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  • Cited by 21
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2021
Print publication year:
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Book description

We live in unprecedented times - the Anthropocene - defined by far-reaching human impacts on the natural systems that underpin civilisation. Planetary Health explores the many environmental changes that threaten to undermine progress in human health, and explains how these changes affect health outcomes, from pandemics to infectious diseases to mental health, from chronic diseases to injuries. It shows how people can adapt to those changes that are now unavoidable, through actions that both improve health and safeguard the environment. But humanity must do more than just adapt: we need transformative changes across many sectors - energy, housing, transport, food, and health care. The book discusses specific policies, technologies, and interventions to achieve the change required, and explains how these can be implemented. It presents the evidence, builds hope in our common future, and aims to motivate action by everyone, from the general public to policymakers to health practitioners.


Finalist, 2022 PROSE Award for Environmental Science


‘This book illustrates the dramatic change in humanity’s awareness about the realities of our world and our destiny. Planetary Health describes the transformation that will move us to a healthier, safer and more sustainable future, with hope, optimism and confidence.’

Gro Harlem Brundtland - former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization

‘Andy Haines and Howie Frumkin’s book provides an accessible and fast-paced account of the challenges we face in improving human health in parallel with our environment in the next decades. A must read for anyone involved in global health, and a must read for anyone interested in the future of our children and grandchildren.’

Joy Phumaphi - Former Vice President of the World Bank and Director of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance

‘The climate crisis and other environmental challenges pose growing threats to the continued health of humanity. Andy Haines and Howie Frumkin’s book cogently and accessibly summarizes these growing threats to human health, and outlines the transformative changes we need to enact to improve health around the world and at the same time safeguard the environment for our children and grandchildren. This book is essential reading for every decision-maker in government and NGOs formulating health or environmental policy. The book is also a wonderful overview of planetary health issues for the general reader and student. A more important topic for the future of humanity from two leading experts is hard to imagine. A very timely analysis of the central issues of our time.’

Helen Clark - Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme

‘Andrew Haines and Howard Frumkin are two of the modern giants in planetary health. Their book highlights the value of cross-cutting approaches to human health and the health of the environment, combining resilience, health, equity, and prosperity. The book highlights the potential for the topic of planetary health to transform higher education, helping us rise to the challenge of multiple global crises. As we emerge from a global pandemic, I cannot imagine a more timely and important topic. An amazing, brilliantly argued compendium.’

Judith Rodin - former President of the Rockefeller Foundation and former President of the University of Pennsylvania

‘By its very nature, planetary health is a vast and multidisciplinary subject. Our understanding of the field is constantly expanding, our approaches to addressing it rapidly evolving, and the political landscape surrounding it increasingly complex, and yet, Haines and Frumkin masterfully summarize the issue in all of its complexity, leaving the reader with a solid foundation of essential knowledge and - more importantly - hope, and a clearly delineated path forward.’

Michele Barry - Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford University, California

‘The Anthropocene Era. Our children and our children’s children will be astonished that the first fully comprehensive book to describe their everyday life, was not written till 2021. And as they reflect on what Sir Andy Haines and Howard Frumkin have laid out, they will either ask why did we not follow the ideas for transformative change in this book; or they will stand together in hope saying, humanity took heed, it listened to evidence and common sense, and we were able to tilt the earth’s systems on their axis. This book is a watershed, its integrated science combines separate strands of knowledge, and creates the space for far more equitable participation in and ownership of the actions needed. This book is published at a watershed moment in history, when the health of the planet is in our hands. Can Planetary Health become our zeitgeist?’

Liz Grant - Assistant Principal, University of Edinburgh

‘Sir Andy Haines and Howard Frumkin’s book Planetary Health: Safeguarding Human Health and the Environment in the Anthropocene is a fact-filled and thought-provoking volume that explains the origins and proposes sound solutions to the existential crises of the Anthropocene Era … This book offers a holistic approach that helps us understand why we must respect, protect and enforce multisectorial frameworks if we are to maintain the integrity of the unique integrated complex system that is the Earth. The book also describes the many actions each of us can choose to take across sectors and within the finite planetary boundaries and cultural context, to reverse and reduce the current risks to a minimum and to remain healthy. An important read!’

Agnes Binagwaho - Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda

‘A brilliant book: Planetary Health, defined by founders of the field.’

Tony Capon - Monash University, Victoria

‘A splendid and important piece of work. Andy Haines and Howard Frumkin have, over many decades, led the world in the understanding of the relationships between environment and health. In this crucially important book, they show how our destructive behaviour, on a huge scale, has undermined our environment in ways that foster pandemics and infectious diseases, and which profoundly damage our physical and mental health. They also show, through careful and evidence-based analysis, how we can transform how we live, work, and consume to not only restore our environment but also live in much healthier and more enjoyable ways.’

Lord Nicholas Stern - London School of Economics

‘Wow! If you want state-of-the-art knowledge on humanity's future on Earth - here it is! From the depths of the great acceleration, tipping points and inequity, to transformative pathways, global justice and our grand prize - planetary health. Read it and you're equipped to navigate the Anthropocene.’

‘Focusing on potential solutions, the authors emphasize the integration of knowledge from different disciplinary and geographic perspectives to advance understanding. They cite at least 1,618 timely and scholarly sources, and dozens of tables, charts, and graphs enhance the text. Helpful chapter conclusions and the detailed index make this an excellent teaching tool … Essential. ’

A. S. Ricker Source: Choice Connect

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  • 3 - Pollution, Land Use, Biodiversity, and Health
    pp 77-124


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