorities like reducing high dropout rate among the African Americans can play an important role in creating avenues out of poverty and also in reducing the associated disparities in health.
Renewed national dialogues on racism would also help in providing new strategies for reducing the impact of racism on the African-American and native populations. It could also contribute in improvements in health for the present as well as the future generations.
Creating strong ties with the community is where due to the decades of mistrust regarding the planning agencies has resulted in the resistance can also prove helpful in establishing the basis for the creation of new relationships and opportunities that can make the communities a healthier place to live.
As part of our research analysis, we decided to focus most of our sources based on official government websites as well as news articles. These websites provided reliable up to date information about all the current issues, mainly because environmental justice is changing yearly. While each case focused on different websites, most focused on the Environmental Protection Agency’s official website. We also researched current news articles to analyze the public opinion as well as legitimate professional’s opinions about the environmental injustices revolving each of our cases. Also, in the appendix, we included hard copies of several deliverables relating to some of the cases to provide visual evidence of the outcomes revolving these issues.

Environmental Justice Advocacy Playbook – Format

1. Summarize your case in 2-3 sentences – What was the main issue and what was done to tackle it?

2. Based on what was done/is being done about the situation in the case, which of the following voluntary environmental initiatives are feasible, and are likely to get the best results given the local context (local context may include people’s willingness and ability to work well with the government, effectiveness of communication within the group and outside the group etc)

a. Unilateral initiatives – for example, business actions to improve environmental performance
b. Private codes – for example, initiatives by industry associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) etc.
c. Government sponsored programs
d. Negotiated agreements – Contracts between government and industry, or government and community to improve environmental performance
e. Sole initiatives of the community to alter their daily lives to incorporate improved environmental health

3. Evaluate the methods proposed above in the following lights:

a. Environmental – Will the impact be concentrated (e.g. Richmond) or dispersed (e.g. overall air quality in the bay area). How does this affect what solution you proposed? What are the resource issues involved, that is, does the solution indeed help to optimize the use of natural resources?
b. Technical – Are the benefits of the solution quantifiable, and replicable over time? In other words, is the solution sustainable? What new technologies will make remediation of this environmental problem better? Does the solution improve business efficiency (Chevron)?
c. Sociopoliical – Is there strong stakeholder pressure and political will to resolve this issue? Does the government possess the administrative capacity to implement more complex approaches? Are there incentives for resource users and/or emitters of pollution to cooperate well and/or take a leading role in dealing with the issues?
d. Economic – What are the costs of abatement of pollution? Are there any benefits of using a regulatory approach? Is there transparency of compliance – that is, is the compliance by emitters/resource users easy to determine?

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