Aims

Focusing on governance issues related to three major and interconnected challenges– a rising public health burden, social inequality and climate change - the Hothouse will provide a roadmap towards planetary health equity.

Our work seeks to answer the question: What are the conditions that enable the transformation of the consumptogenic system and ensure the development of intersectoral public policy and commercial activities that advance planetary health equity goals?

The goal of the Laureate is to generate new knowledge about ways to improve the common drivers of climate change and global health inequities and identify how the consumptogenic system can be transformed towards planetary health equity goals. The aim is to drive positive change through idea generation and informed action in policy and business.

We will do this through a governance-focused study of the consumptogenic system, revealing how powerful interests, ideas and institutions enable or hinder the development of intersectoral policy and commercial activities that advance planetary health equity. Based in systems thinking, the research brings together planetary, social and commercial determinants of health inequities.

HH The Problem

Research Program

The Laureate research program has the following five objectives, addressed through three work packages with two interrelated streams. Initial case studies will focus on food, energy, and infrastructure/housing.

1. Conduct a political economy analysis of the consumptogenic system driving planetary health inequity.

2. Identify inter-sectoral policies and commercial activities to improve planetary health equity, across key sectors.

3. Understand how state, market and civil actors advance their interests and influence policy and business processes relevant to planetary health equity.

4. Provide the theoretical and analytical advancements to develop a governance framework that advances planetary health equity coherent policies and business practices.

5. Identify strategies that socially-oriented actors in government, international organisations, non-government organisations, and business can use to transform the system to advance planetary health equity goals.

HH Research Design

Work Package 1: Exposing the consumptogenic system

We will systematically expose the key macro-economic, political and social drivers of the consumptogenic system in Australia and globally, thus identifying where action needs to focus. We will map the state, market and civil society actors in these systems, producing network maps showing the different types of actors involved in the general and sector-specific planetary health inequity systems, how they are linked and who holds the key levers for change.

Work Package 2: Planetary health equity impact assessment

We will qualitatively assess the impact of current intersectoral policy and commercial activities on planetary health equity and make recommendations for changes to enable coherent policies and business practices that could recalibrate the consumptogenic system towards planetary health equity. A planetary health equity impact assessment tool will be developed.

Work Package 3: Governance to advance planetary health equity policy and business practices

Fundamental to effecting positive change in the consumptogenic system is an understanding of key decision-making processes. We will examine the challenges and opportunities for creating the coherent policy and business practices identified in Work Package Two. This requires understanding the processes of policy-making, the structures in which business decisions are made, the power dynamics between public/private, state/non-state, health/other interests, and the strategies and tactics used by the different actors to advance their interests.

Concepts

Consumptogenic system: This global system is characterised by institutions, policies, commercial activities, norms and behaviours that encourage and reward excessive production and consumption of fossil fuel-reliant goods and services that are unhealthy and inequitably valued and distributed. The consumptogenic system is a root cause of health inequities and climate change.

Planetary Health Equity: is the environmentally sustainable and equitable enjoyment of good health.

COP28 Lancet commentary

Making COP28 rhetoric a reality

Giorgia Dalla Libera Marchiori, Sharon Friel. February 14, 2024, The Lancet.

2024 must be the year of bold and inspiring nation leaders, ministers, and policy makers developing policies and establishing international treaties that prioritise health, equity, and the planet, while working to create the conditions for an economic system that supports their implementation...

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This commentary reflects on what should follow COP28's successes and failures. It highlights the need to focus on mitigation policies both at national and international levels to avoid the further exacerbation of the climate-health-equity crisis. It calls on governments, especially in high-income countries, to shift towards an economic system centre on wellbeing rather than GDP to create the environment for those mitigation policies to flourish and deliver positive outcomes for people and planet, as well as reshaping COP governance to rebalance power dynamics in the decision-making process.

https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(24)00199-5

Climate change mitigation. Tackling the commercial determinants of planetary health equity

Climate change mitigation: tackling the commercial determinants of planetary health inequity

Sharon Friel. November 14, 2023, The Lancet.

The findings of the 2023 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change are not surprising, but are incredibly worrying for the survival of humanity...

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Taking the necessary bold mitigation action requires disrupting the consumptogenic system, and the entrenched power inequities that exist at the core of this system. Governments, especially in high-income countries, must use their regulatory power to curb excess commercial activities and stop further coal, oil, and gas projects.

https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(23)02512-6

New Political Economy article

Shaping planetary health inequities: the political economy of the Australian growth model

Nicholas Frank, Megan Arthur, Sharon Friel. August 8, 2023, New Political Economy.

The global consumptogenic system encourages excessive production and consumption of goods and services that are harming human and planetary health. Growth models lie at the core of the consumptogenic system...

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We analysed the Australian growth model, the politics that sustain this model, and the impacts of the model on people and the planet. We show that the Australian growth model has become more reliant on domestic consumption fuelled by rising house prices and a permissive credit environment to drive economic growth. The key drivers of the Australian growth model have created conditions that undermine economic equality, drive health inequities, and create excessive greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2023.2242796

Thumbnail of the academic paper in the Medical Journal of Australia and The Lancet Countdown Report 2022

The 2022 report of the MJALancet Countdown on health and climate change: Australia unprepared and paying the price

Paul J Beggs, Ying Zhang, Alice McGushin, Stefan Trueck, Martina K Linnenluecke, Hilary Bambrick, Anthony G Capon, Sotiris Vardoulakis, Donna Green, Arunima Malik, Ollie Jay, Maddie Heenan, Ivan C Hanigan, Sharon Friel, ...

 

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...Mark Stevenson, Fay H Johnston, Celia McMichael, Fiona Charlson, Alistair J Woodward and Marina B Romanello

November 7, 2022 

The MJA–Lancet Countdown on health and climate change in Australia was established in 2017 and produced its first national assessment in 2018 and annual updates in 2019, 2020 and 2021. It examines five broad domains: climate change impacts, exposures and vulnerability; adaptation, planning and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co-benefits; economics and finance; and public and political engagement. In this, the fifth year of the MJA–Lancet Countdown, we track progress on an extensive suite of indicators across these five domains, accessing and presenting the latest data and further refining and developing our analyses.

https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.51742

thumbnail image of academic paper in the Medical Journal of Australia

Climate Change, society, and health inequities

Sharon Friel. November 7 2022, Medical Journal of Australia.

Climate change will widen health inequities; action on the social determinants of health is essential...

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This article lays out ways of advancing planetary health equity goals. To help achieve these, the health community must advocate for and engage in intersectoral policy discussions relating to the social determinants and the structural consumptogenic system. Acting immediately on these issues is critically important if we are to avert a planetary health inequity crisis.

https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.51731

Lancet article thumbnail

Power and the planetary health equity crisis

Sharon Friel, Megan Arthur, Nicholas Frank. October 1, 2022, Invited Comment in The Lancet.

"Societies are at a pivotal juncture in addressing the impacts of the climate crisis and the consumptogenic system...

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Recalibrating power inequities might be possible by compelling narration of ideas that advance equity and sustainability, strategic use of institutional processes, and social mobilisation among like-minded and unusual bedfellows."

https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(22)01544-6

Other outputs

Katherine Trebeck and Future Leaders

Marking a landmark policy symposium, with a collective focus on planetary health equity

2023 Future Leader Fellows. September 12, 2023, Croakey Health Media.

This article is a compilation of tweets made by the 2023 cohort of the Future Leaders Program through the @WePublicHealth Twitter account during the first week of the program.

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A roster of Future Leaders shared their reflections on the sessions and their key take-away messages.

https://www.croakey.org/marking-a-landmark-policy-symposium-with-a-collective-focus-on-planetary-health-equity/

Francis Nona panel

Poetic call to support sovereignty in all climate and health work

Francis Nona. September 30, 2023, Croakey Health Media.

Francis was a panellist at the Hothouse's inaugural Policy Symposium. This article captures the message he delivered during the panel session.

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Read Francis' poem here.

For more information about the Policy Symposium, visit our Events page.

Sketch for Hothouse Symposium

Sketch notes from 2023 Hothouse Policy Symposium

One of the attendees of the Hothouse's inaugural Policy Symposium generously shared their sketchnotes with us. 

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These notes are a fantastic summary of the topics discussed during the four sessions across the day. 

For more information about the Policy Symposium, visit our Events page.

Enquiries

Please direct general enquiries to: hothouse@anu.edu.au or call the Senior Project Officer on (+61 2) 6125 3948

Twitter: @PHEhothouse

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The Planetary Health Equity Hothouse

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