WBGU invites discussion on Planetary Health

12/14/2021 - Online discussion by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) on planetary health kicked off with an impulse statement by Sabine Gabrysch on health and global sustainability.
WBGU invites discussion on Planetary Health
Sabine Gabrysch is one of nine members of WBGU appointed by the German Government (photo: Twitter capture).

As part of its upcoming flagship report, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) has identified ten key issues to be debated in dealing with planetary health. The series of events was kicked off this Tuesday with an online discussion where Sabine Gabrysch, head of PIK’s research department on Climate Resilience, gave an impulse statement on health and global sustainability.

“Across the world, we’re seeing contradictory developments in health. In recent decades, living conditions have improved substantially in many parts of the world, and so has human health. However, not all have benefited from this development: Far too many people, especially those living in poverty, are still suffering and dying from diseases that could be prevented or cured. At the same time, rising prosperity and modern lifestyles have led to new health problems: Too much and unhealthy food, too little exercise and air pollution have led to a sharp rise in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases worldwide, including in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, there are new health risks due to human interventions in nature which have reached a global scale”, Sabine Gabrysch said in a video statement before the event.

Last but not least, our resource-intensive way of life, with its immense emissions of greenhouse gases, the destruction of natural habitats and increasing pollution of land and sea, has led to a planetary crisis. It threatens the natural life-support systems on Earth and thus the health of all people. Heat waves, disastrous floods and pandemics drastically demonstrate to us that our society is dependent on functioning ecosystems and a stable climate. The planetary crisis could furthermore threaten the cohesion of our societies and overburden healthcare systems. But the crisis also gives us an opportunity to rethink our idea of prosperity and progress, to break habits and make our societies fairer, more sustainable and healthier. Because the increasing environmental and health problems often have common roots, synergies can be found in approaches to solving them. We are at a crossroads. Society, business and politics must assume responsibility and initiate a comprehensive transformation that leads to healthy human life on a healthy planet.

The above mentioned discussion paper can be found here:


More information on the Council’s work can be found here:



PIK press office
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07

E-Mail: press@pik-potsdam.de

Twitter: PIK_Climate