Maslow postulated that humans had five different needs that all needed satisfaction in order for people to be happy. The idea is that if any of these needs are not met, then the person will feel unhappy or unsatisfied and less likely to be productive. Luckily, Maslow recognized one human need as the most important and it is related to environmental health.
In his theory, he identified the need for security as being a key area where our environment can provide us with a sense of value for who we are. Our environment includes aspects such as physical comfort year-round and safety from biological threats outside of our bodies like germs, bacteria or toxins. He also pointed out that people with a normal environment will be able to feel secure in their relationships and social interactions with others, but for some people this may not be enough.
The theory of Maslow’s hierarchy has been the foundation of the field of human ecology is all about how we can help people with limited resources to meet their different needs. Let’s say someone lives where it is still quite cold inside the house every winter. That person will want a warm bed and food. The fact that they may need a hot shower once they get back from school every day doesn’t really bother them because it is considered ‘inconvenient’. While these benefits are valued, they are still not fulfilling their first goal: survival.
1. The concept of physical safety
Safe environment is essential for people to feel secure and to completely develop as individuals. People can be exposed to health risks in the environment due to different pollutants, pollutants, contaminants and dangerous situations.
For example, air pollution that can lead to respiratory diseases; water pollution resulting in a variety of diseases caused by infectious agents; radioactive material that causes cancer or toxic chemicals that cause injury; risk of accidents; violence or harassment; and noise pollution.
2. The concept of security
The idea of safety is important and people need to feel safe to develop as individuals. If you are the victim of a crime or violence, it may affect your mental, physical and emotional health in many negative ways. The environment in which you were born or grew up with creates the type of body that you have. For example, a child growing up in a family with unstable housing conditions may develop various health problems during his/her growth period.
3. The concept of shelter from heat and cold weather
Stability or consistency is important for people to feel secure and stable physically and emotionally in their environment. When fluctuation happens, people will have different reactions and responses: some will maintain mild reactions while others will totally lose control or balance. Environmental change is inevitable so how could we deal with its impacts? Some of the ways are:
4. The concept of environmental health
Environmental health is a new approach to define and measure the health of people and the environment. Environmental health is a term that reflects both broader issues in the public, political and scientific discourse, involving greater awareness of the linkages between our environment and our health, as well as a more specific focus on one’s particular physical, cognitive or emotional state.
Environmental Health is a branch of Health Promotion that aims to improve the overall well-being of individuals, families and communities by creating healthy environments: environmentally safe places where people can live in balance with their natural environment.
5. The concept of self-realization
Self-realization is more important than all other needs. Self-realization happens when a person feels secure, safe, and has found a healthy living place and finding satisfaction in life. Illustrates the need hierarchy with the help of these examples: An individual has a job where he/she feels secure, safe and healthy at work, home and in the community. However, they may find that they are not fulfilled career-wise, on an emotional level or financially.
They may feel that there is something missing from their day to day lives, or what Maslow calls “self-actualization”. They might be interested in becoming an entrepreneur, having a family, volunteering in the community or doing something else. Something is missing and they don’t know what the future will hold.
People in general are very diverse in how they feel and how they live their lives. So there is no one definition of this hierarchy of human needs which we all have to fit into. However from the above discussion we understand that people have a need for security, safety and shelter first before moving on to other needs like physical health, self-expression, love and belongingness, etc. That’s why individuals cannot fully develop into their fullest potential if these basic needs are not met.