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Climate change: time to stop, think and do!

Posted October 18, 2018 by EditorPLOS in Climate, Politics, SDGs, Youth

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“... A new approach: The One Health Movement

The WWF International Director-General’s call for “unity around a common cause” echoes  the holistic mission and approach of the One Health Movement. One Health has been defined as ‘a collaborative, multi-sectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach—working at the local, regional, national, and global levels—with the goal of achieving optimal health and well-being outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.’

Fundamental to the One Health mission is its emphasis on moving from the current view of conceptualising ‘the world as a place made especially for humans and a place without limits’ to embrace a new paradigm – a new worldview that ensures ‘our needs as human beings are compatible with an outer world and the needs of our ecosystem.’ The movement’s values, principles and practices are being recognised by proponents (public, private, civil society) across the globe not only in tackling pandemics and threats like antimicrobial resistance (AMR) but also, as the World Bank Group asserts in its report, operational framework for strengthening human, animal, and environmental public health systems at their interface. Examples include pollution, climate change, food insecurity, and more. The IPCC findings underscore the criticality of this mind shift and the urgency to tackle root causes such as vested interests and overconsumption (e.g., energy, water, raw materials) that undermine global sustainability. ...”


George Lueddeke, PhD is author of Survival: One Health, One Planet, One Future (Routledge) released on 18 October 2018.

About the new publication Survival: One Health, One Planet, One Future

It is essentially because of the dangers posed to the world by socioeconomic, environmental, geopolitical and potentially technological forces that I decided to write this book. In my research, I came across a passage in economist and author John Kenneth Galbraith’s book, The Age of Uncertainty, that struck a particular note with me given the times we are experiencing: ‘A nuclear war does not defend a country and it does not defend a system …not even the most accomplished ideologue will be able to tell the difference between the ashes of capitalism and the ashes of communism.’

While 193 countries agreed the SDGs in 2015 and 195 endorsed the Paris climate agreement  in December 2015 (surprisingly the US withdrew from the accord  in June 2017 – which could take four years to complete), it is breathtaking how members of the UN Security Council continue to frustrate UN resolutions which could address many of the issues faced globally especially given hard evidence– subverting the needs and will of those who have most to lose. Adopting shared values that underpin the UN 2030 Agenda – especially values of equality, democracy, tolerance and respect to bridge division between people and bind nations together could not be more urgent.

With a Foreword by Professor David Heymann MD, the book builds on two previous books on medical education and global population health and well-being and seeks to address two of our greatest social problems: changing the way we relate to each other and to the planet and confronting  how we use technology for the benefit of both humankind and the planet. Covering a wide range of issues, the book provides a  point of convergence in Chapter 12 outlining Ten Propositions for Global Sustainability, which cut across all sectors and are meant for decision-making bodies – in particular the 193 national governments at the United Nations  General Assembly that endorsed the SDGs in 2015 and the 15 members of the UN Security Council.