Adding to a growing body of knowledge about how the social-ecological dynamics of the Anthropocene affect human health, this collection presents strategies that both address core challenges, including climate change, stagnating economic growth, and rising socio-political instability, and offers novel frameworks for living well on a finite planet.
Rather than directing readers to more sustainable ways to structure health systems, Health in the Anthropocene navigates the transition toward social-ecological systems that can support long-term human and environmental health, which requires broad shifts in thought and action, not only in formal health-related fields, but in our economic models, agriculture and food systems, ontologies, and ethics.
Arguing that population health will largely be decided at the intersection of experimental social innovations and appropriate technologies, this volume calls readers to turn their attention toward social movements, practices, and ways of living that build resilience for an era of systemic change. Drawing on diverse disciplines and methodologies from fields including anthropology, ecological economics, sociology, and public health, Health in the Anthropocene maps out alternative pathways that have the potential to sustain human wellbeing and ecological integrity over the long term.
“Health in the Anthropocene is a very well-researched, well-written work of great insight, foresight and ambition in relation to the ecological threats we face, with diverse analytic and practical contributions from a range of respected scholars.” – Solomon Benatar, University of Cape Town and University of Toronto
“Health in the Anthropocene contributes consideration and critique of current practice and thinking to facilitate behaviour change towards living well with equity and within the limits of the planet. A thought-provoking read, it represents a major contribution to moving problem-recognition to solution-finding, and a milestone in this literature.” – Ro McFarlane, Public health academic, University of Canberra
Below, contributors to Health in the Anthropocene share the presentations they delivered at the “Improving health in an era of social-ecological instability and economic contraction” transdisciplinary workshop. The workshop was held in April, 2018 at the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Canada.
Thank you to our funders, the CIHR’s Institute of Population and Public Health and the Waterloo Institute of Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR).
Scoping the Challenges
- Colin Butler, “‘Regional Overload’ as an Indicator of Profound Risk: A plea for the public health community to awaken”
- Blake Poland et al., “A Changing Role for Public Health in the Anthropocene: The contribution of scenario thinking for reimaging the future”
- Stephen Quilley, “The double-edged discourse of individualism in medicine: How ontological commitments to the ‘rational’ individual impede efforts to achieve population health”
- Katharine Zywert, “Imagining health systems 150 years from now: 14 researchers and practitioners discuss their best and worst-case scenarios for the future of human health”
Economics of Health in the Anthropocene
- Jennifer Cole, “Economics of Health”
- Martin Hensher, “Anthropocene Health Economics: Preparing for the journey or the destination?”
- Jean-Louis Aillon, “Our affluence is Killing Us: What degrowth offers health and wellbeing”
- Katie Kish,“Financing Life in an Era of Degrowth”
Intersectoral Strategies for Health in the Anthropocene
- Lisa Mychajluk, “‘Food as Thy Medicine:’ How ecovillages foster population and planetary health through regenerative food systems”
- Marjolein Elings, “Care Farming”
- Mary Jane Yates, “Aspen as Partner: Rethinking intersectoral action for health in the Anthropocene”
- Sonya Jakubec, “Grieving Nature – Natural Grieving: The place of parks and natural place in palliative and grief care”
- Blake Poland et al., “The Role of Grassroots Social Movements as Agents of Change for Societal Transformation: The Example of the Transition Movement”
- Bill Sutherland, “Making Medicine Work in the Anthropocene: Tenets of a meta-medicine for complex adaptive systems in precarious times”
- Didi Pershouse, “Collaborating with the Work of Other Species to Improve Public Health and Community Resilience”
- Barbara Jane Davy,“To Become Ancestors of a Living Future”
New Ethics & Ontologies
- Mark Hathaway et al., “Cultivating Ecological Consciousness”
- Alexander Foster, “Bodies of the Anthropocene: Health, ontology, ecology”
- Blake Poland, “Inner Work for the Anthropocene: Sourcing our doing from a different way of being”