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Oladele Ogunseitan
Green Health Metrics: Transnational Gaps in Science and Policy
June 6, 2017

Green health is the goal of individual and societal investments in sustainable products and processes that enhance human health. It is about making informed decisions concerning disease prevention strategies that transcend national boundaries; choices about safer and effective medications; about energy resources that minimize health-damaging pollution; and choices about international investments in green infrastructures that promote health—green transportation, green agriculture, green buildings, and green information technologies. Advancing the conceptual framework of green health toward actionable policies requires the development of reliable and scientifically validated measures of effectiveness. However, transnational gaps in science and policy discords challenge the vision of a global reach of green health. We will use case studies from my research projects to discuss three emerging categories of green health metrics. Status Metrics attempt to capture the deviation of a population from perfect health in terms of interventions that modify composite measures of disease burden. Process Metrics deal with protocols that are designed to prevent morbidity and premature mortality, including performance standards developed for international business, governments, and civil society. Product Metrics compare the impacts of materials and processes on social and environmental systems through the use of quantitative tools of alternatives analysis and life cycle assessments.