Public Health & Sustainability
Many practices that affect sustainability have direct impacts on public health. When we discuss them in terms of environmental impact, some people tend to overlook the more direct impacts on people. It may seem obvious that food has a direct impact on the health of communities where it is grown and on those who eat it, but many people aren’t aware of the connections. Transportation choices also have direct impacts, because vehicles cause air pollution and GHG, while alternatives reduce air pollution and provide healthful physical activity.
Interns will explore impacts of various practices and their relation to public policy and work to raise public awareness. Activities will include some or all of the following:
- Identify existing resources and research on connections between public health and food, transportation, and energy use
- Research health impacts of other sustainability issues such as natural gas drilling & ‘fracking’, waste disposal, and alternative fuels [including fuels considered ‘renewable’]
- Evaluate existing and proposed public policy in light of known environmental and health impacts and public health goals of prevention rather than treatment
- Assist with preparation of ‘health impact assessments’ or other written materials
- Make presentations to elected officials and to community groups to make more people aware of the health impacts