City Summer Food Symposium 2012: Ecological Public Health
Creating alternatives to (health) business-as-usual?
After a highly charged public debate about the future of healthcare (as the NHS Bill went through Parliament), now is the time to talk about the shape of public health itself. This mini-symposium hosted by City University London's Centre for Food Policy discussed whether ecological public health - which proposes that human and eco-systems health are co-dependent - needs to be the central policy framework.
This evening event on 21 June 2012 was chaired by Dr Fiona Sim, editor of Public Health (on behalf of the Royal Society for Public Health) and incorporated presentations from high profile speakers Dr Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion; Dr John Middleton, Director of Public Health for Sandwell; Dr David Pencheon, Director, NHS Sustainable Development Unit; and Dr Geof Rayner, Research Fellow, City University London.
A synopsis of talks given on the day are available below.
Introduction to the City Summer Food Symposium 2012: Ecological Public Health
Tim Lang, Professor at the Centre for Food Policy, and Fiona Sim, editor of Public Health, introduced the role of public health in the modern world - and the importance of putting health at the centre of the new vision of the 21st century in the context of the Rio+20 negotiations.
What is ecological public health?
Dr Geof Rayner, Research Fellow at the Centre for Food Policy at City, explained how ecological public health fits into public health thinking. Ecological public health recognises that human health fundamentally depends on ecosystems. There is a pressing need for a new, integrated framework around public health and for it to become a movement for the future.
Three dividends for ecological public health
Dr John Middleton, Director of Public Health Sandwell, and Vice-President, Faculty of Public Health, gave examples of the ecology and human health connection. He identifies three dividends for better health: the health dividend, where industry can promote health and create value for itself at the same time; the inclusion dividend, which recognises that people with disabilities are best placed to say what their needs are and how to address them through technology; and the green dividend, for the application of technical skill to peaceful and environmentally sound processes.
Ten lessons from taking on sustainability issues for the NHS
Dr David Pencheon, Director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, gave his explanation for the world's health and ecological problems. He shares ten personal lessons learned from working to address the sustainability issues for the NHS.
Positive thinking about ecological public heath challenges
Dr Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, explained how the challenges facing the world today are an opportunity to start thinking differently by recognising that humans are dependent on healthy functioning ecosystems in innumerable ways. She sees public heath as an area of potential for policies that protect rather than damage, that encourage balance rather than excess, and that bring people together with the planet.