Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health

Elsevier, Lancet Commission, July 2015

Authors: Sarah Whitmee, Andy Haines, Chris Beyrer, Frederick Boltz, Anthony G Capon, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Alex Ezeh, Howard Frumkin, Peng Gong, Peter Head, Richard Horton, Georgina M Mace, Robert Marten, Samuel S Myers, Sania Nishtar, Steven A Osofsky, Subhrendu K Pattanayak, Montira J Pongsiri, Cristina Romanelli, Agnes Soucat, Jeanette Vega, Derek Yach

 

By almost any measure, human health is better now than at any time in history. Life expectancy has soared from 47 years in 1950–1955, to 69 years in 2005–2010, and death rates in children younger than 5 years of age have decreased substantially, from 214 per thousand live births in 1950–1955, to 59 in 2005–2010. But these gains in human health have come at a high price: the degradation of nature’s ecological systems on a scale never seen in human history. A growing body of evidence shows that the health of humanity is intrinsically linked to the health of the environment, but by its actions humanity now threatens to destabilise the Earth’s key life-support systems.

As a Commission, we conclude that the continuing degradation of natural systems threatens to reverse the health gains seen over the last century. In short, we have mortgaged the health of future generations to realise economic and development gains in the present.

Despite present limitations, the Sustainable Development Goals provide a great opportunity to integrate health and sustainability through the judicious selection of relevant indicators relevant to human wellbeing, the enabling infrastructure for development, and the supporting natural systems, together with the need for strong governance.

View some key findings of the safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch report in our infographic.

Visit the Lancet Commission page for more information.

Welcome message by Helen Clark Launching The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health.

From public to planetary health Richard Horton presents a new vision for planetary health. Please note we are no longer collecting signatures for the Manifesto.