Studying the health of people and ecosystems amidst contemporary expulsions through experimental research design

Authors: Eija Meriläinen*, University College London, Ilan Kelman, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, Institute for Global Health, University College London; University of Agder, Sonja L. Myhre, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Laura E.R. Peters, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, Institute for Global Health, University College London; College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Michelle Scobie, University of the West Indies, Geordan Shannon, UCL Institute for Global Health
Topics: Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: health, methodology
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 28
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The apparent “Anthropocene” characterises the destructive impacts of recent human activities on the planet. Beyond the debate about labelling the current geological epoch, there have been calls for drawing more focus to the inequitable ways in which the devastating processes associated with it affect humans and non-humans. The impacts of climate change and extractivism, for instance, unfold and interact in different places in complex ways. One way to understand these contemporary developments and complexities is to study the health of people and ecosystems jointly and longitudinally. This can uncover reliances, interactions, and feedbacks that have been blurred by transnational supply chains, urbanization and movements within the global economy. People’s health is also increasingly dependent on ecosystems that are physically distant from them, with extractive activities and mass extinctions taking place place out of sight. Thus, it would be important to shed light on the connections and disconnections, and their evolution over time, between the health of people and the various ecosystems they depend upon. This is especially important for continuing expulsions that might drive subsistence farmers off their land, change where a city dweller gets their nutrition from, alter the make-up on an ecosystem, and increase inadvertent encounters between human and non-human beings. While experimental socioecological research approaches could help uncover the connections between health of humans and ecosystems across physical distances, the challenge for the approach may lie in capturing change over time.

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