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02/02/2021

Co-Editor Dr. Howard Frumkin Discusses "Planetary Health, Protecting Nature To Protect Ourselves" (February 1st)

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Last year Island Press published Planetary Health, Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves, considered the first textbook for the field of planetary health.  As the title suggests, the work provides an overview of our planet's health under the Anthropocene era.  As the work notes, per work by the Global Footprint Network we have been increasingly living beyond our environmental means, or  beyond the earth's carrying capacity, since 1970.   Of nine planetary boundaries, including climate change and ocean acidification, we have crossed two and two more are considered to be in a zone of uncertainty.  This is due to the fact no country today meets the needs of its population at a globally sustainable level of resource use - and this is due in turn to a global economic system that assumes natural resources are inexhaustible, or that no amount of resource use would reduce the quantity or quality for future generations.  As the coeditors write in afterword concerning COVID-19 the pandemic, the current state of planetary health “reflects a rupture of the human relationship with the natural world," i.e., as Charles Yu as stated, we live under the fiction or shared illusion "that we are separate from nature." 

Dr. Frumkin begins this 35 minute conversation by discussing the antcedents for the book (see chapter 2).  He goes on to explain his and his colleagues' expectations for the work or what it may accomplish, discusses what findings he found surprising, provides an overview of the books' biodiversity discussion, discusses how/why our economic model explains the current state of our planet's health, makes comment about the health care industry's role in addressing planetary health and the relevance of the Gaia hypothesis.  

Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH, is Emeritus Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health. 2010-2016. Frumkin2016 Immediately previously, he led the Our Planet, Our Health program at the Wellcome Trust.  From 2005 to 2010, he served as Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and Agency and for the Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (NCEH/ATSDR) at the CDC and as Special Assistant to the CDC Director for Climate Change and Health.  From 1990 to 2005, he was Professor and Chair of Environmental and Occupational Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Emory Medical School.  Dr. Frumkin has served numerous boards and committees including the NASEM Committee on Measuring Community Resilience, on the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance (Harvard University), on the advisory committees to the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education (Columbia University), the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health (George Mason University), the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (University of Toronto), the National Environmental Education Foundation, the American Public Health Association (as Chair of APHA’s Science Board), the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) (including a term as President), and the Washington Global Health Alliance.  He has published or edited over 200 scientific journal articles, chapters, and books.  Beyond Planetary Health, he is also editor the text, Environmental Health: From Global to Local (3rd edition, 2016).  Other books include Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability (2011), and Urban Sprawl and Public Health: Designing, Planning, and Building for Healthy Communities (2004).   Dr. Frumkin is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Collegium Ramazzini, and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences.   He earned his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his DrPH and his MPH from Harvard. 

For information on Planetary Health go to: https://islandpress.org/books/planetary-health.

Concerning biodiversity or depreciating (literally) the value thereof, see this just published report titled , "The Economics of Biodiversity, The Dasgupta Review" at: https://www.cisl.cam.ac.uk/news/news-items/cisl-responds-to-the-economics-of-biodiversity-the-dasgupta-review

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