A turning point for planetary health – Speaking of Medicine and Health – PLoS Blogs

By guest contributors Dr Renzo Guinto and Dr. Tollulah Oni (both Section Editors for PLOS Global Public Health’s Environmental and Planetary Health Section) and Dr. Anna Stewart Ibarra (Section Editor for PLOS Climate’s Health Section)

This post is co-published on the PLOS blog Latitude.

The interconnectedness of life on our planet is a concept that is often invoked, but that has perhaps never before been so urgent and relevant to society and the decisions we must take. The climate emergency, biodiversity loss, rapid urbanisation and different forms of environmental pollution interact with enormous challenges in global public health such as infectious disease outbreaks and a rising non-communicable disease burden. These multiple interlinked crises make it clear that fundamentally interconnected thinking across issues, sectors, disciplines, nations and cultures is needed to find effective solutions and actions.

As a transdisciplinary field of research and a social movement, planetary health seeks to analyse and address humanity’s manifold impacts on the planet and on our health. The movement has been gaining momentum in recent years. In October 2021, following the Planetary Health Annual Meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, the Planetary Health Alliance launched the São Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health, an urgent call for decisive action to alter the current trajectory of our impact on the planet.

Spurred on by the structural failings and social inequities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Declaration highlights the opportunity afforded by the pandemic to rebuild a more sustainable, equitable and secure way of living on Earth. The landmark Declaration advocates for a fundamental shift in how we live, termed the ‘Great Transition. Crucially, it outlines, for the first time, specific actions necessary to achieve this. Among others, there are clear lines of action for governments, researchers, the health sector, businesses, educators, artists, lawmakers, economists, urban planners, and young people. For the research community, the Declaration calls for transdisciplinary efforts to identify solutions, inclusive approaches, open science, co-design and participatory approaches with communities, and highlights a need to elevate the role of scientists from middle- and low-income countries.

While researchers are referred to in the Sao Paulo declaration, academic publishing actors are not explicitly mentioned. We believe that academic journals, their editors, and their reviewers have a vital part to play in using their platforms to showcase the growing planetary health evidence base, while also ensuring that diverse voices are amplified and good science is shared without barriers to access. 

To this end, PLOS Global Public Health has a dedicated environmental and planetary health …….

Source: https://speakingofmedicine.plos.org/2021/10/26/a-turning-point-for-planetary-health/

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