Ecological determinants of health and an eco-social approach to public health education

Stefi Barna's picture


Resource Description: 

This Canadian article differentiates between 'ecological' and ‘environmental’ determinants of health. It proposes more attention to ecosystems as foundational to human health and recognizes climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, ocean acidification, land and water degradation, as they affect personal, public, and planetary health. 

This complements environmental public health, with its focus on the built environment, food handling, water safety, waste disposal, workplace safety, communicable disease control, and the management of known environmental health risks and exposures.  The environmental health approach often aims to maintain the status quo, placing human health considerations ahead of ecological concerns.

The authors call for public health education, policy, and practice to  take an eco-social approach to educational content (concepts and topics) and process (pedagogical approaches suited to learning from the land and living systems).



Parkes, M.W., Poland, B., Allison, S. et al. Can J Public Health (2019).

Publication date: 

December, 2019

Resource type: 

  • information resource

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