Planetary Health
536 pages, 7 x 10
Full color throughout, 100 illustrations
Release Date:13 Aug 2020

Planetary Health

Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves

Island Press
Human health depends on the health of the planet. Earth’s natural systems—the air, the water, the biodiversity, the climate—are our life support systems. Yet climate change, biodiversity loss, scarcity of land and freshwater, pollution and other threats are degrading these systems. The emerging field of planetary health aims to understand how these changes threaten our health and how to protect ourselves and the rest of the biosphere.

Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves provides a readable introduction to this new paradigm. With an interdisciplinary approach, the book addresses a wide range of health impacts felt in the Anthropocene, including food and nutrition, infectious disease, non-communicable disease, dislocation and conflict, and mental health. It also presents strategies to combat environmental changes and its ill-effects, such as controlling toxic exposures, investing in clean energy, improving urban design, and more. Chapters are authored by widely recognized experts.

The result is a comprehensive and optimistic overview of a growing field that is being adopted by researchers and universities around the world. Students of public health will gain a solid grounding in the new challenges their profession must confront, while those in the environmental sciences, agriculture, the design professions, and other fields will become familiar with the human consequences of planetary changes. Understanding how our changing environment affects our health is increasingly critical to a variety of disciplines and professions. Planetary Health is the definitive guide to this vital field.
A practical and useful handbook for planetary health education....The format of the book is engaging, with readable text complemented by an interesting mix of figures, tables, and photographs... The author roster is impressive… [it] provides a comprehensive and illuminating overview of planetary health...[and] is an important book [and] an excellent primer... I like it, and hope it is widely read. It certainly is a timely text for burgeoning university courses in planetary health. Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves should be on the reading list of all health professionals because they have an important part to play as we strive for planetary health. The Lancet
A comprehensive review...Planetary Health is highly interdisciplinary, predicated as it is on the basis that human health and the health of the planet are inextricably linked. I would recommend biodiversity and conservation scientists to read this book because it shows how our understanding of the complexities and interaction of the natural world have direct relevance to managing many existing and emerging human diseases….The editors have done an excellent job in drawing together some deep and critical thinkers about planetary health, and so this will be a useful introductory textbook in undergraduate classes in ecology or environmental sciences as well as the health sciences. I would also like to see Planetary Health used as a primer for those from industry or policy involved in the challenges of how we protect our planet to ensure that it meets the health aspirations of future generations. Biodiversity and Conservation
Planners and students can benefit from the authors’ and editors’ authoritative and wide-ranging overview (as well as their sincere optimism). Planning Magazine
Named one of the '25 Best Books of All Time for Health Promotion Professionals.' American Journal of Health Promotion
A thought-provoking and rich 500-page overview of the emerging field of planetary health... Frumkin and Myers and their contributors build their case so methodically, with loads of persuasive data, that by the end of the book, it seems difficult to imagine a better framework for understanding Earth’s contemporary human-environmental dynamics. This book is a must-read for anyone passionate about creating better outcomes for more people, far into the future. The Dirt
In contrast with most previous books on environment and health which predominately focus on problems, a refreshing aspect of Planetary Health is the considerable portion of the book that is dedicated toward solutions....Epidemiologists and other health scientists will appreciate Planetary Health’s comprehensive review of the environment-health literature and its incorporation of frameworks from biological, environmental and health sciences to improve causal inference between complex natural systems and human health. But perhaps the book’s most timely contribution is its roadmap for action to manage and protect our natural environments and improve health. International Journal of Epidemiology
The book’s value [is] in providing information critical to understanding current problems and pathways to a healthier future. Knowledge gained by its readers should result in at least some movement toward appreciating the need to make changes and influence individual actions. It may lead to additional exploration of methods to change societal perspectives about the need to quickly effectuate actions critical to protecting the health of the planet and the people who all depend on it. Certainly, that outcome would mark an important contribution.’
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
A must read for anyone interested in a roadmap to saving both ourselves and the planet. Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association
If I could place a copy of this book in every home, every school, and on the desk of every public official, I would. Hope, wonder, awe, and respect are written into every page. So is a call to care. Terry Tempest Williams, author of "The Hour of Land" and Writer in Residence, Harvard Divinity School
With digestible science and a wealth of historic and political context, this book… leaves us with a sense of hope given the solutions in hand and the proven resilience of the human spirit. Gina McCarthy, President and CEO, Natural Resources Defense Council and former US EPA Administrator under Barack Obama
The Covid microbe reminds us that biology can't be spun or compromised with; climate change teaches us the same lesson about physics and chemistry. This volume underlines those insights, and helps us see how we can reimagine our relationship with the planet. Bill McKibben, author of "Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?"
Samuel Myers, MD, MPH is a Principal Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and founding Director of the Planetary Health Alliance. Dr. Myers served as a Commissioner on the Lancet-Rockefeller Foundation Commission on Planetary Health. He was the inaugural recipient of the Arrell Global Food Innovation Award in 2018 for research quantifying the impacts of environmental change on human nutrition. He has also been awarded the Prince Albert II of Monaco—Institut Pasteur Award for research at the interface of global environmental change and human health.

Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH is emeritus professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health, where he was Dean from 2010-2016. He was previously head of Our Planet, Our Health at the Wellcome Trust and director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  His other books include Environmental Health: From Global to Local (3rd edition, 2016) and Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability (2011).
List of Tables and Boxes
Preface: A Note of Covid-19
Part I. Foundations
1. An Introduction to Planetary Health \ Samuel Myers, Howard Frumkin
2. Assembling Planetary Health: Histories of the Future \ Warwick Anderson, James Dunk
3. Population, Consumption, Equity and Rights \ Robert Engelman, John Bongaarts, Kristen P. Patterson
4.  A Changing Planet \ Chris Field, David Tilman, Ruth DeFries, David Montgomery, Peter Gleick, Howard Frumkin, Philip Landrigan
Part II. The Health of Populations
5. Food and Nutrition on a Rapidly Changing Planet \ Samuel Myers
6. Planetary Health and Infectious Disease \ Richard S. Ostfeld, Felicia Keesing
7. Global Environmental Change and Non-Communicable Disease Risks \ Howard Frumkin, Andy Haines
8. Environmental Change, Migration, Conflict and Health \ Lauren Herzer Risi, Caroline Kihato, Rebecca Lorenzen, Howard Frumkin
9. Mental Health on a Changing Planet \ Susan Clayton
10. Climate Change and Human Health \ Howard Frumkin
11. Happiness on a Healthier Planet \ John F. Helliwell, Jon Hall
Part III:  Pivoting From Threat to Opportunity
12. Energy and Planetary Health \ Ajay Pillarisetti, Kirk R. Smith
13. Urban Places and Planetary Health \ Ana V. Diez Roux, Adriana C. Lein, Iryna Dronova, Daniel A. Rodríguez, Rosie Mae Henson, Olga Sarmiento
14. Controlling Toxic Exposures \ Philip J. Landrigan, Terrence J. Collins, John Peterson Myers
15. A New Economics for Planetary Health \ Will Evison, Sam Bickersteth
16. The Business of Planetary Health: From Economic Theory to Policy and Practice \ Will Evison, Sam Bickersteth
Part IV. Saving Ourselves, Saving Our Planet
17. Planetary Health Ethics \ Alexander Foster, Jennifer Cole, Ivica Petrikova, Andrew Farlow, Howard Frumkin
18. A Bright Future for Planetary Health \ Samuel Myers, Howard Frumkin

Afterword: Coronavirus and Planetary Health 

About the Editors
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