Cities and the Planet: How Urban Ecosystems Impact the Planet

Urban ecosystems impact planetary health, and urbanization needs to be a focus of study and action. Panelists will discuss both benefits and threats that cities bring, with a particular focus on megacities and slums. The panel will present solutions bridging sectors – including innovative governance structures and new technologies.
Organized by Jo Ivey Boufford and moderated by Michelle Barry, with speakers including Peng Gong, John Rossant, Olga Sarmiento, David Vlahov

Can the Private Sector Drive Change?

In what ways is the private sector driving change in planetary health? This session will hear from leaders in finance, valuation, and scalable solutions. Can we turn the old and new economies toward a sustainable future?

Organized by Sam Bickersteth and moderated by Gretchen Daily, with speakers including Robert Strand and John Fullerton

Mobilizing a Planetary Health Movement

The rapid degradation of earth’s natural systems necessitates urgent, global, collective action to fundamentally reshape our relationship with these life-support systems. What strategies do successful organizers use to help people fight feelings of individual futility and come together in collective action to catalyze change? Organizers will share needs, challenges, and opportunities that lie ahead in building a movement to advance planetary health.

Organized by Sam Myers and moderated by Courtney Howard, with speakers including Emmanuela Shinta, Sandy Naranjo, and Zoe Cina-Sklar

Burn: Wildfires, Deforestation, and Planetary Health

Wildfires are predicted to increase 30-50% by 2040. Agricultural burning is also on the rise. Fire exposure increases respiratory symptoms, respiratory emergency department visits, strokes, and heart attacks. There is an urgent need to formulate a call to action with international/local scientists across different disciplines, non-profit organizations, policy makers, and community groups to preserve forests and protect health.

Organized and moderated by Kari Nadeau, with speakers including Ruth DeFries, John Balmes, Tasso Azevedo, and Alison Wolff

Food Connects Land & Sea: Integrating Oceans into the Future of Food

Over the next few decades, unprecedented changes in population, incomes, technology, and environment will drive and warrant major transformations of what we eat and how we produce it. In discussions of future diets, however, the role of oceans is often marginalized. Yet oceans provide critical nutrition and livelihoods to the world’s vulnerable populations, and many market, dietary and ecosystem connections exist between agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, and livestock production. Our panel of nutrition and environmental scientists and practitioners will discuss challenges, opportunities, and pathways for integrating oceans into a sustainable and equitable future of food.

Organized by Michelle Tigchelaar and Jim Leape, and moderated by Rosamond Naylor, with speakers Jorge Torre, Ling Cao, Shakuntala Thilsted, and Jessica Fanzo

NCDs and Planetary Health: Common Challenges and Co-Beneficial Solutions
In 2016, non-communicable diseases (“NCDs” – including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases) accounted for 71% of global deaths – a figure which is projected to rise to over 80% by 2045. While this is in part due to great progress in addressing infectious diseases, global industrial transitions including increasing exposure to environmental risk factors drive the growing burden. People in low- and middle- income countries are most at risk. NCDs, climate change and air pollution are recognized by WHO as the leading threats to human health in 2019 1 . Air pollution alone is responsible for 7 million deaths annually, the majority of which are attributable to NCDs, and as of 2018 is formally recognised by WHO and the United Nations as one of the five leading risk factors for NCDs (along with tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and harmful use of alcohol). Yet alongside this formidable threat exist clear opportunities for co-beneficial actions to improve both human and planetary health. These primarily include interventions in the energy, transport and food and agriculture sectors, to be adopted by policymakers at global, national and local levels. Such interventions include promoting walking and cycling over vehicular transport, thus increasing physical activity while also reducing emissions; and those which promote a transition towards more sustainable food systems and plant-based diets. Many lessons can also be learned from the wider NCD response, especially with regard to building support for the regulation of unhealthy commodities, ranging from tobacco to fossil fuels.
Co-Moderated by Herb Riband and Kari Nadeau, with speakers Howard Frumkin, William Dietz, Modi Mwatsana, Kris Ebi.


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