Courses NonDegree Display 2021-2022

Course Description To PDF
Course title Sustainability and Human Health
Course code EBC2188
ECTS credits 5,0
Assessment Whole/Half Grades
Period Start End Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
1 30-8-2021 15-10-2021 X X
Level Intermediate/Advanced
Coordinator Maud Huynen, Ben Janssen
For more information:;
Language of instruction English
Students are able to:
* understand what is meant with health (from a variety of perspectives);
* explore the basics of environmental health;
* explore the basics of planetary health;
* explain the relationship between sustainable development and mental health, sustainable work and sustainable behavior;
* reflect on the (central) role of human health in the sustainable development debate.
Human health is a key component in the sustainable development debate. For example, the first principle of the seminal 1992 United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development states that "Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature". Similarly, the World Health Organization argues that "sustainable development cannot be achieved when there is a high prevalence of debilitating illnesses, and population health cannot be maintained without ecologically sustainable development". Throughout the course, students will reflect on the (central) role of human health in the sustainable development debate.

In the past the exploitation of the environment has benefited human health, for example by increasing food production to feed billions of people. However, the exploitation and contamination of the environment is now beginning to threaten our health. Hence, the same natural systems that have benefited humans for so long (by providing key ecosystem services in support of human wellbeing), are now suffering from the consequences of human activities.

This course will explore the linkages between human health and the environment from both an environmental health and planetary health perspective. Both fields examine the relationship between human health and conditions and exposures originating outside the body, such as extreme temperatures, chemicals (e.g. from medical waste), infectious diseases (e.g. COVID-19), or any number of other potential factors. Building on environmental health, however, planetary health explicitly accounts for the importance of natural systems in terms of averted cases of disease and the potential harm that comes from human perturbations of these systems.

Next to looking at physical health, this course will also explore mental health and well-being in relation to sustainable development, focusing on eco-anxiety, sustainable work and sustainable behavior. People around the world are increasingly suffering from mental health impacts as they are becoming more anxious about the impact of global environmental change (e.g. climate change) on the planet. Students will discuss the emergence of eco/climate-anxiety (and reflect about their emotional responses), examine how sustainable behaviour can be encouraged, and explore how long-term well-being can be improved through sustainable work.
Teaching methods (indicative; course manual is definitive) PBL / Presentation / Lecture / Groupwork
Assessment methods (indicative; course manual is definitive) Written Exam / Presentation
Evaluation in previous academic year For the complete evaluation of this course please click "here"
This course belongs to the following programmes / specialisations
UM-wide minors Minor Sustainability
SBE Non Degree Courses Minor Sustainability