There is mounting evidence of the impact of the environment determinants on the health of populations. Environmental factors contribute to an estimated 24% of the total global disease burden; children 0-14 years bearing the greatest burden. This poster illustrates one approach to growing the next generation of registered nurses who can think and act as environmentally informed sustainable practitioners. Taking a deductive approach, this Environmental Health module begins with Carl Saganís Pale Blue Dot, our 'stage in the cosmic arena', and then introduces students to the World Health Organisationís 2006 report on Heath and the Environment and New Zealandís environmental health pressures.
Our education institutionís commitment, post UN Conference on Sustainable Development at Rio +20 (June 2012), identifies the skills necessary for graduates to enter sustainable development workforces. The skills include valuing people and the planet, respecting finite resources and taking sustainability from an abstract term to real practice. Teaching /learning strategies include referencing international standards, exploring planet-environmental impact and developing people-social responsibility. To this end, the focus of the module then turns to local environmental public health issues identified by our regional public health department in Auckland. Nursing students are encouraged in year one to become Eco Reps for the institution, in year two they are asked to examine their own ecological footprint and identify the personal changes they can make in their own lives to promote environmental sustainability; " It begins with me."