Alberta Proclaims Its Right To Pollute

Alberta Proclaims Its Right To Pollute

Not all resources must be mined, used and exported; the sorry story of asbestos proves that point, although it took a long time to overcome stubborn government support for this industry. The last asbestos mine in Canada closed in 2011, and Canada finally agreed to ban the use of asbestos as of this year — 30 years after the World Health Organization declared asbestos a carcinogen in 1987.

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Society’s Happiness Is A Serious Business

Society’s Happiness Is A Serious Business

Clearly, happiness is serious business. But what does it have to do with health? Well, not surprisingly, quite a lot. In fact, the two are in many ways almost the same thing, and each helps to predict the other. Happier people live longer lives in good health, while good health is a key factor contributing to happiness; what makes us happy makes us healthy, and vice versa.

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Connecting To Our Past And To Nature

Connecting To Our Past And To Nature

Thirty years ago, in the background paper for the World Health Organization’s new Healthy Cities program in Europe, Len Duhl and I identified 11 evidence-informed characteristics of a healthy city. One of them was “connection to biological and cultural heritage,” and was particularly influenced by an interesting review of the literature on environments, people and health by Ros Lindheim, an architect, and Len Syme, a noted social epidemiologist.

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Community Uniting for Common Good

Community Uniting for Common Good

There is an emerging community-based movement in the capital region — and elsewhere around the world — that recognizes that ecological, social and economic conditions and human well-being are not separate issues but are inextricably linked. In Victoria, some related initiatives have sprung up, mostly in just the past couple of years, that are working to address these intersecting issues holistically, but in different ways.

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Good mental health needs good start in life

Good mental health needs good start in life

Not only is poor mental health costly to manage, it also represents a large burden of human suffering and loss of human potential and — to the extent it is preventable — a tragic societal failure. So it is good to see that, finally, we are beginning to pay attention to improving the mental well-being of the population.

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We are being marketed to death

But let’s face it, the purpose of marketing is to persuade us to buy more of their products — why else would a business spend all that money? And therein lies perhaps the greatest danger. Because marketing feeds into and supports the dominant narrative of growth, it stimulates us to want and need more products, more “stuff.”

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If we want to save lives, control alcohol

This is not going to make me popular with my beer-drinking, Morris-dancing friends, or with a lot of other people, I imagine, but we need to put higher taxes on alcohol and implement other proven policies that make it less accessible and less glamorous. This is the conclusion one must come to on reading the report on alcohol harm in Canada just released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information and a 2015 report by Canada’s chief public health officer.

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The new public-health entrepreneurs

The new public-health entrepreneurs

There is a lot of money to be made from making us ill. The No. 1 example is the tobacco industry, whose products, if used as intended, are bound to make us ill. But close behind it is the food industry, which for years has been selling us both too much food and the wrong sorts of food.

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