Planetary health

Human well-being and the state of the environment are closely interdependent. The projects will raise awareness of planetary health, identify practical measures and spread good practices to different sectors in Finland and Europe.

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The planet and us (summary)

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Interdependence between the state of the environment and human well-being should guide policy-making

publications

Planetary health

publications

Towards planetary health (summary)

Phenomenon

Planetary health is built on a connection with nature

What is it about?

We are currently pushing the limits of nature’s carrying capacity of the environment and undermining the conditions for future generations to live and thrive. Climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution impair human health. The weakened carrying capacity of the environment is reflected in such things as nutrition and food, chronic diseases and disease resistance.

The concept of planetary health – One Health – is based on the idea of interdependence between human well-being and the state of the environment.

Finland can prosper by building a fair, sustainable and inspiring future that ensures people’s well-being within the limits of the Earth’s carrying capacity. For example, data can be used to identify major risk factors, make forecasts and models, monitor trends, identify new phenomena and seek solutions to problems.

Results

Towards planetary health – solutions for human and natural well-being

We have put together the basics in a publication that explores the interdependencies between human health, nature and the environment, and the food system.

The publication is based on a workshop organised by Sitra in December 2022, where experts were invited to discuss the components of planetary health: human health, nature and the environment, and food. The workshop discussions have been analysed and supplemented with recentliterature and in-depth articles by researchers in the field, highlighting the multiple dimensions of planetary health. The publication concludes with a series of suggestions for promoting planetary health.

More information: publication (in Finnish, summary in English)

Legislative work and good practices in the EU and member states

The project studied what concrete measures the European Commission and member states are planning or what measures are needed to promote planetary health.

The project brought together operators in society to discuss the measures and good examples needed to implement planetary health at the EU level and in member state levels. The study was published in September 2023, when it was be also presented to EU decision-makers and experts in the field at an event in Brussels.

More information: publication and news

Project implemented by: European Policy Centre, Elizabeth Kuiper, E.Kuipera (at) epc.eu

Introducing One Health

The project aimed to spread the idea that there is strong link between human health and that of the environment. This holistic approach can be used to prevent health and environmental crises and, for example, to plan the collection, use and management of health data.

Basic information on One Health was compiled in a publication specifically for upper secondary school students to support school visits. The project has also strengthened cooperation and knowledge sharing among researchers, public authorities and others by creating a network of experts and disseminating good practices through a workshop.

More information: One Health Finland’s publication in Finnish, summary in English (The planet and us – how to nurture One Health?)

Project implemented by: One Health Finland ry, Minna Maunula, minna.maunula (at) onehealth.fi

Projects in progress

A forest nature cure for youth malaise

The aim of the project is to promote the well-being of young people by using research on the health benefits of nature.

The project will develop, apply and systematise existing knowledge into a concrete action model that will be carried out in the study programmes of Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The approach can also be applied in other institutions of higher education. The aim is to make nature a part of students’ everyday lives through gamification and digitalisation.

The project involves students from different fields of study, who will carry out project studies, elective studies and possibly theses at different stages of the project.

Project implemented by: Tampere University of Applied Sciences, a news in Finnish (7 February 2023)
Contact person: Ulla Häggblom, Principal Lecturer, ulla.haggblom (at) tuni.fi

The health benefits of nature and their economic importance

Moving and spending time in nature has a wide range of health and well-being benefits. The aim of the project is to provide general knowledge, based on scientific research, about the wide range of impacts of the natural environment on human health.

The project will examine the health impacts of nature, focusing on three main themes: the impact of nature on mental health, physical health and immune defence. The project will also assess the economic importance of nature’s health impacts through health economic modelling and produce calculations of the economic benefits of nature’s health impacts. The project will produce a report based on scientific research, synthesising existing and current research on the topic, and publish a summary with policy recommendations.

The project started in late 2023 and the report will be completed in September 2024.

Project implemented by: Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Contact person: Liisa Tyrväinen, liisa.tyrvainen (at) luke.fi

For further information, please contact Elina Drakvik, Sitra.

Where are we now?

Some projects have come to an end and the rest are due to end in autumn 2024.

Contact us

people
Elina Drakvik
Senior Lead, Health data 2030
people
Liisa Pietola
Senior Lead, Sustainability solutions
people
Saara Rimon
Senior Lead, Nature and daily life & PSLifestyle
people
Taru Ryske
Project Coordinator, Foresight and Strategy

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