Clinicians for Planetary Health: Community in the Time of COVID-19

Today we want to celebrate the amazing work being done by each and every one of you— whether you are on the frontlines of treating patients, educating your community, taking care of your family, or ramping up self-care. We want you to hear that the world is cheering for you during these difficult and uncertain times— take a moment between shifts to watch these clips of grateful citizens clapping for essential workers in the streets of New York City, SpainIndiaTurkeyArgentinaGeorgia, and the United Kingdom in awesome displays of connection and compassion for clinicians like you! Wherever you may be in the world, please know that your neighbors and all of us in the PHA community recognize your work and are so grateful for your selflessness, bravery, and dedication to the health of all. 

There has never been a more important time to be a planetary health clinician: a healthcare provider who recognizes the inextricable connections between the health of humans and the health of our shared planet. As planetary health clinicians, we see that regenerating and protecting Earth’s biodiversity and natural systems is a public health imperative and a matter of urgent self-interest. With Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary fast approaching amidstP this unprecedented public health crisis, let us take the time to recognize that not only are vaccines and ventilators vital life-support systems, but so too are healthy forests, soil, water, and air.

A primary part of the Planetary Health Alliance’s mission is to mainstream the planetary health message through broad public outreach and to build awareness and momentum for the healthier world we wish to see. So where does #C4PH fit in? Time and time again, studies have shown that clinicians are the most trusted professionals in our society, providing a powerful opportunity to communicate planetary health to the general public and lower the global burden of disease linked to anthropogenic environmental change. In the coming months, C4PH will be sharing tools for how to interweave this planetary health connection into your practice. Right now, we hope that this community can be a support system and space for sharing stories of resilience, struggle, spirit, and strength. If you feel so called, please share your thoughts about COVID-19 and planetary health through posts or short videos on TwitterInstagram, or in the Planetary Health Online Community on Hylo (which will be re-launched later this year with exciting new features!) using the hashtags#C4PH, #planetaryhealth, and #COVID-19.

Once again, we want to give a huge, heart-filled thank you to everyone in this community and remind ourselves that there is much to be hopeful about despite the grimness of today’s news. We see people coming together to address a collective threat, radically altering their behaviors, and exhibiting pervasive acts of altruism despite enforced physical isolation. For the first time, it seems feasible that urgent, global, coordinated activity to protect ourselves and all life on Earth is within our grasp. Together, we will endure these tough times and emerge as a healthier, more caring and connected global community. As always, please be in touch about how the PHA and C4PH can be supportive and enjoy these resources about how COVID-19 fits into the broader planetary health context. 

With love and strength,
The C4PH Team

This blog was originally posted in the April 2020 C4PH newsletter, available here.

The Planetary Health Alliance is a partner of Climate for Health, a coalition of health leaders committed to caring for our climate to care for our health.  Founded by ecoAmerica, Climate for Health offers tools, resources, and communications to demonstrate visible climate leadership, inspiring and empowering health leaders to speak about, act on and advocate for climate solutions. Learn more about our partnership and the resources available to you here.

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