‘After Hours’ is a webinar series by Doctors for the Environment Australia. The series “Planetary Health” was the topic of the first webinar for 2022, presented by Dr Kate Wylie in February.
This informative and confronting session describes the concept of planetary health, outlines key features of planetary health and describes in detail those requiring the most pressing attention. It concludes with an urgent call to action and some ways we can all make positive change.
I commend to you the event recording.
Planetary health is described by Dr Wylie as “the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends” (Whitmee et al, Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of the Rockefeller foundation: Lancet Commission on planetary health.)
Nine elements to planetary health
In order to make more concrete the factors contributing to planetary health, nine boundaries have been described in the literature. These are nine elements to planetary health, which each, if optimised, contribute to the maintenance of our planet’s health:
- Climate change
- Biosphere integrity
- Land system change
- Freshwater use
- Biochemical flows
- Ocean acidification
- Atmospheric aerosol loading
- Stratospheric ozone depletion
- Novel entities including chemicals and plastics.
In order to maintain planetary health, Dr Wylie’s recommendations are that we need to:
- Adopt an ambitious national plan to cut climate emissions this decade
- Establish a Sustainable Healthcare Unit to support environmentally sustainable practice in healthcare and reduce the sector’s emissions
- Develop a national climate change and health strategy
- Protect and restore nature
While this requires corporate responsibility and policy change, there is an important impact to be made by all individuals.
There is so much important work to be done and the time to act is NOW!
See more about the After Hours series.
Marissa Daniels is a paediatric intensive care medicine trainee, yAFMW co-Chair and past Treasurer for AFMW.