Over four days in May, researchers, academics, policy makers, social entrepreneurs, government planners, non-governmental and civil society actors, and local community leaders from around the world gathered at Edinburgh’s famed McEwan Hall, to discuss solutions to major planetary health challenges. This event also welcomed young advocates from the Children’s Parliament of Scotland, who will talk about their ideas for safeguarding the planetary health. This annual meeting builds on the successful inaugural Planetary Health Meeting held in Boston last year.
What is planetary health? Put simply, planetary health is “the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends”. While the concept of planetary health has been around for sometime, in 2015, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Lancet gave this relationship between the environment and humanity a name: planetary health.
The degradation of ecosystems often leads to negative public health impacts. Addressing these grave impacts and achieving global human and environmental sustainability requires urgent dialogue and cooperation between local communities, experts from across different sectors, state and non-state actors and policy makers.
The Global Health Academy, one of Edinburgh University’s five Global Academies, was delighted to co-organise and host this important conference.
This conference aimed to offer a significant platform for discussion and collaboration, as well as a “much needed space, as Professor Liz Grant, Assistant Principal for Global Health says, “ to think about the values behind how we live and act”
While this global meeting convened in Edinburgh, several of the University of Edinburgh’s alumni clubs across the globe committed to Planetary Health Pledges. These are expanding and exciting the reach of the planetary health community. Cyclists in Chile are ascending heights to promote sustainable transportation; alumni in Colorado are organising waste reduction activities; Shanghai alumni are working with social enterprises towards sustainable fashion.