Health and economies – Faculty of Science

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Presenting author: Ilan Kelman (University College London and University of Agder)

Human-caused climate change as a domineering topic in contemporary research, policy, and practice has led to extensive interest and support for better understanding climate change’s possible health impacts. Sorting through the rhetoric of climate change and health means conducting research to understand and compare the interests and actions of people and institutions, both local and non-local.

This process entails consultative and participatory research which, by definition, means taking up people’s time, using other local resources, and, often, discovering and using data that they have collected. While these actions can assist people in understanding the value of their own knowledge and information, and might further spur them to continue their own work, the scientific process remains geared towards extractive economics. Most value is placed on deliverables for the research funder, typically through outputs such as academic and popular science publications, presentations, and products. Reportable outcomes tend to be focused on those relevant to the funder’s mandate, which is understandable. Co-design, co-production, and co-publication might make these processes less extractive, although they still focus on the ‘economics’ of project-funded research rather than on the needs of those subjected to research.

Further steps would assist in ensuring that research is part of a location’s ‘web of life’, supporting health, livelihoods, and more, in addition to being responsive to local viewpoints, rather than being separate or imposing on all endeavours topics such as climate change.



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