Planetary Health

According to The Lancet medical journal, climate change poses the greatest global health challenge of the 21st Century.

While emerging challenges of the global commons such as climate change can exacerbate existing fault lines, the crossing of planetary ecological boundaries has increasingly uncertain feedback effects on the biosphere and human civilization. The emerging field of planetary health embraces this broader scope of analysis by describing and aspiring to the health and viability of human civilization and our planetary biosphere. The ways in which we presently live, for example, result in the consumption of 1.7 times the sustainable carrying capacity of Earth’s ecosphere. The theme of planetary public health calls urgent attention to the complexity and impacts of ecological and human systems, while also inviting deeper reflection on the human ecology convergence.

Current Projects

Ecological Footprint

Human demand for biosphere resources has huge consequences for planetary health. Ecological Footprint (EF) is an indicator that helps to explain the status and consequences of the use of these resources. It also helps to monitor and track impact trends of human activities on biosphere resources. There is a defined framework to assess EF. In this project, this framework will be used as a basis for developing planetary health-related indicators that can assess threats, facilitate early warning, and develop better adaptation and mitigation projects and policies related to planetary health challenges.

Climate Change and Health Modelling

In the present world context, it is urgent to understand and track the impacts of climate change on health, which is already significantly hampered by the consequences of climate change. The relationship of climate change and health is not linear; complex science based on transdisciplinary knowledge is required to understand it. However, the big question is: what can be done to help vulnerable people and communities to improve health outcomes in various climate change scenarios? To address this question, this project utilizes complex adaptive systems thinking and advanced computational modeling to investigate the relationships between extreme weather, physical environment, infectious disease risk, food and nutritional security, and health outcomes; to identify leverage points where community-based supports and interventions for climate change adaptation can help improve health outcomes and disaster resilience of affected communities; and to evaluate hazard data on a range of scales (national to local) to promote disaster risk mitigation actions with a view to improving community health.

Under the broader theme of this project, an initiative using secondary data has been undertaken to develop a climate change and health index based on complexity science and a cause and effect framework.