The concept of planetary health is based on the understanding that human health and human civilization depend on thriving natural systems and the sustainable stewardship of those natural systems. This demands not only knowledge and commitment of health and environmental sciences, but inter- and transdisciplinary efforts from all research fields and societal and political actors.
Planetary health has three challenges:
- Challenges to the imagination: over-reliance on GDP as a measure of human progress, failure to consider future health and environmental harms alongside current gains, and the disproportionate impact of these harms on the poor and people in developing countries.
- Research and information challenges: an increasingly molecular approach to human wellbeing that ignores the social and environmental context, a historical lack of transdisciplinary research and funding within the health community, and an unwillingness or inability to deal with uncertainty in the decision-making process.
- Governance challenges: how governments and institutions recognise and respond to threats, especially when faced with uncertainties, pooled common resources, and time lags between action and effect.
Citizen Science could be one way to address these challenges.