Special issue of Journal of the British Academy explores links between public health and environment

14 Oct 2021

The interconnection between public health and environmental factors – such as energy usage, rapid urban development, just transitions, and green spaces – is the focus of a new special issue of the open-access Journal of the British Academy, part of a series of climate-focused issues published ahead of COP26.

The series highlights the importance of the SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) disciplines in understanding the complex human and social dimensions to environmental challenges and solutions, and features contributors from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds.

The latest special issue, "Climate Change, Public Health and Wellbeing", features three interdisciplinary research studies drawing on fields from Urban Studies and International Studies to Environmental Psychology, Occupational Psychology, Social Anthropology, and Design:

  • Tolu Oni, Taibat Lawanson and Ebele Mogo observe that new governance approaches, focusing on integrating community-based initiatives will help to tackle the localised health hazards and inequalities resulting from climate change in the Global South.
  • Stephanie Wilkie and Nicola Davinson examine how environmental social science and health behaviour change mechanisms are being utilised to influence public health in urban greenspace interventions.
  • Morton Fibieger Byskov, Keith Hyams and Oyinlola Oyebode introduce the Multi-Dimensional Injustice Framework (MDIF) to tackle questions arising from the need for a just transition and equitable adaptation to climate change. The authors argue the MDIF can shape answers to questions about the demands of fair adaptation and just transition, and the extra considerations arising from structural inequalities.

Professor Simon Goldhill FBA, Foreign Secretary of the British Academy, said:

“A British Medical Journal editorial has described the climate emergency as a potential ‘global health catastrophe’. The potential worldwide challenge to health and wellbeing creates a huge demand for action based on a firm foundation of understanding and multi-disciplinary research.

“This special issue provides a rewarding insight into the wealth of research already being undertaken in this area in a wide range of fields. It underlines many of the strengths of research in the SHAPE disciplines, including the ability to integrate perspectives from the Global South into policy discussions, paying close attention to the relationship between climate change and endemic health burdens and extreme poverty both there and throughout the world.”

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