Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisorGibson, Robert B., 1950-en
dc.contributor.authorAbernethy, Paivi 20:37:03 (GMT) 20:37:03 (GMT)
dc.description.abstractComplex environmental health issues are examples of ‘wicked problems’ that require cross-sectoral collaboration of the public, private, not-for-profit, and academic sectors together with the communities in which they function. Although the linkages between health and sustainability have been widely acknowledged in theory, stakeholders engaged in sustainable development and health seldom collaborate in practice. Promoting environmental health has remained strongly in the domain of the health sector, despite the ambitious rhetoric of international agreements. This dissertation focuses on cross-sectoral integration of health and sustainable development practices by exploring the bridging of ‘siloed’ knowledge. The emphasis is on collective knowledge and the three characteristics of cross-sectoral partnerships that have been identified as valuable for improving decision-making processes: bridging key discourses, bringing together key groups, and generating new knowledge. Aristotle’s three intellectual virtues, epistemé, techné and phronesis, were modified to help describe these aspects of collective intelligence that could enhance the integration of approaches to health and sustainability. The theoretical foundation for this transdisciplinary research was built primarily on health promotion and sustainability governance literatures, which were examined for their overlapping and complementary aspects. Children’s environmental health was studied as a useful bridging concept and UNESCO-mandated biosphere reserves as bridging organisations for integrating health and sustainability. Activities in all Canadian and British biosphere reserves were assessed for the extent of their focus on health. In addition, by investigating four biosphere reserves as case studies, this research identified barriers to and drivers for integrating health goals into biosphere reserve activities. At the same time, the organisational understanding of matters relevant to children’s environmental health was studied to assess the potential of biosphere reserves as bridging organisations for gathering and mobilising local knowledge on these issues. The findings centre on three new perspectives for mobilising knowledge as it relates to the cross-sectoral integration of health and sustainability: (1) the bridging of health promotion and sustainability governance theories, using children’s environmental health as a bridging concept and area of application, which brings together the key discourses in a transdisciplinary manner (epistemé); (2) the value of bridging organisations offering their skills and functional platforms as mechanisms to facilitate bridging of health and sustainability in practice, by bringing together main stakeholders (techné); and (3) the importance of bridging collective knowledge and combining the theoretical, practical, and ethical aspects of the integration process, to increase the level of understanding of specific problems, in this case children’s environmental health (phronesis). Other contributions offered by this research include the discovery of similarities in health promotion and sustainability governance theories; development of a transdisciplinary ecohealth framework; recognition of biosphere reserves as bridging organisations that function as innovative community-based forums for the integration of sustainable development and public health; and findings that reveal an insufficiency of local data collection on children’s environmental health threats. All in all, the findings in this research offer a conceptual and practical frame for integrating health and sustainability by facilitating cross-sectoral collaboration.en
dc.publisherUniversity of Waterlooen
dc.subjectSustainability governanceen
dc.subjecthealth promotionen
dc.subjectbridging organisationsen
dc.subjectbridging knowledgeen
dc.subjectco-creation of knowledgeen
dc.subjectchildren's environmental healthen
dc.subjectbiosphere reserveen
dc.subjectintegrating health and sustainable developmenten
dc.subjectcomplex social-ecological systemsen
dc.subject.lcshbiosphere reservesen
dc.subject.lcshhealth promotionen
dc.subject.lcshenvironmental healthen
dc.subject.lcshsustainable developmenten
dc.titleBridging Theories, Concepts, Organisations, and Collective Knowledge for Health and Sustainability Integrationen
dc.typeDoctoral Thesisen
dc.subject.programSocial and Ecological Sustainabilityen and Resource Studiesen
uws-etd.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record


University of Waterloo Library
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
519 888 4883

All items in UWSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved.

DSpace software

Service outages