Ecosystem-based translation of health research: expanding frameworks for environmental health
Butler, Colin David
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The high capacity of science and health infrastructure in countries such as Australia has contributed to the relatively low public health impact of many environmental health hazards, including our endemic, wildlife‐origin zoonotic diseases. However, understanding how these and other health risks may be reduced within an ecosystem service framework will be increasingly valuable as climate change and pressures on natural environments intensify. Benefits could transcend national boundaries, especially if regional epicentres of ecological, political and social disintegration widen, creating milieux for potential pandemics. We are in a gainful position to progress research and translation of research into policy using the frameworks already available in Australia. This will be strengthened by promoting common language and metrics across disciplines and agencies, including costing that includes externalities and co‐benefits, and by supporting research into ecological linkage mechanisms and the broader ecosystem service ‘settings’ of health risks. Existing tools inclusive of stakeholder inputs can address ecosystem service trade‐offs. These can be used to identify or trial primordial preventative ‘eco‐social’ strategies. Aggregated, these have the potential to address GEC as health risk. We advocate concerted effort to refine these approaches and to promote a sense of urgency in their implementation.
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