Human health depends on the health of the planet. Earth's natural systems – the air, the water, the biodiversity, the climate – are our life support systems. Yet climate change, biodiversity loss, scarcity of land and freshwater, pollution and other threats are degrading these systems. The emerging field of planetary health aims to understand how these changes threaten our health and how to protect ourselves and the rest of the biosphere.
Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves provides a readable introduction to this new paradigm. With an interdisciplinary approach, Planetary Health addresses a wide range of health impacts felt in the Anthropocene, including food and nutrition, infectious disease, non-communicable disease, dislocation and conflict, and mental health. It also presents strategies to combat environmental changes and its ill-effects, such as controlling toxic exposures, investing in clean energy, improving urban design, and more. Chapters are authored by widely recognized experts.
The result is a comprehensive and optimistic overview of a growing field that is being adopted by researchers and universities around the world. Students of public health will gain a solid grounding in the new challenges their profession must confront, while those in the environmental sciences, agriculture, the design professions, and other fields will become familiar with the human consequences of planetary changes. Understanding how our changing environment affects our health is increasingly critical to a variety of disciplines and professions. Planetary Health is the definitive guide to this vital field.
List of Tables and Boxes
Preface: A Note of Covid-19
Part I. Foundations
1. An Introduction to Planetary Health \ Samuel Myers, Howard Frumkin
2. Assembling Planetary Health: Histories of the Future \ Warwick Anderson, James Dunk
3. Population, Consumption, Equity and Rights \ Robert Engelman, John Bongaarts, Kristen P. Patterson
4. A Changing Planet \ Chris Field, David Tilman, Ruth DeFries, David Montgomery, Peter Gleick, Howard Frumkin, Philip Landrigan
Part II. The Health of Populations
5. Food and Nutrition on a Rapidly Changing Planet \ Samuel Myers
6. Planetary Health and Infectious Disease \ Richard S. Ostfeld, Felicia Keesing
7. Global Environmental Change and Non-Communicable Disease Risks \ Howard Frumkin, Andy Haines
8. Environmental Change, Migration, Conflict and Health \ Lauren Herzer Risi, Caroline Kihato, Rebecca Lorenzen, Howard Frumkin
9. Mental Health on a Changing Planet \ Susan Clayton
10. Climate Change and Human Health \ Howard Frumkin
11. Happiness on a Healthier Planet \ John F. Helliwell, Jon Hall
Part III: Pivoting From Threat to Opportunity
12. Energy and Planetary Health \ Ajay Pillarisetti, Kirk R. Smith
13. Urban Places and Planetary Health \ Ana V. Diez Roux, Adriana C. Lein, Iryna Dronova, Daniel A. Rodríguez, Rosie Mae Henson, Olga Sarmiento
14. Controlling Toxic Exposures \ Philip J. Landrigan, Terrence J. Collins, John Peterson Myers
15. A New Economics for Planetary Health \ Will Evison, Sam Bickersteth
16. The Business of Planetary Health: From Economic Theory to Policy and Practice \ Will Evison, Sam Bickersteth
Part IV. Saving Ourselves, Saving Our Planet
17. Planetary Health Ethics \ Alexander Foster, Jennifer Cole, Ivica Petrikova, Andrew Farlow, Howard Frumkin
18. A Bright Future for Planetary Health \ Samuel Myers, Howard Frumkin
Afterword: Coronavirus and Planetary Health
About the Editors
"A practical and useful handbook for planetary health education [...] The format of the book is engaging, with readable text complemented by an interesting mix of figures, tables, and photographs [...] The author roster is impressive [...] [it] provides a comprehensive and illuminating overview of planetary health [...] [and] is an important book [and] an excellent primer [...] I like it, and hope it is widely read. It certainly is a timely text for burgeoning university courses in planetary health. Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves should be on the reading list of all health professionals because they have an important part to play as we strive for planetary health."
– The Lancet
"A comprehensive review [...] Planetary Health is highly interdisciplinary, predicated as it is on the basis that human health and the health of the planet are inextricably linked. I would recommend biodiversity and conservation scientists to read this book because it shows how our understanding of the complexities and interaction of the natural world have direct relevance to managing many existing and emerging human diseases [...] .The editors have done an excellent job in drawing together some deep and critical thinkers about planetary health, and so this will be a useful introductory textbook in undergraduate classes in ecology or environmental sciences as well as the health sciences. I would also like to see Planetary Health used as a primer for those from industry or policy involved in the challenges of how we protect our planet to ensure that it meets the health aspirations of future generations."
– Biodiversity and Conservation
"Planners and students can benefit from the authors' and editors' authoritative and wide-ranging overview (as well as their sincere optimism)."
– Planning Magazine
"A must read for anyone interested in a roadmap to saving both ourselves and the planet."
– Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association
"If I could place a copy of this book in every home, every school, and on the desk of every public official, I would. Hope, wonder, awe, and respect are written into every page. So is a call to care."
– Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Hour of Land and Writer in Residence, Harvard Divinity School
"With digestible science and a wealth of historic and political context, this book [...] leaves us with a sense of hope given the solutions in hand and the proven resilience of the human spirit."
– Gina McCarthy, President and CEO, Natural Resources Defense Council and former US EPA Administrator under Barack Obama
"The COVID microbe reminds us that biology can't be spun or compromised with; climate change teaches us the same lesson about physics and chemistry. This volume underlines those insights, and helps us see how we can reimagine our relationship with the planet."
– Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?