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Table of contents
- Healthy People & Thriving Communities
- 25 Organizations Dedicated to Improving Health
- The Douglass Plan
- It's up to you!
- Cooperate! A paradigm shift for health equity
That is the role of planetary health studies. The advancement of such holistic framework is much more dependent on social forces, power and politics, than the lack of scientific evidence of such interlinks. That is why we point out to the growing field of planetary health research, led by the Planetary Health Alliance, 1 with the goal of presetting this evolving area to International Relations practitioners, who are well placed to tackle interdisciplinary problems. Chan School of Public Health. Together they support the growth of planetary health studies across the United States and globally.
To date, the absence of professionals from social sciences in general and international relations in particular actively engaged in this community of practice is evident. Yet, these professionals are essential to this endeavor, as they contribute to essential themes, such as global governance, human rights, political economy, security and diplomacy, to cite a few.
Hence, this paper builds on the notion of planetary health to propose a new angle of research in IR, and also a new narrative for the SDGs. The SDG 3, in particular, aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages. The most effective way to actually achieve this goal is to pay attention to the relationships across all SDGs, notably those with direct environmental connection. The SDGs highlight the overarching need for global to local efforts to eradicate poverty and build social-ecological resilience, through context-relevant national and regional policies, as well as community-based initiatives that acknowledge the inter-linkages between environmental and public health.
Nevertheless, a significant gap still exists between the angles from which health practitioners perceive their role disconnected from their environment and the way environmental policies are prescribed i. Divergent interests and perceived needs, as well as institutional dysfunctions, limit integrated decision-making on health and environmental matters.
To further understand this gap, an essential paradox needs to be addressed. How can one ensure that, for example, modern biomedical science and practice, the same that provided us with health advancements in past decades, take into account the contribution of ecosystems to health and not contribute to their disruption, which in turn degrades our health? With these questions in mind, this paper analyzes the emerging interdisciplinary field named planetary health, to demonstrate the interdependencies of the environment, and biodiversity in particular, with human health, while proposing new avenues of work for internationalists.
Overall, it shows that the Agenda represents an opportunity for the adoption of a more cohesive approach to development, suggesting that such diplomatic agenda can be reinvigorated by further strengthening the synergies between environmental and health public policies, notably at the local level.
This paper is original for two reasons. First, it addresses a fresh agenda in International Relations through the eyes of both an academic in International Relations and a sustainable development practitioner. Second, it reveals the opportunities for research in the growing and emerging planetary health field. The Anthropocene, the most recent geological era, which is human-influenced, is still being debated among geologists in terms of definitions and precise dates.
However, it is a turning point, as it provides several strong evidences of human impact on Earth, making the case for a paradigmatic change. The ways that our planetary boundaries are being breached are mainly connected to rapid human population growth, technological development, land use change, energy consumption, and the impacts of a fossil fuel economy since the Industrial Revolution Lovelock Profound environmental change related to this new era is not a topic for the future but a present reality.
Examples of such evolving reality are related to malnutrition, food insecurity, emerging infectious diseases, and stress-related mental illness Whitmee et al. A key paradox facing humanity today is that the Western biomedical model is still perceived as the most advanced when it comes to medical care, and yet it requires a level of consumption that cannot be maintained in a future of ecological constraints Zywert and Quilley Health has no universal definition, but represents a social construct being shaped by political economies, social institutions, and ecosystems.
Zywert captures well the historical background that contextualizes the history of health perceptions when the author recalls that the Cartesian separation of body and mind had a tremendous impact in the modern understanding of the human body. Mechanical and individual actors gained prominence during the dominant physics metaphor, where clinical medicine gained space, paving the way for pharmaceutical and surgical interventions aiming at illnesses of individual bodies.
That is how health started being conceptualized as the absence of pathology, and also disconnected from cultural or environmental contexts, opening more space for the biological approach to medical interventions. With social modernization, medicine was impacted by technology and pharmaceutical advances, promoting a rationally designed society, and understanding medical intervention as a moral imperative, which would contribute to the elimination of archaic social structures. Since the Industrial Revolution in Europe, markets became the driving forces of societies, and community reciprocity was left behind Polanyi To balance the negative effects of rapid expansion of the market economy, welfare policies, including education and healthcare, were created to redistribute wealth.
However, current healthcare is challenging for being complex, tech-dependent, and energy-intensive Bednarz and Beavis Forces of capitalism are at the core of health transformations, with market forces determining medical research priorities, trends in professional specialization, and the ongoing medicalization of social problems Missoni Briefly put, biomedical health is predominantly based on modern ontologies, which individualizes illness and focuses on postponing death Gawande It must be pointed out that with unstable climatic conditions and social-ecological crises, some of our key assumptions about human health will have to change.
Moreover, the high dependence of fossil fuels and the economic growth of our current social institutions is the ultimate challenge for a prosperous and healthy future. The key idea is that, despite the connection between growth and well-being for the last years, the breach of our planetary boundaries suggests the incompatibility of this relationship Horton et al.
This paper suggests that the way we conceive health must change. The notion of planetary health is a current and evolving ontology, which makes us rethink the conditions in which human beings will thrive on Earth. Disruptions related to climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental change are not only ecological changes but are enabling recession, rising energy costs, promoting migration and new diseases, and threatening our food security Homer-Dixon There are reasons to question the effectiveness of exclusive biomedical approaches that neglect social determinants of both human health and environmental degradation McCoy Resilience is paramount to ensure that complex social-ecological systems can thrive and ensure the health of a fast-growing population.
Nevertheless, the increasing commodification of care and massive cuts in welfare policies, coupled with societal changes that reduce caregiving among communities and extended families, add new challenges for resilience-building. In the Anthropocene, human health will benefit from institutions that value health ontologies and reconnect bio-psycho-spiritual aspects of personal health to the social ecological context Zywert And yet, the main barrier for such change remains human behavior, mostly neglected in managerial approaches to health and sustainability.
Holling et al. Non-rational drivers of behavior and cultural contexts are often neglected in some of them. In order to ensure a holistic perspective of contemporary health problems, systems thinking the approach that favors an integrative perspective of a problem are needed Wilcox and Echaubard Planetary health does not claim to be a complete new movement, but an evolving paradigm.
Introduced by Richard Horton and colleagues in , and expanded in a Lancet Commission report in , this emerging field stresses the deep interconnectedness between our nature and human health Horton et al. The extent to which planetary health differentiates itself from past, similar fields remains open for further research, but one can already highlight the start of a more critical perspective on consumption and current development models. Intergenerational solidarity, for example, deserves to be addressed. By decimating our natural capital, most of them irreplaceable, present generations are ignoring the needs of future generations, who will most likely face more acute health problems related to resource scarcity, if no alternative models of growth are proposed.
In this sense, the argument that poverty is being reduced deserves further qualification. Most importantly, he underscores that economic growth is only one piece of the development puzzle. Moreover, climate change and the most pessimistic projections indicate that the planet could heat up by 3.
Such examples serve to reinforce the views that pure economic growth is actually a ticking bomb. Echoing this paper, this author emphasizes the problem of under-represented disciplines i. In this perspective, what is missing is a greater effort to avoid a siloed understanding of structural, social and ecological health determinants. Therefore, this paper calls for greater engagement of social and political sciences in the field of global health and, consequently, planetary health. Above all, sustainability is a matter of ethics within and between generations.
When public health policies are designed, one must ask: who benefits? Where are the gaps? Addressing the health and environment nexus through examples in Southeast Asia. Science is unequivocally providing evidence for several mutually reinforcing pathways through which environmental degradation, or the lack of consideration of environmental factors in decision-making, can lead to public health challenges WHO et al.
These non-mutually exclusive relationships are, for instance:. Waterborne diseases, notably diarrheal, cause 1. More than half of that burden, or deaths per year, are attributable to unsafe water supply and lack of sanitation and hygiene. Leptospirosis is a re-emerging disease caused by pathogenic bacterial spirochetes of the genus Leptospira. Various mammal species, including rodents, are important carriers, although leptospirosis can survive in aquatic and humid environments.
According to the World Health Organization WHO , the global burden of leptospirosis is estimated at , severe cases occurring worldwide each year, with a growing number of countries reporting leptospirosis outbreaks. Animals and the environment are important factors that determine the transmission ecology of leptospirosis, such as anthropogenic land use, diversity of animal host species, and human behavior.
Climate variability, extreme events, and flooding are also major causes of outbreaks. Flooding affecting urban and agricultural areas brought inhabitants into contact with contaminated water; domestic animals and rodents were identified as the main potential reservoirs. Ecosystems characterized by lower biodiversity particularly with fewer wild mammal species , such as intensively cultivated rural areas, but also urban slums, have higher human leptospirosis incidence, which can be explained by the lack of regulation of leptospire-bearing rodent populations Della Rossa et al.
Degradation of natural resources, biodiversity loss and climate change all may impact leptospirosis transmission, ultimately affecting the poorest populations in tropical developing countries Derne et al. Deforestation and land-use change: drivers of biodiversity loss and new diseases. Besides increasing the likelihood of disasters related to mud slides and floods, deforestation increases the contact between wildlife, domestic animals and humans with greater risk of transmission of infectious diseases mostly zoonotic Patz et al.
Healthy People & Thriving Communities
This problem usually puts into evidence the weak epidemic mitigation capacity of most countries, and the lack of understanding of the distal social-ecological drivers underlying disease emergence. The Ebola outbreak is one example of that Gostin and Friedman Landscape changes, mosquito and rodent-borne diseases in Thailand are another example of this challenge.
A recent study in this country demonstrated how mosquito vector abundance increases as biodiversity degrades. Known disease vectors were found to be least rare in natural forest, becoming increasingly common in fragmented forest, followed by traditional small scale rice farming, to industrial scale farming, where considerably higher numbers of vector species were found Thongsripong et al.
Southeast Asia is a region where biodiversity is at high risk due to human activities and unplanned land-use change, which are contributing to the emergence, and re-emergence of infectious diseases at alarming rates WHO Biodiversity reduction through altered landscapes in relation to urbanization and agricultural intensification appears linked to major epidemiological changes in human diseases Wilcox et al.
This includes higher risks and the emergence of novel pathogens resulting from increased contact between wildlife, domesticated animals and humans, as well as re-emergence of known diseases, including malaria, dengue and others. Agriculture intensification, increasing in Asia and the Pacific region, involves focusing on a limited number of crop varieties monocroping in order to maximize outputs per land surface area for profit maximization i.
Agriculture intensification is usually implemented over large land areas and tightly dependent upon market demand and demographic pressure. It is also generally associated with a reduction of crop and livestock species and genetic diversity.
Yet, as a recent study of the Greater Mekong Sub-region found, there has been little effort to access the health risks associated with these and the following changes associated with agricultural intensification Richter et al. Through simplifying agro-systems, agriculture intensification inherently trades short-term productivity against many ecological regulatory services e. Combined with highly fluctuating crop prices, often driven by commodity trading, these ecological imbalances make rural communities highly vulnerable Mundt Reducing crop and livestock species and genetic variability in intensive agriculture contexts, leads to a simplification or disruption of the local ecological functions.
A consequent loss of productivity is usually artificially mitigated through the systematic and intensive use of agrochemicals pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers in crop production, antibiotic and hormones in livestock operations. Environmental contamination with fertilizer can also disrupt ecological regulatory mechanisms occurring in natural communities other than soil microbiota, which can, in some cases, lead to the proliferation of intermediate hosts e.
Alarmingly, increasing use of antibiotics in livestock operations leads to an increasing amount of anti-microbial compounds to be released in our waste systems and soils. AMR can be considered one of the most pressing global issues, and deserves further attention from International Relations scholars. Recently, this trend has been occurring mainly in developing countries as a response to economic development and increased demand for animal protein. The now famous outbreak in Southeast Asia ultimately spread to more than 60 countries, resulted in more than human deaths, and millions of poultry being destroyed by culling, or killed by the virus, as well as untold numbers of wildlife.
The problem is that the virus continues to circulate endemically throughout Southeast Asia due to the same intensified poultry production practices that originally contributed to its emergence in the first place. Microbes have no borders. Another way microbial evolution has been outwitting us is the generation of antimicrobial resistance.
Although the use of antimicrobials in animal production has brought undisputed benefits i. Similarly, high levels of antimicrobial use were also reported in aquaculture production in Thailand and Vietnam Walther et al. The impacts of AMR on animal and human health go well beyond the risks of infection with specific resistant zoonotic bacteria.
Recently, scientists have begun to elucidate the interactions between antimicrobial use, AMR, the environment, and the resulting impacts on health. These relationships are likely to be dynamic and highly dependent on the specific circumstances level of antimicrobial use, reservoirs, farming practices, environmental legislation, etc. This could add another 2. Because of high density, economic importance and infrastructure, urban areas are highly vulnerable to climate change and the consequences of natural disasters. Asian cities have registered record rates of growth when compared to the rest of the world.
Urban planning, however, has been weak and, by , there will be 12 megacities with over 10 million people in Asia.
25 Organizations Dedicated to Improving Health
Noise and air pollution, climate change effects, loss of biodiversity and inequality will all affect the health of citizens living in these areas. Moreover, three out of five top CO2-emitting economies and 11 of the 20 most polluted urban areas in the world are in Asia Asian Development Bank [n. This situation is particularly concerning in poor cities, where the lack of infrastructure affects waste disposal and the offer of basic services, including sanitation and water connections.
Such areas face acute threats related to flooding and spread of diseases. There is thus great urgency to prioritize cities as hotspots for ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures aiming to build more resilient urban centers. The advantages that regular exposure to nature offers may be greater than the potential risk of zoonotic disease transmission or physical injury while in natural habitats. For instance, spending time in nature has been shown to enhance treatment for mental diseases such as depression, and may be an important trigger for a strengthened relationship between people and nature, which is a necessary element for the consolidation of a global health ethic, and important for the achievement of most SDGs National Park Service [n.
Currently, synergies between health and environmental sectors are insufficient at the local, regional and global levels Benatar Internationally, this agenda is nevertheless gaining force, following the growing concern with rapidly spreading environment-related vector-borne diseases, such as Zika, and devastating epidemics, such as the West-Africa Ebola outbreak in , during which socio-cultural and environmental factors have impacted control efforts. Global health governance structures face dysfunctions that put at risk the implementation of health goals as stated in the SDGs Fidler These structures are ill suited to deal with multisectoral issues, and sugar, tobacco and alcohol overconsumption illustrates key challenges.
Non-communicable diseases i. Yet, despite being addressed in the SDGs, governance inconsistencies challenge the implementation of such goals. The main challenges include: democratic deficits, weak accountability mechanisms and poor transparency, institutional inertia, missing institutions and inadequate policy space for health Ottersen et al.
Together, these factors hinder an effective management of externalities at the international level. While it is a positive outcome, this complexity brings considerable challenges in terms of data collection, even for the richest countries Van de Pas et al. A large percentage of new emerging infectious diseases derive from zoonoses. Antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens is another major threat, mostly deriving from the large-scale use of antibiotics in animal husbandry and agriculture.
The WHO promotes this understanding and fosters collaboration among different sectors at national, regional and international levels. For example, in , the World Health Assembly endorsed a global action plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Despite current efforts, international cooperation in health remains testing. Even with greater financial flows for international organizations and vertical initiatives during the period, cooperation in the health area have become: disease or issue-specific; controlled by a small group of stakeholders; and funded in a discretionary way instead of promoting long-term commitments Sridhar and Woods The result is a narrow conception of health, lack of domestic participation for delivery of assistance, and doubtful legitimacy, given that effectiveness, not process, is the criterion for success evaluations.
For Sridhar and Woods, donors — attracted by the model of vertical funds for its measurable outcomes and no long-term commitments — should identify how these funds could address other elements of global health cooperation, particularly those including regulation, monitoring and crisis management Sridhar and Woods Following this argument, recipient countries must identify and express more boldly their own health priorities in a context-specific manner.
This discussion illustrates the limits of top-down approaches that, often, ignore the priorities and knowledge of local communities Holling et al. The future of global health is being determined by new trends very much dependent on political factors, mainly global power shifts and new crises; humanitarian and related to security Kickbush This exemplifies the need for International Relations scholars to further engage with the planetary health research community. To thrive, global health will have to respond and adapt to new realities, while incorporating the new set of guidelines deriving from the year package: the SDGs United Nations a , the Paris Agreement on Climate Change United Nations b , the Addis Ababa Action Agenda a global framework for financing development in the post United Nations c and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction United Nations d.
The so-called post agenda is set to overcome a model of development excessively driven by exploitation of natural resources with little concern with sustainability and equity. However, to ensure that this agenda succeeds, there is need for a new conception of health, which cannot be dissociated from planetary boundaries Lang and Rayner The reality is that globalization, urbanization, climate change, biodiversity degradation and excessive use of chemicals are all fueling a crisis that threats our existence Whitmee et al.
In an interconnected world, shocks in one country reverberate across the world Myers In summary, this paper draws attention to the social-ecological determinants of health, which goes well beyond the individual, and calls for integrative policies and the inclusion of a broad range of disciplines, especially those related to social sciences.
The post Agenda reflects changes in the way norms and negotiations evolve at the multilateral level. Several dimensions redefine multilateralism in this era and the context in which health negotiations will take place Kickbush First, it will reflect the preferences of a diversified number of actors that need to work together towards common goals.
Third, more attention will have to be given to holistic development approaches in which environmental concerns and well-being are valued. Fourth, development aid is losing ground to the benefit of alternative finance investments with more space for private influence.
The Douglass Plan
Finally, domestic development must observe the agreed global framework and reflect the SDGs. It must be stressed that most of the threats in the 21 st century are related to the unintended consequences of progress.
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The AMR threat due to overuse of antibiotics is an emblematic example of the paradox initially presented in this paper, as it relates to a significant progress in medicine. Non-communicable diseases are also deeply connected to unsustainable production and consumption. Therefore, health will no longer be a direct correlation of wealth Lang and Rayner Rising social inequity is worrisome.
The number of vulnerable people seems to go way beyond our capacity to deal with them. Refugees, trafficked populations, victims of war, global migrants and populations in fragile states are putting pressure on a deteriorating system. In the Anthropocene, not surprisingly, the effects of drastic environmental changes will affect the most vulnerable; therefore, politics calls for real democracy, meaning a focus on inequalities and the merge of humanitarian, ecological and conservation issues, combined with justice Purdy Bearing in mind that in the contemporary global governance scenario, power asymmetries between actors with conflicting interests shape political determinants of health, durable solutions will only come if side effects that create health inequities are addressed Ottersen et al.
Decision, policies and actions arising from present global interactions derive from global social norms. While power disparities affecting, for instance, areas of intellectual property, foreign investment treaties, food security, multinationals regulations and conflict are sensitive, they will remain the core in which improvement can be achieved in terms of governance. In this perspective, it is still unclear what kind of governance mechanisms and institutions will be more effective. The imperatives of a circular economy cannot thus be ignored.
For instance, microplastics are omnipresent. Waste is one of our greatest contemporary challenges. Globally, the world generates about 1. The main reason for these mountains of trash in our planet relates to the linear economy, which extracts, produces and disposes, instead of applying the 3R policies: reduce, reuse and recycle. Currently, we use 20 times more plastic than we did 50 years back Stanislau While consumer behavior and awareness are key for promoting change, other more systemic barriers remain.
With an emphasis on redesigning processes and cycling materials, circular economy promises more sustainable business models, but still fails to fully integrate social dimensions and ethical aspects inherent to the notion of sustainable development Murray et al. Borrowing the concept of planetary boundaries, the doughnut metaphor is a simple way to suggest that our economies must also consider the needs of our planet for our well-being and prosperity.
Climate change, ocean acidification, land conversion, and air pollution are all transforming our planet to the point that we cannot be sure to sustain us in the future. The key for solving the environmental and health conundrum is finding the right balance between our virtues and vices Bircher and Kuruvilla This cross-sectoral and cross-institutional workflow would contribute to better evidence building, more consultative processes for policy formulation, improved policy implementation, as well as better monitoring practices.
Ultimately, this is the result of policies that are not supportive of rural livelihoods, or that reflect the interest of more powerful economic players i. This dialogue could be moderated across multiple levels of local, national and global policy by the biodiversity and health community of practice referenced above. Given the complexity of the risk scenarios, a wide variety of tools have to be combined to reduce, mitigate, and help the farmer and his community cope with risks to which they are exposed, through the market or under government intervention.
Such interventions range from adapting specific technologies or farming practices, developing contact farming and warehousing to national disease prevention campaigns, social protection schemes or access to microfinance. For example, intercropping and crop diversification can be one particular ARM option with win-win outcomes, as the farmer can improve soil fertility and preserve the integrity of the environment, while increasing yields and income throughout the year.
Diversification strategies, in particular in relation to genetic resources, local knowledge and resilience, can greatly contribute to strengthening risk mitigation capacity in the context of climate change. In this context, the need for transparency and equity concerns is evident. Independent monitoring in the land-use sector is a field where there is room for enhanced synergies with other agendas, notably the one on climate change.
Moreover, the role of governments is key to enabling a policy environment that incorporates such instruments and supports adaptive risk management at the local level through functioning agricultural market, extension services, information systems, legal framework, social protection, sustainable chemical-less and biodiversity-friendly agriculture subsidies.
Internationalists could play a major role during consultative processes for policy implementation. Ethics involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of appropriate conduct to provide the values and principles that should guide normative actions. Reflecting on these aspects, particularly in the context of the SDGs and the post Millennium Ecosystem Assessment MEA , one can identify several actions that could facilitate the emergence of a global health movement that raises moral concerns and fairness.
Together, they would contribute to a more ethical procedure for ecosystem service evaluation, and a more integrated account of the relationships between people and their land including acknowledging indigenous beliefs and knowledge systems , reflecting the SDGs value of leaving no one behind. South East Asia simultaneously witnesses massive deforestation, loss of biodiversity and dramatic increase in the use of agricultural chemicals. Farming communities that struggle to transition from traditional livelihoods have little or no knowledge of these impacts, about which neither the government nor commercial sectors including agrochemical companies have any incentives to inform them.
A general lack of environmental awareness is at the root of this problem, together with power disparities between farmers and chemical industries. Increasing information is necessary but not sufficient to drive change. Some studies alert for opposite effects of excessive environmental information, which leads to despair Kaplan Demonstrating the interconnectedness between our natural world and our health is thus a fruitful avenue for communication strategies, as people could start realizing the benefits for their own lives Schultz Effective public policies require good data and effective outreach.
This gap is also reinforced through the stark divergence between a science domain, characterized by increasing complexity of communicated analytical outputs, and a policy domain, which generally remains propelled towards single metric outcomes Smajgl and Ward This divergence calls for the improved management of the science—policy boundary through innovative devices, techniques and institutions capable of fostering the effective transmission of science and technology between and among the communities of scientists, policy makers and other affected interests.
It is increasingly accepted that these techniques should rely on a participatory process that uses methodological innovations created for scientific integration Smajgl and Ward Participation may be defined as the act of consulting and involving relevant stakeholders in the agenda-setting, decision-making, and policy-forming activities of organizations or institutions responsible for policy development Rowe and Frewer This framework has the potential to be sufficiently generic and comprehensive to allow operational science for policy dialogue in issues such as health, biodiversity and the environment.
The framework provides several guiding principles that can help design cross-sectoral participatory initiatives for operational science to policy dialogue. These are, for instance: 1 multilevel engagement is more likely to lead to outcomes; 2 specific methods are easily replaceable and the degree of system complexity will erode or compromise the effectiveness of specific methods; and 3 a minimum engagement period of two years, with regular events and local coordination, is more likely to lead to the achievement of project objectives. This framework, based on complexity-focused system sciences, suggest that tools and methodologies are increasingly available to help foster a science to policy dialogue for transdisciplinarity operationalization and sustainability.
The Anthropocene represents a new era in which human health is paradoxically at risk. New emerging and virulent diseases, mental health disorders, non-communicable diseases and disruption of our ecosystems are also disrupting the basis for a healthy life, such as clean air, water and nutritious food.
Much of modern medicine relies on an unsustainable economic pathway which puts our future in jeopardy. The Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs are a broad framework guiding development in the next decade. Despite their large scope, they remind us of the urgent need to foster holistic policies at the local, regional and global levels.
This paper reflected on the development pathways of Southeast Asia, identifying opportunities for IR scholars to improve health-environmental synergies to implement the SDGs. In summary, this discussion served four purposes. First, it innovatively presented the notion of planetary health to a social science community. Second, it warns about the gaps in current public health policies that fail to take into account key perspectives related to ecosystems and ecology, and requested enhanced cooperation between governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, private sector and civil society on this specific agenda.
Third, it called for a transdisciplinary perspective when addressing human health and provided hints on opportunities for IR scholars, combining solid scholarship with fieldwork that seeks to, theoretically and practically, integrate, for example, the issues of biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and public health through the use of innovative methods. Finally, it suggested several concrete areas in which IR experts could get involved in order to engage with the emerging field of planetary health studies. The failure to address the environmental-health nexus, also from the angle of internationalists, presents risks of limiting the effectiveness of sustainable development guidelines.
Scholars, specially from the global South, would benefit from further research in this area, as they can contribute to the understanding and solutions related to global institutions, power disparities, and normative pluralisms. The planetary health lens is thus a growing opportunity to exercise the skills of scholars already engaged in multidisciplinary studies and therefore well equipped to advance this growing agenda, such as those in international relations.
Above all, planetary health is a humble but powerful metaphor that is paving the way for a nascent movement that can improve our relationship with the planet. Environmental awareness is hence a vigorous tool to improve human health. A simple way to be part of this global movement is to become a knowledge broker and advocate for a healthier planet.
Essentially, planetary health is about securing peace, an essential goal of all internationalists. Asian Development Bank. Accessed April 14, Green Cities. Accessed May 8, Bednarz, D. Benatar, S. Bircher, J. And given historic wealth disparities, they are disproportionately likely to face challenges in affording college, leaving them at greater risk of dropping out of college with debt and no degree. Freedom is seeing your history and culture accurately taught, reflected, and celebrated. Black history, in general, and slavery, in particular, is poorly taught throughout the United States.
For example, slavery was cited as a central reason for the Civil War by only eight percent of high school seniors. This history of Black people in the United States did not start with slavery, and it did not end with the Civil Rights Movement. We are committed to correcting the record and developing a strategy for inclusive ongoing representation and commemoration of the contributions of Black people in the United States.
Promoting the education and celebration of Black history is critical to the maintenance of ongoing dialogue about racism and race relations in the United States. At every level of the criminal justice system—from over-policing, to over-prosecution, to over-sentencing, to conditions while incarcerated, to reintegration upon release—Black Americans are subject to systemic racism. May To excise the injustices of racism from this system, we must address every stage of the criminal process, recognize the ways they interact with each other, and invest in social programs to mitigate the harmful effects.
We must ensure less contact with an over-reaching criminal justice system. Once people are released from incarceration, we must ensure they are free to reintegrate into society and have the support to do so. Experts agree that far too many people are locked up unnecessarily. Austin, James, Ph. As a result, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Accessed June 18, It is nearly five times the rate of incarceration in the United Kingdom, and over 10 times that of the Netherlands. In some cases, incarceration actually leads to an increase in crime.
We need better ways to address crime and poverty, both in the criminal justice system and in society. Freedom is not binary. We will ensure people who are incarcerated have access to education, health care, and rehabilitation. Studies show that access to postsecondary education while incarcerated increases the likelihood of finding jobs upon release and decreases recidivism rates.
January ; Davis, Lois M. Steele, Jessica Saunders, and Jeremy N. April 15, Protect the freedom of Black people in America by bringing fewer people into the criminal justice system in the first place and minimizing police overreach. Black people have a higher likelihood of arrest by age 28 than white people, and Black people with disabilities have an even higher likelihood. McCauley, Erin J. November 8, There is no national database of officer-involved shootings, but available data show that Black people are disproportionately subject to excessive force—including deadly force—from police officers.
This disparity is even worse when considering unarmed people killed by the police. Lopez, German. November 14, We need accountability, training, and enforcement to ensure that no more Black people are unjustifiably arrested and that no more Black lives are wrongly lost at the hands of police officers. The racial wealth gap is the most visible economic consequence of our long history of discrimination against Black Americans. The legacy of slavery is a legacy of stolen labor and stolen wealth. June 5, Slavery, segregation, redlining, predatory lending, and other systemic discriminatory practices created this dynamic, and the Douglass Plan will take deliberate steps to dismantle those systems while providing the necessary capital and tools to mitigate wealth and opportunity gaps.
After the Great Recession, minority-owned businesses added 1. October 1, The Walker-Lewis Initiative aims to triple the number of entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds within 10 years. Inspired by Black business pioneers Madam CJ Walker and Reginald Lewis, the goal of this initiative is to create up to 3 million new jobs in minority communities and across the country overall.
This initiative has four main elements:. In addition, we will supercharge investment 5X in minority-held depositories. They are connected to and understand the needs of communities. We want to increase the ability of CDFIs to invest in entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and businesses in their communities. Based on decades of systemic racism and exclusion, Black Americans continue to be disproportionately unemployed and underemployed, especially young African American men. In most occupations and professions, Black Americans continue to be underrepresented, especially in executive, management, and leadership positions.
The gaps in promotion and pay are even larger for Black American women in the workforce. There are numerous, inter-connected reasons for this persistent employment gap that require both short-term and long-term solutions. We will therefore:. Finally, we will appoint Cabinet Secretaries, presidential appointees, and White House staff that include Black Americans and reflect the diversity of America. We will appoint Black Americans and other people of color to Presidential commissions, task forces, and advisory bodies. Our Office of Public Engagement will establish and build relationships with community leaders and stakeholders from across Black America—teachers, health professionals, business leaders, faith leaders, artists, professional athletes, community organizers—to make sure there are seats at every federal government table to listen to and be more accountable to Black America.
Mitchell, Bruce, Ph. March 20, Meanwhile, policies from the New Deal to the G. Bill to the Federal Housing Administration of the s and s directly invested in white homeownership while purposely excluding Black Americans. Perry, Andre M. November 27, This investment has compounded over generations and combined with centuries of conscious and intentional discrimination to entrench the racial wealth gap.
Misra, Tanvi. March 12, The Douglass Plan proposes a 21st Century Community Homestead Act to launch a public trust that would purchase abandoned properties and provide them to eligible residents in pilot cities while simultaneously investing in the revitalization of surrounding communities.
Contrary to traditional private incentives for urban revitalization, this plan directly invests in the American people instead of further enriching private investors. In addition to helping families across the nation, the investment in these communities would provide greater services and infrastructure for new industries and sectors to thrive, creating a multiplier effect of jobs and prosperity for local residents. Just as we depend on government to provide transportation and public safety, we need good government to protect us from disease, environmental threats, natural disasters, and bioterrorist attacks.
Faberman, Rhea. These shortcomings in our current public health systems and infrastructure disproportionately affect communities of color and the poor. For example:. We can make measurable progress towards mitigating negative health impacts that disproportionately impact communities of color through the following actions:. We will expand enforcement of environmental protections and invest in solutions to environmental threats, particularly focusing on communities of color and working families who face disproportionate health effects from pollution, tainted water, and inadequate infrastructure.
We will ensure expanded and equitable disaster preparedness and relief, so that all communities get the resources they need to prepare for and recover and rebuild from disasters, whether due to hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas, or Florida; wildfires in California; or flooding and tornadoes in the Midwest. Many of these solutions require integrating resources from across the federal government, including from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
House of Representatives. Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. The quest to build a more perfect union is bound in the struggle to build a democracy that includes every citizen. For Black communities, that struggle has involved a civil war, the armed terror of white supremacists, and a shameful century of Jim Crow laws.
Yet even after the Voting Rights Act of , the promise of equal access to the ballot is still unfulfilled. Ten years ago, Black voter turnout surged to unprecedented levels, but this historic moment sparked a renewed era of discriminatory voter suppression. Unscrupulous election administrators have manipulated election procedures to further target communities of color, subjecting them to shorter voting periods and longer waiting times.
Political operatives and even foreign adversaries like Russia have used disinformation campaigns to suppress the Black vote. And even when Black voters overcome these hurdles, their voting power is too often diminished by gerrymandered legislative districts. Meanwhile, Republican leaders in Congress have refused to renew the Voting Rights Act even after the Supreme Court dismantled some of its key protections.
The Douglass Plan proposes a 21st Century Voting Rights Act that will use every resource of the federal government to end all types of voter suppression, expand voting access, and create a democracy where the rights of each citizen no longer depend on the color of their skin, the community they live in, or for whom they want to vote. Approximately one in five eligible voters is not registered to vote.
June 21, Registration must be made easier, by automatically registering eligible voters using information the government already has, allowing online and same-day registration, and making registration portable within states. Voting must be made easier and more accessible by allowing early voting and vote-by-mail, making Election Day a national holiday, and by setting and enforcing standards for poll workers and the distribution of voting machines.
Voting must also be made accessible to all, including through accessible registration materials and other language access provisions, and greater accessibility at polling places. We will protect the right to vote by using the full power of the federal government to combat voter suppression. Weaponized voting laws and the discriminatory administration of elections cannot be allowed to continue disenfranchising Black voters.
We need to authorize a new preclearance procedure under the Voting Rights Act to enable the federal government to block racist voting laws before they take effect. And in the era of Facebook and unaccredited news sites, we need to work with tech companies and develop policies that limit the spread of false information online. If it were a state, Washington, D. Indeed, it would be the only state in the union where Black Americans were not a racial minority. This would give D. The newly redefined District of Columbia would still be entitled to three electoral votes by the 23rd Amendment, which we propose awarding to the winner of the National Popular Vote.
This would eliminate the possibility of an Electoral College tie, which at present would allow Congress to decide the winner of a presidential election regardless of the popular vote. The Electoral College artificially dilutes the power of minority communities, especially Black Americans living in Southern states. Gelman, Andrew, and Pierre-Antoine Kremp. December 17, Due to projected demographic trends, this problem is likely to get worse over time.
We need to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with a National Popular Vote so that every citizen has a say in electing our president. Fair and Equal Political Representation We will reduce the power of big money in politics and elevate ordinary voices. The economic imbalance in our campaign finance system sustains a racial bias because wealthy donors are overwhelmingly white, with policy priorities often out of step with Black voters and the general public.
Lioz, Adam. December We need to create a strong public financing system that matches small donors so average citizens can run for office funded by their communities, not big donors. And we must pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and Buckley vs. Valeo to stop wealthy interests from dominating our democracy. An accurate Census is a cornerstone of our democracy.
It ensures that everyone has equal political representation and that every community receives its fair share of federal funding. Historically, the Census has undercounted Black Americans and other communities of color, undermining their right to equal representation and depriving them of critical resources for health care, education, and infrastructure.
We will closely examine the conduct of the Census to determine whether Black voters were undercounted, and will work with federal agencies and Congress to address the effects of any undercount on federal funding. Since , federal courts have struck down voting district maps in Alabama, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, as discriminatory, while lawsuits continue in Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
But voters should not have to go to court and spend years to vindicate their voting rights. Even when successful, these lawsuits cannot undo the initial loss of political representation. We will address discriminatory racial gerrymandering and partisan gerrymandering—which often has the same effect—by ensuring that Congressional redistricting is conducted by independent, statewide commissions using fair and non-discriminatory redistricting rules. And while we do not pretend to have all the answers, a fully effective program for empowering Black America will require further listening to voices from communities themselves.
It's up to you!
The deep wounds of centuries will not be healed with a handful of targeted programs. But with the Douglass Plan, a Buttigieg Administration will make an unprecedented commitment to listen to and lift up those who have historically faced discrimination. This amounts to a commitment to replace racist systems with inclusive ones. It is a down payment on the future we hope to see. Done right, we will enrich not only Black America, but all of America.
Pete doesn't take any money from federal lobbyists, corporate PACs, or the fossil fuel industry. Please chip in whatever you can to help build our grassroots movement. If you've saved your information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately. Menu Button. This is why Mayor Pete Buttigieg is proposing The Douglass Plan, a comprehensive and intentional dismantling of racist structures and systems combined with an equally intentional and affirmative investment of unprecedented scale in the freedom and self-determination of Black Americans.
The thought of only being a creature of the present and past was troubling. I longed for a future too, with hope in it. The desire to be free, awakened my determination to act, to think, and to speak. Health Equity and Justice True freedom also means the freedom to live the healthiest life possible in order to pursue your dreams, and the freedom from having your quality of life or lifespan determined by the color of your skin, gender, zip code, or job.
These Health Equity Zones will support the identification, development, implementation, and monitoring of plans tailored to address local health inequities. Continuing funding to a Health Equity Zone will be conditional on the presence of concrete, executable plans to address high-priority health disparities in the local community, with a specific emphasis on racial and demographic health disparities.
We will address the underrepresentation of Black Americans in the health workforce and train our current health workforce to combat bias—especially racial bias—when treating patients, while transforming our institutions to ensure that they are prepared to engage with communities in culturally, linguistically, and historically appropriate ways.
We will develop and codify the frameworks, systems, data collection and analysis, and protocols for this work at the highest levels of government, and ensure that our health providers and systems can readily access these tools and support. We will revitalize the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that frameworks are in place to address health inequities, promote equal access, and prohibit discrimination; that agencies explicitly consider racial impact in their regulatory decisions and rule-making; and that legal recourse and enforcement is readily available to people and communities in order to protect these basic human rights.
Schools of the Future. We will invest in an equitable public education system by massively increasing federal resources for students at Title I schools. Schools that serve students who come to school hungry, who lack access to high-quality health care, who experience homelessness, and who know firsthand the indignity of racial discrimination need more resources—not less—if they are to experience opportunity equal to their peers. A Buttigieg Administration will dramatically increase Title I funding to support higher teacher pay and supplemental services for lower-income students above and beyond state and local funding resources.
We will issue new regulations to diversify the teaching profession. Department of Education. Studies show that same-race teachers can have an enormous impact: Black students with at least one Black teacher in grades are much more likely to graduate high school and attend college. Seth Gershenson, Cassandra M. Hart, Constance A. Lindsay, and Nicholas W. That is why we will require new transparency around teacher hiring procedures: states will disaggregate their applicant and hiring by race and document teacher diversity initiatives as part of their Every Student Succeeds Act school improvement plans.
We will also set new guidelines around the use of Title II funds to invest in recruiting, training, and supporting the next generation of school leaders of color. We will invest in high-quality state and local educational programs. We will increase federal investments and incentivize state and local investments in middle school, high school, and college programs to increase readiness and competitiveness for Black women and men in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics STEM and fields of growing employment opportunities, especially health professions, software, finance, and alternative energy.
We will ensure all student loan borrowers have affordable and safe ways to manage their debt. The federal government should never have allowed students to enroll in these programs and we will hold those colleges accountable for their predatory actions. A portion of those funds will be set aside for a fund to support, test, and scale promising practices to improve college completion at these institutions.
Significantly increasing the resources available to HBCUs and MSIs to help level the playing field between them and other world-class institutions in the United States is about a commitment to restorative justice. Promotion of the Education and Celebration of Black History Freedom is seeing your history and culture accurately taught, reflected, and celebrated. We will increase funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and create targeted grant funding aimed to promote the ongoing documentation of Black history and promotion of Black culture in the United States.
Freedom means seeing your history and culture accurately represented in museums, libraries, and other cultural representations on an ongoing basis. It is not just remembering the past, but also acknowledging great talent and cultural contributions in the present. We will preserve cultural and historic sites documenting the history of Black people in the United States. We will prioritize grant funding through the Institute of Museum and Library Services to assist in the collection of materials, as well as the diversification of current museums and libraries.
These letters will provide guidance to schools on how to incorporate Black history throughout the K curriculum, and not just into a certain unit during certain months or grade levels. Criminal Justice Reform At every level of the criminal justice system—from over-policing, to over-prosecution, to over-sentencing, to conditions while incarcerated, to reintegration upon release—Black Americans are subject to systemic racism.
We will double funding for federal grants for states that commit to criminal justice reform, and prioritize funding for programs aimed at pretrial reforms, decarceration, and expansion of alternative to incarceration ATI programs. It is not enough to simply reduce the number of incarcerated people. We must address the root causes of racism, poverty, and crime—and doing so will require resources. These grants will allow states to reduce their incarcerated populations while investing in programs that make communities safer, including drug rehabilitation, affordable housing, and subsidized transportation.
It will also triple funding for technical assistance and training efforts. Such incentives will help states reform their systems, while grant requirements will hold states accountable to follow through. We will, on the federal level, eliminate incarceration for drug possession, reduce sentences for other drug offenses and apply these reductions retroactively, legalize marijuana and expunge past convictions.
Cooperate! A paradigm shift for health equity
Despite equal rates of use, Black Americans are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for using marijuana. Research shows that incarceration for drug offenses has no effect on drug misuse, drug arrests, or overdose deaths. March 8, In fact, some studies show that incarceration actually increases the rate of overdose deaths. Pearl, Betsy. June 27, We cannot incarcerate ourselves out of this public health problem.
Black people are disproportionately targeted for drug offenses.