Global perspective makes world of difference
Students, staff and alumni are being encouraged to join Edinburgh-led efforts that respond to challenges facing the global ecosystem.
University researchers are at the forefront of efforts to curb interrelated threats that are putting the existence of humankind at risk, including climate change, environmental pollution, and widening socioeconomic inequalities.
This emerging discipline of planetary health is not just about large-scale research activities, but is also driven by individuals making a personal commitment to change.
It describes how our wellbeing is dependent on the systems that underpin our lives – not just environmental but legal, social, and economic too.
Students past and present are being invited to back the University’s drive to promote planetary health and to generate knowledge and action.
To raise awareness, Edinburgh will host the second annual meeting of the Planetary Health Alliance on 29 May. Interested parties from universities, NGOs and other partners will attend.
The three-day event will bring together researchers, policy makers, planners and communities from around the world.
It will be chaired by Professor Liz Grant, Director of the Edinburgh’s Global Health Academy.
Meanwhile Edinburgh alumni are being asked to commit to a list of simple, achievable pledges that they can sign up to online.
Some alumni groups have already begun to make an impact.
Members of the Alumni Club in Colorado have pledged themselves to cycling or walking instead of driving, sourcing local food, ditching disposable cups, air drying their clothes and turning down the thermostat.
Edinburgh alumni across Chile have formed a cycling club with planetary health in mind. Its ethos is to “motivate sustainable transportation, mobility and healthy gatherings”.
The University of Edinburgh Alumni Club of Shanghai is improving planetary health raising awareness of sustainable fashion.
They will encourage people to buy less, reuse and recycle clothes, and organise clothes swap events.
The global challenges we face cannot be tackled by governments and big business alone. Each of us, our children, and our friends must face these challenges. And each of us can help solve them.