China / Education

Tsinghua University, medical journal in major report launch

By Shan Juan ( Updated: 2015-10-29 17:03

China's Tsinghua University and medical journal The Lancet have jointly launched reports on climate change and the broader concept of planetary health in China.

The reports, "Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch" and "Climate Change: Policy Responses to Protect Public Health", explore the critical intersection of human and environmental health.

The launch event, "Protecting Planetary Health: The Ultimate Goal for Human Actions in Response to Global Change," was co-organized with Tsinghua University as part of a global rollout of The Lancet's planetary health report and was intended to help the Chinese public, scientific community and policy-makers better understand the reports' themes and recommendations.

"Our goal is to promote a new dialogue around sustainable development and to provide the best available evidence for policy and decision makers, not only in China but also worldwide," said Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet.

"We want to see a greater commitment to cross-disciplinary research on health, environment, and climate change issues over the next two years. Our hope is that we can better integrate social, economic, and environmental policies to further enhance planetary health — the health of human civilizations," he added.

The concept of planetary health is based on the understanding that human health and civilization depend on flourishing natural systems. However, the Earth's natural and environmental systems are being degraded at an unprecedented rate, jeopardizing the wellbeing of civilization.

"In order to overcome these challenges that expand from local to global levels and achieve continued development of society, global leaders came together to seek strategies that will fund and support sustainable development," said Gong Peng, director of the Center for Earth System Science at Tsinghua University and one of the main authors of the report, at Wednesday's launch.

"In December, the UN will further negotiate a new international climate change agreement in Paris. These important decisions, made within one short year, will have lasting impacts".

According to The Lancet's planetary health report, in the next 10-20 years, mankind will face some of the most severe threats to its existence. These include global warming, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural resources.

The Lancet calls for urgent action, noting that the solutions lie within reach. Redefining prosperity to focus on increasing quality of life and the delivery of improved health for all, together with improved stewardship of natural systems, would provide immediate benefits.

Societies can also address the drivers of environmental degradation by promoting sustainable and equitable patterns of consumption, reducing population growth and harnessing the power of technology for change.

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