And how does climate change affect our health?
How we interact with nature and our environment has a major impact on our physical and mental health. Planetary health examines the consequences of human intervention in nature and links this to the health of all life on Earth. Making planetary health and sustainability a fixture of the medical curriculum would better enable doctors to prevent damage to our health and make a sustainable difference in the world.
The CO₂-assistant project team is calling for planetary health to form a common thread running through the entire curriculum. Addressing it in every subject makes sense—after all, sustainability and the climate are relevant in all kinds of ways. A course on infectious diseases could consider climate change and mosquito-borne diseases. Surgery and anaesthesiology could take into account which types of anaesthetics have an outsized effect as greenhouse gases. Medical students could examine the effects of heatwaves on elderly people and changes in nature on mental health. This way, solutions can be found that lead to a win-win situation for sustainability as well as health.