Issues In Canadian Geography: Poverty & Malnutrition
What is poverty you may ask? According to Google poverty is “the state of being extremely poor” in other words poverty is having an insufficient amount of money to fulfill the basic needs of life. Many Canadians today struggle with the ongoing conflicts of provision of resources due to their social status. Canada is not unaware of the Canadians who are facing poverty in this day and age however they have also neglected this part of the society in numerous ways. Many residents of this country are poor due to unemployment which restricts them from being able to access daily necessities such as food. A financial crisis makes Canadians unable to afford a meal a day which leads to malnutrition and other health complications. Poverty and malnutrition is the biggest problem facing Canadians today because of many aspects of Canadian geography itself.
Poverty is an issue which is connected to physical geography as well since natural disasters can become a possible factor of poverty. Natural disasters such as droughts and wildfires can impact people drastically when it comes to their financial stability. Wildfires are caused by humans through the crisis of climate change which can and does destroy homes and buildings in which people reside . One example of this would be the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire which destroyed 1600 homes and rose up till 10, 000 hectares due to which residents of the city were forced to evacuate (Post Media 2019). Droughts which are also a result of climate change and the increasing humidity have put the farmers through many losses and eventually poverty. Droughts have made farmers go through a lot of financial stress since their land becomes dry and barren causing all of their efforts to drown in despair . Farmers who live on the sole means of farming are left to starve in these conditions caused by droughts (Mercy Corps, 2019). This is a clear representation of how natural disasters can devastate one’s financial stability.
Canadians are drastically impacted by poverty and healthcare since it has become an issue for them due to its expenses (Canada Without Poverty, (n.d.)). A few statistics of poverty are enough to justify that Canada may be developed however people are still left poor regardless of whether the country is classified as a part of the “West” (University Of Oxford, 2015). You’d be astonished to learn that 1 in 7 Canadians live in poverty, approximately 15% of Canadians living in poverty are disabled of which 59% are women, and 1 in 5 children live in poverty currently (Canada Without Poverty, (n.d.)). Poor people’s lack of accessibility of healthcare leads to malnutrition, other serious health complications, and if not treated at all eventually death which in children could cause child mortality (Citizens For Public Justice, 2015).
People tend to not reside in areas in which poor people live and the government decides to neglect poor people due to which their communities are less developed and in other terms not living up to the standard of livable communities in today’s day and age. There is little to no development as they have small unattractive homes, less institutions such as schools in a vast area, inadequate accessibility to residential land due to urban sprawl, neglection of minorities (such as Indigenous peoples or immigrants), and an economically unstable and unsafe area (Jaffe, Jaffe, & CityLab, 2016). Poverty tends to be a pattern in localities for example Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where the lowest median income was 13, 600 dollars (Skelton, 2010). That is because low income families have to settle for small homes to fulfill the basic needs of life. The society has implanted a small mentality in everyone which makes them believe their status is everything and anyone who is viewed as poor or financially unstable is disgusting and monstrous. In addition to that, the government doesn’t help the poor either since they always neglect the minorities. Those poor people have no say in what happens in their community and their needs aren’t met either. The government decides to racially segregate communities due to their ethnicity and the fact that they are a minority. In a community minorities are deprived rights of adequate funding and they face unemployment due to urban sprawl and the lack of jobs which leads to no money, no food hence malnutrition (Jaffe, Jaffe, & CityLab, 2016). Furthermore, studies show that areas with high proportions of low income households and high crime rates are linked (StatCan, 2015). Did you know that Indigenous children are twice as more likely to be poor than non-Indigenous children (Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives, 2016). Another fact that minorities are neglected is that children of immigrants have a 32% child poverty rate (Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives, 2016). This is evidence that poverty is an issue which is involved in a livable community as well.
This can actually become a major cause for poverty because of the inaccessibility of energy and resources in addition to human interactions with the environment specifically oil spills. Inaccessibility to resources and energy such as food, water, and heat can be factors and indicators of poverty and malnutrition (Energising Development , (n.d.)). Poor people are unable to access these basic needs of life which deteriorates their living conditions and this signifies critical financial instability. Due to this they are unable to consume an adequate amount of food, in addition to having no heat in order to survive the harsh winters which leads to numerous illnesses. Human interactions with the environment in the form of oil spills are extremely negative for fishermen. Fishermen face losses and financial instability due to the human caused disaster of oil spills (Kidz World, 2018). The water becomes contaminated and poisons and deteriorates the health of the marine animals making them unwell/infected therefore, unsuitable for human consumption (US Department of Commerce & National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2010). Furthermore, the chemicals used in order to recover the oil spill are hazardous to humans in other words it isn’t good for our health. Therefore, managing resources can impact one’s life economically.
In conclusion I believe we need to acknowledge poverty for the significance it has in the lives of Canadians and in order to do so we need to speak up and raise awareness of this so, no child will ever face the dread of poverty again.
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