Planetary and Human Health — One Coin, Two Sides

In the week that took us one step further from a climate-conscious or secure future in Australia, and as our federal government turned its back once again on renewable energies including wind and small-scale solar, one coalition seems to understand and heed the dire warnings laid out in front of us. Our leader and his ministers may be missing the enormous canary in the proverbial (and literal) mine, but one group of scientists could not see it more clearly. Nor could they be making the links to human health more apparent.

Released this week in the global medical journal, The Lancet, is the The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health. A major piece of research and the outcome of 2 years of work from a global team of scientists, this commission focuses on the health of the planet and its links to our own health as humans. It outlines the serious consequences for us all should we allow Climate Change to continue unchecked, and puts it in clear global health terms.

Following a similar landmark report only a few weeks ago, this second commission complements and extends the focus for science, health, medicine and policy communities. It looks beyond a warming planet and the potentially catastrophic effects of heat on humans and ecology – to outline some of the unsettling indirect ways that a changing climate will effect us all. Looking at challenges, opportunities and solutions – it uses tangible examples and a multidisciplinary approach.

A key message of this report, is the outlining of three major challenges that must be addressed in order to achieve climate and planetary health. The first, is overcoming conceptual and empathy failures – the idea that we need to rethink the way we measure our economies, factor-in our impacts on the planet over time and act —> Read More