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We live in unprecedented times - the Anthropocene - defined by far-reaching human impacts on the natural systems that underpin civilisation. Planetary Health explores the many environmental changes that threaten to undermine progress in human health, and explains how these changes affect health outcomes, from pandemics to infectious diseases to mental health, from chronic diseases to injuries. It shows how people can adapt to those changes that are now unavoidable, through actions that both improve health and safeguard the environment. But humanity must do more than just adapt: we need transformative changes across many sectors - energy, housing, transport, food, and health care. The book discusses specific policies, technologies, and interventions to achieve the change required, and explains how these can be implemented. It presents the evidence, builds hope in our common future, and aims to motivate action by everyone, from the general public to policymakers to health practitioners.
Reading these articles in our AHY Forum brought back a flood of memories to my last days as a university undergraduate at Emory University when I first encountered Emperor Rudolf II and Renaissance Prague in a course taught by the late James Allen Vann. What captivates us about the past? What prompts naive undergraduates to take that fateful step and pursue a PhD in history? For me, it was simply Rudolf. I was not alone. The quizzical emperor ensconced in his castle high above the city has intrigued the imaginations of many. There is certainly irony in this, for Rudolf as an emperor was no success. He ended his reign an ineffective ruler browbeaten by his own brother to abdicate as king of Bohemia. But if he failed politically, there were lasting triumphs elsewhere. Rudolf's contemporary, the Flemish painter and theoretician Karel van Mander, famously pointed to Prague and the emperor as the “greatest art patron in the world.” And what emperor can boast that his most acclaimed “likeness” was a collage of fruits and vegetables, a portrait executed by a student of Leonardo da Vinci?
Individuals present in lower Manhattan during the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster suffered from significant physical and psychological trauma. Studies of longitudinal psychological distress among those exposed to trauma have been limited to relatively short durations of follow-up among smaller samples.
The current study longitudinally assessed heterogeneity in trajectories of psychological distress among WTC Health Registry enrollees – a prospective cohort health study of responders, students, employees, passersby, and residents in the affected area (N = 30 839) – throughout a 15-year period following the WTC disaster. Rescue/recovery status and exposure to traumatic events of 9/11, as well as sociodemographic factors and health status, were assessed as risk factors for trajectories of psychological distress.
Five psychological distress trajectory groups were found: none-stable, low-stable, moderate-increasing, moderate-decreasing, and high-stable. Of the study sample, 78.2% were classified as belonging to the none-stable or low-stable groups. Female sex, being younger at the time of 9/11, lower education and income were associated with a higher probability of being in a greater distress trajectory group relative to the none-stable group. Greater exposure to traumatic events of 9/11 was associated with a higher probability of a greater distress trajectory, and community members (passerby, residents, and employees) were more likely to be in greater distress trajectory groups – especially in the moderate-increasing [odds ratios (OR) 2.31 (1.97–2.72)] and high-stable groups [OR 2.37 (1.81–3.09)] – compared to the none-stable group.
The current study illustrated the heterogeneity in psychological distress trajectories following the 9/11 WTC disaster, and identified potential avenues for intervention in future disasters.
This article addresses a simple question that has rarely been asked of Kant’s philosophy of nature: why are attraction and repulsion the two fundamental forces of matter? Where proposals can be found in the literature, they are divergent. I provide a new answer, which has strong support from the historical context: Kant pursues a modified version of what I call the ‘reduction method’ that was much debated in the German metaphysical tradition. To this, Kant crucially adds his critical doctrine of regulative ideas, revealing an overlooked way that the Appendix to the Critique informs his philosophy of nature.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is legally designated the country’s independent central statistical authority with formal responsibility for all official statistics. Despite formal emphasis on statistical centralisation in Australia, there has been significant growth in official statistical production outside the ABS in recent decades. I argue that this is partly a product of a perceived tension between maintaining depoliticisation and meeting the needs of policymakers for new information, a tension managed by restricting ABS responsibilities to core statistical programs and creating new statistical agencies and programs to meet policymaker needs. ABS statisticians have exacerbated this trend by insisting on their absolute impartiality and sacrificing their claim to policy usefulness. ABS has a strong bias towards the production of economic indicators, reflecting the institutional settings it has operated in, including its formal location within the Department of the Treasury. The latter has relied on the ABS to bolster its own credibility in economic policy and has actively hindered the ABS from expanding into other statistical subject areas.
expansion as necessary for their policy agendas. Government statisticians have succeeded in creating a mystique around official statistics and convinced users that only StatCan has the capacity to produce quality data. Recent political interventions by conservative governments into the Census have shifted attitudes towards the need for greater formal autonomy, pressuring for reforms that formalised some aspects of Statistics Canada’s independence. Canada’s distribution of statistical authority has been shaped by the country’s institutions, including the Westminster administrative tradition, which moderated recent pushes to formalise StatCan’s autonomy.
In 1994, many responsibilities of Statistics Sweden were transferred to new statistical units operating within policy areas. Statistics Sweden has gradually accrued greater formal powers to oversee and coordinate official statistics in the country, leading to a partial reversal of the decentralisation reforms. Chapter 4 shows how credibility imperatives and institutional settings have shaped these developments. Decentralisation emerged following the end of social democratic political hegemony, when centrist and new-right governments demanded greater responsiveness and efficiency and sought to break up bureaucratic monoliths. Depoliticisation pressures, driven by the EU context, have resulted in a political push for recentralisation of authority. Statistics Sweden historically pursued credibility by emphasising competency, but shifted to stressing usefulness and demystification of official statistics. Sweden’s statisticians enjoy formal independence thanks to constitutional provisions that protect the autonomy of Swedish government agencies, but continuous informal dialogues are used to secure policymakers’ influence over statistical agendas.
The USA has a decentralised statistical system of 13 ‘principal statistical agencies’ and numerous smaller official statistical programs. Formal arrangements for autonomy differ between the agencies, including various models for appointing agency heads. The Chief Statistician has a unique role, not directly overseeing statistical production but with power to review and veto existing and proposed data collection initiatives in the federal government. There is a strong political imperative to steer statistics in support of policy agendas, resulting in practice incremental expansion of statistical collections to meet new needs. Support for statistical autonomy has a pronounced partisan flavour. The US separation of powers creates a greater number of political access points into statistical programs, but also a higher degree of transparency that discourages political meddling. Administrative traditions create an imperative to secure access to the White House, and the office of the Chief Statistician acts as a gatekeeper for this access, channelling statisticians’ demands for new resources and authorities to key central agencies in the executive.