Planetary Health Education

 

WELCOME

Welcome to the test site for the Planetary Health Education Collection. Please navigate the site using the two panels on the left of the page to search for educational content by thematic area or by content modality.

Please note that the utility of this thematic knowledge architecture is primarily structural; the field of planetary health explores the linkages and relationships between thematic areas. 

This is a fundamentally collaborative effort to create a global good for planetary health education. We would appreciate any feedback that you may have for this test site regarding functionality, content, ideas or suggestions! Please provide your feedback here.

 

ABOUT

A primary goal of the PHA is to foster global planetary health education efforts to equip the next generation of planetary health scholars to address critical questions in this emerging field. We are working to curate a collection of planetary health teaching materials to serve as a rich open-access and globally-accessible resource, designed to infuse existing disciplines with planetary health concepts and educate the next generation of planetary health scholars. The process of collecting and collating existing teaching materials on planetary health topics serves as a key component in building a planetary health community worldwide, supporting the development of a community of practice. Input from international networks will produce materials that are contextually relevant around the world.

 

1. Planetary Health Lens: Equipping students with a ‘planetary health lens’ through which they may look at and understand the connectedness between environmental change and human health outcomes is critical. An ability to examine ecological determinants of human health and to predict the likely health consequences of certain types of environmental change supports this effort. We want students to understand that how humanity manages Earth’s natural systems will be a primary determinant of future global health.

2. Urgency and Scale: The field of planetary health is driven by the sheer scale of environmental activities and their impact on human health, and the urgency which this presents to humankind. Examining the ways in which geographical scale, temporal scale, socio-cultural and economic context, and the selection of human health outcomes determine whether the presence of natural systems improves or degrades human health is an essential skill.

3. Inequality: Issues of scale (both geographic and temporal) and socio-cultural and economic context will lead some types of people to benefit from environmental change while others are burdened by it. Understanding who wins and who loses under what scenarios is a core objective of planetary health teaching. One must always ask: whose health is at stake?

4. Bias: Environmental change is not an apolitical process and it is important to think critically about whether this political dynamic may be driving the presentation of the topic. We expect students to understand potential biases in planetary health research and the landscape of vested interests both in support of and against strong connections between environmental change and human health. We want students to understand how the selection of case studies may in some ways predict the outcome that we find. For example, there will be cases that demonstrate how the destruction of natural systems benefit human health, and other cases that demonstrate how the conservation or rehabilitation of natural systems benefits human health.

5. Policy: Planetary Health is intrinsically policy-oriented. By quantifying the human health impacts of how we manage natural systems, we can identify policies and management strategies that optimize human health while maintaining sustainable natural systems. A familiarity with the policy implications of planetary health research and an ability to provide examples of ways that planetary health science informs changes in natural resource management is key to the application of this knowledge.

6. Unintended Consequences: It is important to recognize that surprising and unexpected consequences that cascade out from environmental change are inevitable. We want students to understand that despite any impact predictions, we will continue to be surprised by how the changing biophysical conditions on Earth will affect human health.

 

 

To facilitate the development of a community of practice, the Planetary Health Alliance is collecting information on ‘who is working on what, where?‘ and populating a geographic map so that educators around the world may connect with others working on similar projects. If you or your institution are involved in planetary health education, please let us know by contacting: pha@harvard.edu.

Licensing & Fair Use Agreement

All of the content in the collection is licensed for sharing and modification under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0). If you are involved in education on planetary health topics and would like to share teaching materials, please enrich our community! By sharing materials you agree to the terms and conditions outlined in our legal framework. You can share materials here