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Planetary Health, EcoHealth and One Health
In 2015, the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission published a report: Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch.1 This report outlines the extent to which human activities have degraded the earth’s ecosystems such that basic life support services have become threatened. Among the threats are greenhouse gases and resulting climate change, severe weather patterns, deforestation, desertification, ocean acidification, zoonotic disease outbreaks, biodiversity loss and particulate air pollution. The report concludes that these planetary phenomena pose a serious and urgent threat to human health, well-being and sustainability, and calls for immediate attention to critical multidisciplinary research, and evidence-based policy formulation and timely implementation.
The Lancet Commission report has spawned a number of Planetary Health efforts, focused on policy, education and research, with initial support provided by the Rockefeller Foundation and more recently the Wellcome Trust.2 Activities include formation of a Planetary Health Alliance of over 95 universities, non-governmental organisations, government entities, research institutes and other partners, a website portal,3 an annual Planetary Health conference, and a new journal dedicated to the topic.4
Interest in the Planetary Health approach has led to a re-examination of similar existing approaches such as One Health5 and EcoHealth.6 One Health, an interdisciplinary approach stressing connections between human, animal and environmental health, gained momentum as a response to the steadily increasing drumbeat of emerging zoonotic disease outbreaks in recent decades, including the West Nile virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome, Nipah and Hendra viruses, Ebola, avian influenza, H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza,5 and most recently Ebola in West Africa, zika and yellow fever.7 The threat to global health from antimicrobial resistance, now understood to stem from overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals, with environmental accumulation of antibiotic residues and resistant organisms and genes, has led to further support for One …