Have we failed sustainable development or has sustainable development failed us?
Day 1 #lockdown
Defining Planetary Health
The first day of lockdown instilled a sense of reality of moving into the unknown. How will the world look like after the pandemic. What will the global reaction be to human and nature interactions and connections?
Our socio-economic progress globally has taken a very heavy toll on earth’s natural systems. We have continued with highly inequitable patterns, inefficient and unsustainable resource consumption coupled with population growth and subsequent significant nature degradation.
Degradation of air, water and land, combined with a significant loss of biodiversity have had a substantial impact on human health. We have observed and experienced a reduction in food security and nutrition, a loss of freshwater resources, elevated exposures to communicable diseases and an increase in non-communicable diseases and an increase in loss of life and human well-being due to extreme weather events. It is clear that a new approach is required.
The Rockefeller Foundation defines planetary health as the achievement of the highest attainable standard of health, wellbeing, and equity worldwide through judicious attention to the human systems - political, economic and social - that shape the future of humanity and the Earth’s natural systems that define the safe environmental limits within which humanity can flourish.In other words, planetary health is the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends.
To progress toward planetary health the development of an improved understanding of the connections between natural systems and health, including the potential for destabilising changes in crucial ecological pathways need to be developed.Progress is also required in understanding and recognising the benefits to health that arise from the conservation and rehabilitation of natural systems and the mitigation of greenhouse gases and other damaging emissions that result from human activities.For humanity to move towards achieving planetary health we will need to develop, implement and assess ambitious, integrated policies and plans to address social, economic and environmental determinants.