Planetary health: a new discipline for a better future

Planetary health: better outcomes for people and the environment

I started this blog a couple of years ago because I was feeling overwhelmed about the declining health of the planet. Hardly a day went by without devastating news about large and small environmental catastrophes. 

At the same time, I saw in-action and climate denial in politics and much of mainstream business. I had reached a point when I could not sit back and watch anymore. I needed to do more than avoiding plastic and eating a more climate-conscious diet. And I wanted to understand what ideas and solutions could help us turn things around for the better. 

That’s why I decided to interview people who were making a positive difference in big and small ways. It’s been a huge learning curve so far. I wrapped my head around how waves could be leveraged for energy generation. And I brushed up on my high school knowledge of photosynthesis as a key concept in regenerative farming.

The experience exceeded my expectations. Not just intellectually, but because of the people I had the pleasure to get to know. There were heartfelt and generous conversations about the trials, setbacks, and triumphs of working in this space. It gave me a sense of connection that I had long been missing.

From bushfires and a pandemic to planetary health

Then unprecedented bushfires raged through Australia. The event struck yet another blow to biodiversity and critically endangered species. The fires were still burning when life as we know it came to a standstill due to COVID-19.

It was hard to avoid the doom scrolling. Many articles ascertained that this was only a foretaste of what is still ahead of us: More fires. More floods. More diseases.

If anything, though, the pandemic only reinforced that I wanted to do more. And for that, I felt like I still needed to learn more.

Coincidentally, it was in one of the doom scrolling articles that I first read about the emerging academic field of planetary health. It is a transdisciplinary approach that focuses on the interrelationship between the health of the planet, ecosystems, humans, and other living beings.

Ideas Scientists Thinkers
sustainability reading list November 2020

Sustainability reading list: November 2020

My sustainability reading list for November features a mix of older and new content from around the web.

Addressing climate change in a post pandemic world

COVID-19 has forced governments globally into action. The pandemic is maybe the first event since the deregulation of markets in the 1980s when governments had to put policies in place that prioritise human health over economic growth.

It’s perhaps not surprising then that analysts are comparing the pandemic response to climate action (or the lack thereof). McKinsey has put together a useful overview of the similarities and differences between COVID-19 and climate change.

Ideas Snippets