Clinicians urged to act on planetary health

Physicians, nurses, and other clinicians were called on to help address urgent planetary health challenges in an April 19, 2019 comment in The Lancet.

Co-authors of the piece included Samuel Myers, principal research scientist, planetary health, at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and director of the Planetary Health Alliance; and Christopher Golden, assistant professor of nutrition and planetary health.

The authors cited a range of threats to the planet, including climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and pollution. They noted that human-caused disruptions to Earth’s natural systems could have major impacts on global health, such as an uptick in the spread of infectious diseases, increased nutritional vulnerability, and susceptibility among populations to displacement, injury, and mental health issues.

Clinicians can help spur individual-level behavior change and environmental action, according to the authors. “We seek to educate patients that certain behavior and lifestyle modifications can simultaneously improve their own health and help to secure the health of the world’s least-resourced people and future generations by protecting our planet’s natural systems,” they wrote.

Read the Lancet comment: A call for clinicians to act on planetary health (open access after free login)