Sustainability and health: notes toward a convergence of agendas
- 15 Downloads
Since 1987, the concept of sustainability and sustainable development has developed into a major policy framework for economic development, environmental protection, community development, and perhaps surprisingly but quite effectively, business management. Despite recognition of the importance of health as an element in sustainability, consideration of opportunities for health gains and reducing health disparities has been a secondary consideration. Health is automatically improved by commitment to sustainability. However, sustainability provides a framework within, which health gains and reduction in health disparities is possible and greatly facilitated. Some sustainability measures are obvious in their health benefits: reducing pollution, ensuring food security and quality, maintaining a healthful built environment. Others are not obvious, but have profound indirect effects, such as energy and transportation policy. This paper describes a path to integrating health and sustainability with respect to achieving health gains, building on the existing framework of “health promotion” as both a bridge and a model, and convening a dialogue between professionals in sustainability (primarily through academic environmental studies and sciences) and the health community (both patient-oriented health care and population health sciences).
KeywordsSustainability Health Health gains Population health Health promotion
This development of this work was supported in part by an award as Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Institute for Science, Society, and Policy at the University of Ottawa in 2015.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
- Condon N, Klemick H, Wolverton A. (2013) Impacts of ethanol policy on corn prices: a review and meta-analysis of recent evidence. Washington DC, US Environmental Protection Agency, National Center for Environmental Economics, Working Paper #13–02, October 2013. Available at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-12/documents/impacts_of_ethanol_policy_on_corn_prices.pdf . Accessed 1 April 2018
- Coutts C (2016) The threats to health posed by green infrastructure. In: Chapter 9 in, Green Infrastructure and Public Health. Routledge, New York, pp 229–234Google Scholar
- Frumkin H (2016) Environmental health: from global to local. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco 3/ed.Google Scholar
- Guidotti T (2010) The Praeger handbook of occupational and environmental medicine. Praeger/ABC-CLIO, Santa BarbaraGoogle Scholar
- Guidotti TL (ed) (2015) Health and sustainability: an introduction. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- National Academy of Sciences. A framework for assessing effects of the food system. Washington DC, National Academies Press, 2015Google Scholar
- Nguyen TLT, Laratte B, Guillaume B, Hua A. (2016) Quantifying environmental externalities with a view to internalizing them in the price of products, using different monetization models. Rexources, Conservation Recycling 109:13–23Google Scholar
- Pearson DG, Craig T (2014) The great outdoors: exploring the mental health benefits of natural environments. Front Psychol 5(1178):1–4Google Scholar
- Sundell J (2004) On the history of indoor air quality and health. Indoor Air. 14 (Suppl 7):51–58. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/climate/american-cities-climate-standards.html. Accessed August 3, 2017
- The Economist. (2017) The Sustainability Summit 2017. https://events.economist.com/events-conferences/emea/sustainability-summit-2017/
- United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. Available at http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/ . Accessed 1 April 2018
- Von Schirnding Y, Mulholland C (2002) Health and sustainable development: key health trends. World Health Organization. Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesberg, Geneva 2002Google Scholar
- World Health Organization. The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. 1986 Available at http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/previous/ottawa/en/ . Accessed 1 April 2018