Planetary Health 

Planetary health is a field focused on characterizing the human health impacts of human-caused disruptions of Earth's natural systems.

There is no doubt that our global environment is changing – from the hottest years on record, to the worldwide disappearance of pollinators, to the global collapse of fisheries, and to our use of about half of the planet's livable surface to feed ourselves.

We are now in a new geological era, the Anthropocene, characterized by humanity’s dramatic impact on Earth’s natural systems. And though the average global citizen’s health has improved over the past century, the health of our planet has sharply declined—putting historically recent, and fragile, public health gains at risk.

We are faced not only with climate change, but also with declining biodiversity, shortages of arable land and freshwater, pollution, and changing biogeochemical flows.

We are dramatically affecting our global food production system, the quality of the air we breathe and of the water we drink, our exposure to infectious diseases, and even the habitability of the places where we live. Changes to natural life support systems are already impacting our health and are projected to drive the majority of the global burden of disease over the coming century, hitting today’s most vulnerable and future generations the hardest.

Everything is connected — what we do to the world comes back to affect us, and not always in ways that we would expect. Understanding and acting upon these challenges calls for massive collaboration across disciplinary and national boundaries to safeguard our health.


Introductory planetary health videos
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Explore how our environment is changing

Explore how this is impacting our health

Research articles

Browse relevant planetary health research articles through our bibliography, featuring over 1200 articles spanning a variety of planetary health thematic areas. This bibliography is updated monthly with the latest research articles. If you are aware of a reference related to planetary health that you have noticed is missing, please bring it to our attention by contacting us at pha@harvard.edu.


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Planetary Health Alliance

The Planetary Health Alliance is a consortium of over 120 dedicated universities, NGOs, government entities, research institutes, and other partners around the world committed to advancing planetary health.
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