The #ScienceSummit2022, hosted by the Falling Walls Foundation in Berlin, brought together a diverse group of experts from various fields to engage in a dynamic roundtable discussion on the pressing issue of restoring planetary health. The theme of the discussion was “From Evidence to Action: Restoring Planetary Health through Science and Collaboration.” The event aimed to provide a platform for experts to share their knowledge, insights and innovative solutions to address the challenges facing our planet. The participants consisted of renowned experts from the fields of biochemistry, plant biology, to name a few. The diverse range of perspectives and knowledge from these experts provided a rich and enlightening discussion on the role of science and collaboration in restoring planetary health.
The discussion emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration to tackle complex environmental problems, the role of biochemistry in understanding and solving these issues, and the significance of considering the perspectives of developing countries. The exchange of ideas and insights was truly enriching and further highlighted the need for collective action in restoring planetary health.
What is planetary Health?
Planetary health is a comprehensive field that focuses on the relationship between human health, animal health, and the health of our planet. It recognizes the interconnectedness between human activities and the well-being of the Earth’s ecosystems. This interdisciplinary field explores challenges such as climate change, pollution, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity, and works towards understanding their impact on both human health and the health of the planet. To effectively address these global issues, diversity and inclusion in problem-solving are essential, as a single homogeneous group cannot alone anticipate all the necessary factors for creating a healthy future for all.
What is the current status of Planetary Health?
Humans are having a major impact on the Earth’s natural systems through activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and pollution. This can result in serious consequences for human health, including the effects of climate change, such as more severe weather, rising sea levels, and changes in the distribution of disease-carrying organisms. The loss of biodiversity also has negative impacts on the natural systems that provide us with essential resources, like clean air and water, and sustainable food.
Restoring Planetary Health
One of Dr. Haddads key messages at the plenary table for restoring planetary health was referring to the traditions, norms and practices of indigenous peoples who systematically incorporate values like the human maintenance of healthy ecosystems in their normative frameworks.
While the future of this planet depends largely on influential industrialized nations returning to these ancient acknowledgments to reshape the prevailing relationship between humans and nature, these nations must not claim the invention of natural stewardship or planetary health for themselves and disregard the long history of systematic destruction that has wiped out large percentages of indigenous peoples and continue to violate their rights.
As a result, we have now identified three steps necessary for shaping international alliances for restoring planetary health on a global scale:
Prioritizing planetary health in decision making
Both corporations and governments around the world must prioritize the health of the planet in their policies and decision-making to ensure that future generations can survive within the ecosystem of planet Earth. This also requires legal and governmental transformations through collaborative efforts of countries around the globe. Here, Legal Transformation Methodology offers a proactive approach to embedding values such as planetary health into their law of the future (link to article: Rethinking Reactive Lawmaking).
To restore the health of the planet, international cooperation is required to ensure that protection of the planet is embodied in international law and practices as well. This involves global discussions and exchanges of ideas on how to achieve the commonly shared vision of a thriving and healthy future for humankind. Therefore, it is crucial to include the voices of indigenous peoples in this process, as they still protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity despite systematic environmental destruction by industrialized nations.
Reshaping human-nature relations
In order to shape functional future regulations, we must rethink current human-centered laws and instead focus on implementing laws that prioritize the health of the entire ecosystem as the health of humans is wired to the health of the planet. This requires a fundamental transformation of current human-nature relations. A healthy ecosystem must be recognized by all nations and peoples as the absolute foundation of human survival. Thus, we must shift our focus from the exclusive protection of human interests to the protection of the well-being of the entire planet.
The #ScienceSummit2022 was a powerful demonstration of the role of science and collaboration in restoring the health of our planet. The discussions and insights shared by the experts were truly enlightening and showed us the importance of working together to address this pressing issue. As a community of scientists, it is our responsibility to act on the evidence and strive for a more sustainable future for our planet. This summit serves as a strong reminder of the impact science and collaboration can have in restoring planetary health, and we hope that this conversation will continue to inspire action and progress.