Cleaner, Greener, Healthier
412 pages, 6 x 9
25 tables
Release Date:01 Sep 2015
Release Date:01 Sep 2015
Release Date:01 Sep 2015
Release Date:01 Sep 2015

Cleaner, Greener, Healthier

A Prescription for Stronger Canadian Environmental Laws and Policies

SERIES: Law and Society
UBC Press

Despite Canada’s enduring image as a natural paradise, every year thousands of Canadians become ill or die prematurely as a result of exposure to environmental hazards. Canadians understand that their health is inextricably linked to the health of the environment and are deeply concerned about the impacts of toxic substances on themselves and their children.

In Cleaner, Greener, Healthier, David R. Boyd sets out to expose and remedy Canada’s environmental health problems. He begins by assessing the environmental burden of disease, identifies its unequal distribution along racial and socio-economic lines, and estimates the associated economic costs. He then compares Canadian environmental laws and policies with those in the United States, Australia, and the European Union, leading to a provocative diagnosis of the root causes of Canada’s second-rate standards. Finally, drawing on strategies that protect citizens in other countries, Boyd prescribes legal remedies that will enable Canada to catch up with the world’s environmental leaders while delivering substantial health and economic benefits.

This book demonstrates how strengthening environmental policies governing air and water pollution, hazardous substances, pesticides, climate change, and biodiversity will extend lives, prevent illnesses, and save Canada billions of dollars in unnecessary health care spending.

Cleaner, Greener, Healthier is essential reading for policymakers, lawyers, academics, students, and concerned Canadians.

Boyd does not disappoint in delivering another sweeping, well-researched interdisciplinary overview of the difficult challenge of linking environmental regulation to health in Canada. He makes a compelling case for law reform and, along the way, documents emerging and less well-known areas of environmental harm, such as intergenerational health impacts and the mental health benefits of nature. Deborah Curran, University of Victoria, BC Studies
David Boyd’s book is a scathing indictment of Canada’s failure to protect the air, water, soil, and ecosystems that our health and wellbeing depend on. But Boyd also provides a clear and convincing set of recommendations for smarter environmental policies that could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars every year. If politicians and policymakers adopted Boyd’s advice, Canada would be a much cleaner, greener, healthier country. David Suzuki, award-winning scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster
David Boyd’s remarkably insightful book reveals our government’s abdication of its responsibility to protect human health from environmental threats. He demonstrates how badly Canada’s rules for air, water, food, toxic substances, climate change, and biodiversity lag behind those of other wealthy nations. Drawing on global best practices, Boyd lays out a compelling blueprint for enabling Canada to catch up with world leaders in environmental health. Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever
Most of us intuitively know that our health is intimately intertwined with the health of the environment, but this is the first book to capture the myriad ways that environmental hazards impact the health of Canadians. David Boyd also offers a comprehensive and far-reaching blueprint to prevent environmentally induced death, disease, and disability and to slow runaway growth in health care expenditures. Bruce Lanphear, MD, senior scientist, at the Child & and Family Research Institute, BC Children’s Hospital, and professor, in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Boyd asks exactly the right questions and comes to the sad conclusion that Canada’s environmental laws are far weaker than those of other countries. But he’s ultimately optimistic: if government exerted some political will, most environmental threats to our health could be eliminated. Gideon Forman, Executive Director, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
David Boyd has once again made a monumental contribution to the scholarship of Canadian environmental law. Only rarely can it be said that a book could actually save lives; this one can. If we adopt the very reasonable approaches suggested by Professor Boyd, we will indeed create healthier Canadians both now and in the future. A must-read for all Canadians. Professor Lynda Collins, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
David Boyd’s latest book provides a sobering assessment of Canada’s current legal framework for environmental protection and a thoughtful prescription on what can be done to improve it. An excellent read for anyone with an interest in environmental health, policy and regulation. Ray Copes, MD, and Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Want to save thousands of lives, billions of dollars in health costs, and have a cleaner environment? Then read this book. With meticulous research and superb writing, David Boyd paints a powerful policy roadmap for making Canada healthy, wealthy and wise – if we take his advice. Stewart Elgie, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa and Chair of Sustainable Prosperity
In this comprehensive and readable survey David Boyd catalogues the many hazardous substances that we encounter in our environment and highlights how Canada lags far behind other developed countries with respect to regulation of many exposures. Boyd not only diagnoses the problem, he provides a scientifically robust prescription for treating it. This is a must-read for policy makers at all levels of government and for all Canadians who care about the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Peter D. Paré, MD, Professor Emeritus of Respiratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of British Columbia and editor-in-chief of the Canadian Respiratory Journal
This important book addresses the political failures of governments to adequately protect Canadians from environmental harm and to create more health-enhancing environments. More importantly, it shows how we can – and must – change this, using all available political, legal and economic tools to create a cleaner, greener and healthier future for us all. Dr. Trevor Hancock, Professor and Senior Scholar, School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria
This book must be put in every politician’s hands. For years, David Boyd has built a very robust diagnosis of Canada’s environmental problems. Now, through this appealing and very positive book, Boyd provides the next step: a powerful prescription for achieving a healthy environment. François Reeves, MD, FRCPC, Université de Montréal, and author of Planet Heart: How an Unhealthy Environment Leads to Heart Disease
David R. Boyd is a leading Canadian expert in environmental law and policy and an adjunct professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. An award-winning author, Boyd has written several books, including The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Towards a Greener Future; The Environmental Rights Revolution: A Global Study of Constitutions, Human Rights, and the Environment; The Right to a Healthy Environment: Revitalizing Canada’s Constitution; Dodging the Toxic Bullet; David Suzuki’s Green Guide (with David Suzuki); and Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy. He lives on Pender Island, on the west coast of Canada, with his partner Margot Venton and their daughter Meredith. For more information visit

Part 1: Examination – The Surprising Magnitude of Environmental Health Problems in Canada

1 A Neglected but Vital Issue

2 Environmental Influences on Human Health

3 The Environmental Burden of Disease

4 Environmental Injustices

5 The Economic Costs of the Environmental Burden of Disease

Part 2: Diagnosis – Inadequate Environmental Health Laws and Policies

6 Environmental Health Law and Policy: The Big Picture

7 A Comparative Analysis of Environmental Health Laws and Policies

8 Canada’s Failure to Make Polluters Pay

9 Why Does Canada Lag Behind?

Part 3: Prescription – Catching Up with Environmental Health Leaders

10 A Preventive and Precautionary Approach

11 Systemic Changes in Pursuit of Sustainability

12 The Time for Action Is Now


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