What On Earth Is Planetary Health? Leave a comment

Excuse the pun, but what on Earth is Planetary Health? Join us as we zoom out and delve into the field, and investigate planetary electromagnetic pollution.


Planetary health as a concept was coined in 2015 by a collaborative document by The Rockefeller Foundation (one of the largest charity organisations in the world) and The Lancet (one of the world’s leading medical journals) entitled “Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health.” Quite a mouthful! But you can chew on that article here

John Drake from the University of Georgia says that “The premise of planetary health is that human well-being over the long-term depends on the well-being of the earth, including both its living and nonliving systems.” Human health at the time of the commission (before the emergence of Covid-19) was at an all time high – with life expectancy rates better than they’ve ever been. But the commission warned that this has come at the cost of the planet’s health – through exploiting the earth’s resources. 

We might think of our own personal health as the most important. Public health, however, zooms out one step to that of our community, while global health is cognisant of the fact that different communities experience different barriers to health. The idea of one health includes the earth’s animals and natural systems. Planetary health “takes this delocalisation of health one step further.” The UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change borrows from ideas on planetary health, recognising that: 

“human health and the health of our planet are inextricably linked, and that our civilisation depends on human health, flourishing natural systems, and the wise stewardship of natural resources.”

The Lancet has also written extensively on the impact of planetary electromagnetic pollution on planetary health. Just like our natural resources can be polluted on a community level, so too can the planet as a whole experience pollution. The Lancet states that we should consider “the blanket of radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation, largely microwave radiation generated for wireless communication and surveillance technologies, as mounting scientific evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation has serious biological and health effects.”

The report continues: 

“At a time when environmental health scientists tackle serious global issues such as climate change and chemical toxicants in public health, there is an urgent need to address so-called electrosmog. A genuine evidence-based approach to the risk assessment and regulation of anthropogenic electromagnetic fields will help the health of us all, as well as that of our planetary home. Some government health authorities have recently taken steps to reduce public exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation by regulating use of wireless devices by children and recommending preferential use of wired communication devices in general, but this ought to be a coordinated international effort.”

We recently celebrated World Environment Day. As we continue to observe World Environment Month, we should protect our environment by standing up against EMF pollution. It may be invisible but it is unnatural manmade pollution that is affecting all biological organisms on the planet.

Read More Here: 

Bandara, P and Carpenter, D. 2018. Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact. Available: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(18)30221-3/fulltext

Drake, J. 2021. What is Planetary Health? Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johndrake/2021/04/22/what-is-planetary-health/?sh=7ded75db2998

UNCC. 2022. Planetary Health. Available: https://unfccc.int/climate-action/un-global-climate-action-awards/planetary-health

Aliouche, H. 2022. What is Planetary Health? Available: https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Planetary-Health.aspx

Uptmor, A. 2016. 10 Things You Can Do For Planetary Health. Available: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/10-things-you-can-do-planetary-health

Panorama Perspectives. 2017. Conversations on Planetary Health. Available: https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Planetary-Health-101-Information-and-Resources.pdf

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