Dr. Shirley Thompson -Natural Resources Institute
204‑474‑7170 | s_thompson@umanitoba.ca

Welcome to the Healthy Communities and Sustainability website at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba.

This website includes an introduction to our network's research, courses, people and resources (papers, presentations, posters, etc). This website provides a multi-media approach to convey our research and education program, including educational videos and geographical information system and Google maps.

A necessity of healthy communities is that basic needs are met (food, energy, housing, water, waste disposal etc) in a sustainable way. Research and materials of this network focus mostly on the basic needs of community food security, alternative energy and an analysis of the impacts of current waste policy on greenhouse gases, energy and sustainability. These and other issues are looked at through the lens of environmental justice, gender analysis, health analysis, policy analysis as well as environmental management systems and engineering techniques.

Much of this research makes the link between sustainability and health or policy evident. The health of a community is related to its social, economic, political, and environmental circumstances: "The social conditions in which people live powerfully influence their chances to be healthy. Indeed, factors such as poverty, food insecurity, social exclusion and discrimination, poor housing, unhealthy early childhood conditions and low occupational status are important determinants of most of disease, death and health inequalities between and within countries" (WHO, 2004: 1). These determinants help explain why Manitoba's First Nations population has double the premature mortality rate compared to all other Manitobans. Life expectancy for First Nations people is about eight years less than all other Manitobans (males 68 versus 76 years; females 73 versus 81 years) (Martens et al, 2002). Many students and projects are focused on northern Manitoba Aboriginal communities (First Nation and Northern Affairs), as this is where the sustainability and health disadvantage is most evident.