Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society

Healthy & Sustainable Futures Exhibition

The Global Health Governance Programme, led by Professor Devi Sridhar, have this week put on a fantastic exhibition encouraging visitors to think about how we can create a healthy and sustainable future. Not an easy task, but unquestionably a worthwhile one.

From designing bracelets using the colours of the Sustainable Development Goals, to challenging people to carry two buckets weighing ten litres (as 15-20 litres of water is enough to support basic needs), the exhibition has lots of hands-on activities for all ages. Schools from across the city have been visiting and taking part in activities alongside the exhibition and it was fantastic to see young people engaging with these issues.

What the exhibition highlights so well is the link between health and environment. For example one of the displays showed the enormous levels of sugar in some soft drinks (a whopping 7 teaspoons in 200ml of one of the smoothies!). You may be aware that too much sugar can contribute to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and joint pain, but did you know that growing sugar beet uses nearly double the amount of pesticides and herbicides than other crops? So looking after our waistlines may also help look after our planet – a win-win in anyone’s book.

Image of plastic exhibit

At the launch of the exhibition Professor Devi Sridhar spoke of her desire to create something ‘fun and optimistic’ about global health and Dr Lorna Thomson certainly rose to the challenge and made the exhibition both of these things. It is important to realise the impact we are having on global health and sustainability, but also to appreciate that some things are already improving. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that from 1950 to 2017 global life expectancy increased from 41 years to 73 years and that in the same time global child (under-five) mortality dropped from 216.0 to 38.9 deaths per 1000 live births. 

Clearly there is still more to do,  particularly to allow health and sustainability to flourish equitably, and the Global Health Governance Programme is well-placed to play an important and significant role in this. I look forward to working with Professor Sridhar and her team to think more about these issues and to engage more people with this vital work.

 

Stephanie Sinclair, Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement Co-ordinator at the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society