Future Investment

Article excerpt

Future investment Sustainability and health: supporting global ecological integrity in public health Valarie A Brown, John Grootjans, Jan Ritchie, Mardie Townsend and Glenda Verrinder (editors) Allen and Unwin, 2005 ISBN: 1 74114 442 6. RRP: $59.95 AUD

SUSTAINABILITY IS ONE OF those buzz words that is often used, but I suspect is poorly understood. In the last few decades of the 20th century, scientific support began to demonstrate overwhelming evidence for global climate change and major environmental impacts that have the real possibility of resulting in significant impacts on the health and well-being of current and future generations. Unfortunately, up until now, public health practitioners have not seemed to play as pivotal a role in the process as is necessary. Given this background, the text Sustainability and health provides some welcome answers to the question "What is the role for public health practitioners in the sustainability governance process?"

This text is the product of a 3-year collaboration between a number of mainly local public health academics and practitioners. Participants contributed to web-based discussion groups to clarify issues surrounding sustainability and health, and then participated in a writing workshop to prepare the first draft of the text. The text therefore approaches the issues from the viewpoint that multidisciplinary collaboration is necessary to address health aspects of sustainability, and in fact, public health practitioners require a new world view and way of working if they are to provide solutions to the complex issues we are facing.

The text aims to answer three central questions: Why is sustainability of key importance to public health? …