"What is public health? To some, it is about the infrastructure for health - drains, water, food, housing. These require engineering and expert management. To others, it's about the State using medicine or health education to prevent the public harming itself through poor lifestyles. This book, part historical, part prospective, argues that public health needs an overhaul. It should return to and modernize itself around ecological principles. Ecological public health thinking addresses what are described as four levels of existence: the material, biological, social and cognitive worlds. The long tradition of public health has always been reactive, responding to and transforming the relationship between people, their circumstances and the biological world of nature and bodies. The authors show how twenty-first century public health is being shaped by a number of long-term transitions, some long recognized, others not. These transitions are demographic, epidemiological, urban, energy, economic, nutrition, biological, cultural and democracy itself. Facing them all is required if the health of people and the planet are to be integrated. Ecological public health thinking, the authors argue, has been marginalized partly because it has lacked clear analysis, and partly because of the scale and complexity of the issues which need to be addressed. Public health thinking has partly lost its way because it has been subsumed into the problems rather than championing solutions. Often linked to the State, it has adapted to consumerism rather than championing citizenship. Returning to ecological public health requires stronger and more daring combinations of interdisciplinary work, movements and professions, and a reinvigoration of institutional purpose"--Provided by publisher.