Vulnerability of eco-environmental health to climate change: the views of government stakeholders and other specialists in Queensland, Australia

Strand, Linn B.; Tong, Shilu; Aird, Rosemary; McRae, David
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p441
Academic Journal
Background: There is overwhelming scientific evidence that human activities have changed and will continue to change the climate of the Earth. Eco-environmental health, which refers to the interdependencies between ecological systems and population health and well-being, is likely to be significantly influenced by climate change. The aim of this study was to examine perceptions from government stakeholders and other relevant specialists about the threat of climate change, their capacity to deal with it, and how to develop and implement a framework for assessing vulnerability of eco-environmental health to climate change. Methods: Two focus groups were conducted in Brisbane, Australia with representatives from relevant government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and the industry sector (n = 15) involved in the discussions. The participants were specialists on climate change and public health from governmental agencies, industry, and nongovernmental organisations in South-East Queensland. Results: The specialists perceived climate change to be a threat to eco-environmental health and had substantial knowledge about possible implications and impacts. A range of different methods for assessing vulnerability were suggested by the participants and the complexity of assessment when dealing with multiple hazards was acknowledged. Identified factors influencing vulnerability were perceived to be of a social, physical and/or economic nature. They included population growth, the ageing population with associated declines in general health and changes in the vulnerability of particular geographical areas due to for example, increased coastal development, and financial stress. Education, inter-sectoral collaboration, emergency management (e.g. development of early warning systems), and social networks were all emphasised as a basis for adapting to climate change. To develop a framework, different approaches were discussed for assessing eco-environmental health vulnerability, including literature reviews to examine the components of vulnerability such as natural hazard risk and exposure and to investigate already existing frameworks for assessing vulnerability. Conclusion: The study has addressed some important questions in regard to government stakeholders and other specialists' views on the threat of climate change and its potential impacts on eco-environmental health. These findings may have implications in climate change and public health decision-making.


Related Articles

  • Why sustainable population growth is a key to climate change and public health equity. Howat, Peter; Stoneham, Melissa // Health Promotion Journal of Australia;Dec2011, Vol. 22 Issue 4, pS34 

    Australia's population could reach 42 million by 2050. This rapid population growth, if unabated, will have significant social, public health and environmental implications. On the one hand, it is a major driver of climate change and environmental degradation; on the other it is likely to be a...

  • Climate Change and Health Research: Time for Teamwork. Hrynkow, Sharon H. // Environmental Health Perspectives;Nov2008, Vol. 116 Issue 11, pA470 

    The author reflects on the increasing commitment to address the issue of climate change, particularly the reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050. She suggests that efforts to increase greenhouse gas mitigation coincide with the effort to better understand the link between climate change and human...

  • Climate Change and Health Vulnerabilities. Hamilton, J. Drake // Minnesota Medicine;Nov2009, Vol. 92 Issue 11, p35 

    The author focuses on global warming and its adverse effect on human health. The author discusses aspects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and extreme weather events, and how they can affect health by causing heat-related deaths, increasing waterborne disease, and worsening air...

  • Rising CO2, Climate Change, and Public Health: Exploring the Links to Plant Biology. Ziska, Lewis H.; Epstein, Paul R.; Schlesinger, William H. // Environmental Health Perspectives;Feb2009, Vol. 117 Issue 2, p155 

    BACKGROUND: Although the issue of anthropogenic climate forcing and public health is widely recognized, one fundamental aspect has remained underappreciated: the impact of climatic change on plant biology and the well-being of human systems. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to critically evaluate the extant...

  • Un yacimiento frío y duro: La controversia en torno a las perforaciones en el Ártico.  // Salud Pública de México;jan2011, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p90 

    No abstract available.

  • The Need to Restore the Public Health Base for Environmental Control. Goldstein, Bernard D. // American Journal of Public Health;Apr95, Vol. 85 Issue 4, p481 

    The article discusses the need to restore the public health base for environmental control. It addresses issues concerning environmental health. It has been argued in this article that the environmental health in the U.S. would be better served if there was a focus on public health principles...

  • Japan's decision-making about climate change problems: comparative study of decisions in 1990 and in 1997. Kawashima, Yasuko // Environmental Economics & Policy Studies;2000, Vol. 3 Issue 1, p29 

    Assesses the decision-making process about climate change problems in Japan. International and domestic levels of decision-making; Involvement of domestic stakeholders in the process and to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders; Factors that influenced the decision-making process.

  • Tackling the Public Health Impact of Climate Change: The Role of Domestic Environmental Health Governance In Developing Countries. Onzivu, William // International Lawyer;Fall2009, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p1311 

    The impacts of climate change are grave challenges to humanity and inequitable to developing countries. Climate change threatens human health through its effects on the stability of ecosystems on which human health depends, and in increased disease pandemics. Multilateral climate change treaties...

  • CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE WAR ON COAL: EXPLORING THE DARK SIDE. McGinley, Patrick Charles; Haden II, Judge Charles H. // Vermont Journal of Environmental Law;Winter2012, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p255 

    The article presents information on the increase in climatic changes and the need of sustainable energy in future due to global warming. The need of informed decision making and the role of public policy decision makers are discussed. The socio-economic impact of the use of coal energy,...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics