University of Technology Sydney

96731 Planetary Health

3cp; Online only (7hpw + assessments)



Human activity is rapidly changing the structure and function of the Earth’s natural systems in a way that presents significant risks to human health. Disruption to the ecosystems on which human health depends includes biodiversity loss, climate change, fresh water depletion, deforestation, and urban development. The public health community is inadequately prepared to address the challenges of a rapidly changing environment and the significant impacts on human health. These health impacts include increases in heat related deaths, infectious disease, malnutrition, psychological distress and trauma, and pollution related illnesses. These health impacts are amplified in disadvantaged communities that are less able to adapt to environmental challenges. Planetary health builds on ecological public health principles broadening the definition of health to include human civilisation, recognising that human health is dependent on the health of the environment on which it depends.

This subject introduces students to the concept of planetary health and related research, policy and practice issues. Students consider the challenges and opportunities for public and population health from a planetary health perspective at both a global and local level. Students also examine the need for public health professionals to use knowledge, technology and policy in novel ways to address environmental and health challenges that are characterised by surprise and uncertainty.

Typical availability

Spring session

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

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