EFH Director, Kirsty Gogan will be a panellist at this conference, organised by MedAct on 9/10 December 2016. Review the programme and find out more here.
Why This Conference?
Human health is dependent on a healthy environment. Yet we are damaging ecosystems and depleting natural resources in ways that undermine our ability to sustain healthy and equitable societies.
Climate change, desertification, ocean acidification and biodiversity loss are among many ecological threats to health. These impact on health via multiple pathways that include reducing food and water security, altering disease patterns, increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, and multiplying the risk of conflict.
The threats posed by climate change and wider environmental degradation are serious. According to a Lancet-UCL Commission, climate change could be “sufficient to trigger a discontinuity in the long-term progression of humanity”. Indeed, on the basis of current emission trajectories, “temperature rises in the next 85 years may be incompatible with an organised global community”.
However, the challenge this represents also presents a number of opportunities to promote health, both short and long-term. These include reducing air pollution, promoting active forms of transport, healthier food systems, and working towards a fairer, more equal economy and society.
The health community has both a mandate and an interest in calling for the social, political and economic actions required to mitigate and adapt to environmental change.
The health community is already helping to lead the way. But we can do much more.
Overview of the Programme
The focus of Friday’s sessions will be to examine the relationship between environment and health. They will cover a wide range of interconnected issues related to the breaching of planetary boundaries: from economic, energy and food systems to violent conflict and migration, and how health services themselves will be affected. First, Professor Kevin Anderson and economist Kate Raworth will provide an overview of the ecological crises we are facing today. This will be followed by three lectures in four parallel sessions, which will progress from the problems we face as a health community, to the potential solutions we can drive forward.
Unsustainable Systems: Economic, Food, Energy and Health
Health impacts of Climate and Environmental Change: Present and Future
The Better World: Adaptation, Mitigation and Co-benefits to Health
For those with a particular interest in food systems, alternative economics, or energy and health, streams of sessions related to these topics are highlighted so that the issues can be followed from problems to solutions. If, on the other hand, you would rather explore a range of topics each session can also stand alone.
Friday night will feature a short film screening, with an introduction from environmental journalist John Vidal and Billy Kyte from Global Witness.
Saturday will equip delegates to explore how they can address the impacts of environmental change on health. Plenaries for the whole audience will bring together a range of progressive health and environmental speakers who can share experience and inspiration. Four parallel workshops will then enable skill sharing and give delegates an opportunity to learn about the issues in which the health community is already active, with the hope that more will join this health movement as we advocate and mobilise for change.
Saturday evening will see the return of the ever-popular Folk & Word to the Medact Forum: a collected assembly of artists, poets and musicians will offer their reflections on discussions and vision of the conference.
Entry to each evening event will be included with conference tickets, but if you can’t make it during the day then separate evening tickets will also be available nearer the time.