Graphic with words: We need a new era of public health for our human planet

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Welcome to the human planet - and a new era of public health. These are the first years of a new epoch: the Anthropocene. It marks the moment when, after two centuries of sustained growth, human civilisation has taken over as the dominant force on Earth.

Our footprint has outstripped nature’s, our outputs outweigh the planet’s biomass, and the impact of our activity is now fundamentally disrupting the world’s climate and ecosystems.

We are already living with the impacts of this changed reality, but the scale of the challenge to the future health of communities around the world is only just starting to be understood.

Finding new ways to keep people healthy without making the planet ill

At the Centre on Climate Change & Planetary Health, we work to prepare governments, academia, health systems and citizens for a new era of public health: one that can embrace and contend with the realities of the Anthropocene.

How can public health adapt to the realities of a changing planet?

Building on a proud history of innovation and progress, the new era of public health will need to embrace new ideas, new ways of working, new technologies and methodologies. As we look ahead to the challenges of the future on our changing planet, we can see 6 major ways that public health will need to change.

From health hierarchies to healthy networks

Shift 1

1. From health hierarchies to healthy networks

A centralised, ‘command-and-control’ approach to public health will no longer be possible. Looser, more agile networks must take its place

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From rapid response to predict, prevent, prepare

From rapid response

2. From rapid response to ‘predict, prevent, prepare’

We need to become as adept at anticipating problems, and intervening early, as we are at responding to a crisis.

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From seperate specialisms to integrated expertise

CCCPH image new era 3

3. From separate specialisms to integrated expertise

We need to collaborate and communicate more effectively as public health leaders and scientists and tackle inter-related problems more holistically than ever before.

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From winner takes all to co-benefits

CCCPH image new era 4

4. From ‘winner takes all’ to co-benefits

Commercial, environmental, public health and social incentives can and must be aligned.

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From top-down to front line first

CCCPH image new era 5

5. From top-down to frontline-first

Voices from low and middle income countries must have an equal hearing, because the data and the solutions will be found on the frontline of climate change

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From straight lines to big leaps

CCCPH image new era 6

6. From straight lines to big leaps

We need to seize every opportunity to bypass historical phases of development and deliver radical innovation in public health.

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Help pioneer a new era of public health in the Anthropocene

Environmental sustainability at LSHTM

In response to the UK Parliament declaring a climate change emergency in May 2019, we began developing a new energy and carbon management plan. Comprehensive actions to reduce emissions are being taken forward by our staff community with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

Environmental Audit Committee Our Planet Our Health report

A high dependency on imported fresh food, coupled with failure to act on climate breakdown, is risking national food security, according to a new Environmental Audit Committee report Our Planet, Our Health.

The imperative of climate action to protect human health in Europe

The impacts of climate on health have been relatively neglected in EU policy. This must change. Our concern is motivated by the risks to health in the near future.

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