Children's first experiences, the stimulation from their entourage, their exposure to knowledge, to learning and to emotional and cognitive awakenings exert a form of "neural sculpture." The child can subsequently develop the cerebral structures that in their turn are determinant for behavior around this primary foundation. The impact of the environment on health and psycho-social development goes through several forms of mediation: some are at the very heart of the family; others are more directly linked to the environment in a broader sense: access to health care, exposure to (noise or chemical) pollution, to violence ...
There is clear evidence of the direct relationship that exists between health indicators, life expectancy and child development on the one hand and people's socioeconomic level on the other. The whole field of personal and social development is affected by greater or lesser socioeconomic affluence. But there's another less well-known aspect: each individual's health and development are directly linked to the indicators for the collectivity to which he belongs. In countries with a steep social gradient (the disparity between the most destitute and the most affluent), that distance between people operates negatively on collective health.
This article makes a great case, I think, for a "social-uplift environmentalism" that rests on equal protection for all, equal opportunity for all and reverence for all creation.