What is planetary health?

The environment can thrive without us – but we cannot survive without it. Human activities across our political, economic and social systems in the 21st century are the primary factor impacting nature, human and animal health. The concept of planetary health describes the interconnections between human, animal and ecosystem health and encompasses a broad, transdisciplinary understanding of the influences on, and conditions for, human health today and in the future.

Protecting and promoting health within planetary boundaries relies on Earth’s natural processes and ecosystems, which create favourable living conditions for human wellbeing and health. Coupled with this is a need to ensure the political, social and economic systems that enable equity of opportunity for all.

A transition towards planetary health means that the limits to our ecological boundaries are no longer exceeded, while all people are enabled to live healthy, dignified and secure lives within effective and sustainable political, social and economic systems.

Together with health actors, policymakers and scientists, we are developing action plans for a climate-neutral and accessible health system that is high quality and affordable for current and future generations. In addition, we want to connect with actors from across the policy landscape, because health is not only determined in the health sector, but in all policy fields. To this end, we also look beyond Germany at the European and international levels.

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