Health in the Anthropocene Book

Edited Collection

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

Economics of Health in the Anthropocene

Intersectoral Strategies for Health in the Anthropocene

Cultural Transitions

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”