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5 must-reads on planetary health
September 20, 2017
How do you get your mind around a new public-health movement the size of the Earth? The new field of planetary health encompasses the health of oceans as well as microbes, of individuals as well as the entire human race. That’s a big chunk to bite off, but it amounts to the basic philosophy that your own health is inseparable from the larger world—and that our policymakers should be thinking about the issue as an immense, long-term feedback loop rather than separate problems in distinct fields. Here’s what you need to know about the latest thinking on how changes to the earth’s ecosystems are affecting human health, from The Agenda.
1. Imagining the unimaginable
The Uninhabitable Earth, New York magazine
The issue: Scientists are sure the Earth is warming, but there’s been a massive failure of the collective imagination to grasp what climate change will mean for human life on the planet, writes David Wallace-Wells — including whether we can survive at all.
The takeaway: After interviewing dozens of climatologists and other researchers, Wallace-Wells concludes that “no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.” Big changes are coming way sooner than you may realize— and without aggressive countermeasures that seem unlikely, vast parts of the Earth will become uninhabitable as soon as the end of this century, irrevocably altering human life and even, potentially, extinguishing it.