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

Mapping Canada’s Imported Food Supply Chains to Identify Climate Change-Related Health Risks

Byomkesh Talukder, PhD., Planetary Health Fellow
Aria Ilyad Ahmad, PhD Candidate, Fellow, Global Health Foresighting
Rhonda Ferguson, PhD., Law and Global Health Fellow

Nations need the right data & data management strategies to mitigate threats to food security caused by climate change. This project seeks to map the supply chain of imported persishable foods, develop a dashboard of food security indicators & explore  uses of Blockchain to track & identify hazards & risks to a country’s imported food supply.

Ecological Footprint Health Indicators

Byomkesh Talukder, PhD., Planetary Health Fellow

Bridging the emerging field of Planetary Health with existing knowledge, this project uses the Ecological Footprint framework to research and develop population and individual human health indicators that can be used in  health adaptation policies, programs and practices.

With the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Complex Adaptive Modelling of Health Impacts of Climate Change in Malawi & Paraguay

Byomkesh Talukder, PhD., Planetary Health Fellow

The Chilwa Basin, Malawi, is among the regions most affected by climate change worldwide. Working with Chilwa Basin communities & partners, we will develop a computer-based simulation to model the relationship between climate change & human health based on local interactions & dynamics. The project’s next iteration will take place in Paraguay.

Climate Change, Salinity & Public Health in Bangladesh

Byomkesh Talukder, PhD., Planetary Health Fellow

Bangladesh is experiencing substantial levels of saltwater intrusion. While salinity is normally high along its long coast, it is now extending further inland due to climate change. This project investigates the concentration of salt in Bangladesh’s coastal food systems & its associated health impacts.

Morbidity & Mortality Patterns of Migrants in a Warming World

Linn Biorklund Belliveau, Community Scholar, Health, Migration & Climate Change

The emergence of climate hotspots has exacerbated existing health risks among already-vulnerable communities, forcing many people to migrate. The majority of people initially stay within their own country, often moving to rapidly-growing city slums where insecurities intensify & systemic health service gaps limit access to appropriate health assistance. To better understand this phenomenon, this project maps the causes and patterns of migrant morbidity & mortality in urban areas proximate to climate hotspots.

Humanitarian Operational & Policy Frameworks to Improve Planetary Health

Carol Devine, Community Scholar, Health, Environment, & Climate Change

Humanitarian relief operations & advocacy programs are increasingly focused on how environmental forces shape the focus of their work, but lack a coherent policy and operational framework to guide decision-making. We are exploring, defining & building this framework. It will offer an actionable concept of planetary health which articulates the relationship between human activity, environmental health & humanitarian emergencies.