Environment & Quality of life

Environment plays a crucial role in shaping the quality of life for individual and communities.


  1. The environment is the complex system of physical, chemical, and biotic factors that surround and interact with an organism or community, influencing their growth, development, and survival (Miller & Spoolman, 2019).
  2. In ecological terms, the environment encompasses the living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of an ecosystem, including air, water, soil, plants, and animals, which collectively shape the conditions for life (Ricklefs & Relyea, 2019).
  3. The environment refers to the sum total of external conditions affecting the life, development, and survival of an organism or group of organisms, incorporating both natural and human-induced factors (Botkin & Keller, 2019).

Quality of life

Quality of life is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) 1997 as “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns”

Diener’s Subjective Well-Being Model:

  • Diener conceptualizes quality of life through subjective well-being, emphasizing life satisfaction, positive affect, and the absence of negative affect.
  • According to Diener, quality of life is “a subjective and multidimensional construct influenced by the individual’s cognitive appraisal of their life circumstances” (Diener, 1984).

As per  Kahn & Juster, 2002; Power, Bullinger, Harper, & the WHO QoL Group, (1999),  Quality of life has several components—

1.Physical functioning,

2.Psychological status,

3.Social functioning, 

4.Disease- or treatment-related symptoms

Effect of environment on quality of life

Quality of life is a multifaceted concept encompassing various aspects of well-being. The environment, comprising natural surroundings and built infrastructure, plays a pivotal role in shaping human health and overall quality of life.

Physical Health and Environment

The quality of the air we breathe, water we drink, and the spaces we inhabit directly affects physical health. Studies by Smith et al. (2019) have highlighted the link between air pollution and respiratory diseases, emphasizing the importance of clean air for human health.

Access to clean water sources, as noted by Patel et al. (2020), is critical for preventing waterborne diseases and maintaining overall health. The presence of green spaces, according to research by Frumkin et al. (2017), contributes to improved physical health and reduced stress levels.

Mental Well-being and Environmental Factors

Nature and green environments have a significant impact on mental health. Kaplan and Kaplan’s research (1989) suggests that exposure to nature can alleviate stress and mental fatigue. Conversely, degraded environments and exposure to pollutants can lead to increased stress and mental health issues (Grinde & Patil, 2009).

Social and Community Aspects

The environment also influences social interactions and community well-being. Strong community ties and social cohesion often thrive in areas with ample green spaces and well-maintained surroundings (Peters et al., 2016). On the contrary, environmental injustices, as observed in marginalized communities (Bullard, 1994), can negatively affect social bonds and community health.

Economic Implications

Environmental degradation bears economic consequences. Increased healthcare costs due to pollution-related illnesses (Chen et al., 2020) and the long-term economic impact of unsustainable practices highlight the importance of a healthy environment for economic stability (Stiglitz, Sen, & Fitoussi, 2009).


The environment significantly influences various aspects of quality of life, encompassing physical health, mental well-being, social connections, and economic stability. Safeguarding the environment is crucial for ensuring a high quality of life for present and future generations. Further research and collective efforts towards sustainability are imperative for fostering a healthier environment and improving overall quality of life.


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