Special Issue "Planetary Health: From Challenges to Opportunities for People, Place, Purpose and Planet"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Susan L. Prescott

Guest Editor
Founding Director of inVIVO Planetary Health; Director of The ORIGINS Project, Telethon Kids Institute; Founding President, DOHaD (Development Origins of Health and Disease) Society of Australia and New Zealand; Professor of Paediatrics, School of Medicine at University of Western Australia; Paediatric Immunologist, Perth Children's Hospital.
Interests: planetary health; ecological and social justice; immunology and inflammation; microbiome science; NCDs (noncommunicable diseases); nutrition; life-course wellness and ‘DOHaD’ (development origins of health and disease); integrative approaches to wellness and disease prevention
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Alan C. Logan

Guest Editor
inVIVO Planetary Health, Research Group of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), 6010 Park Ave, Suite #4081, West New York, NJ 07093, USA
Interests: planetary health; natural environments; nature relatedness; mind–body medicine; nutrition; social and ecological justice; placebo; microbiota; history of medicine; philosophy of biology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 8th annual meeting of inVIVO Planetary Health will be held in Detroit, Michigan, USA on 15–17th May 2019. The theme of the meeting, “From Challenges, to Opportunities”, underscores the imperative to address the complex ecological challenges of advancing global urbanization—for personal, environmental, economic, and societal health alike.

You are invited to submit papers to be presented at the 8th Annual Conference of inVIVO Planetary Health (https://www.invivoplanet.com/2019-meeting.html), for publication in IJERPH (Impact Factor 2.145). This Special Issue will be guest-edited by Prof. Dr. Susan Prescott and Dr. Alan C. Logan. Manuscripts should be submitted by 31 May 2020. See the Special Issue website for further details and submission instructions. Participants of this conference, and inVIVO members, will receive a 20% discount on the Article Processing Charges.

We also welcome outside submissions that focus on understanding and improving the complex relationships between human health and planetary health. We welcome manuscripts that discuss the ecobiological interactions in our living environments (including urbanization, food systems, education, social inequity, climate change, biodiversity loss, and microbial ecology) on physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, together with the wider community and societal factors that govern these.

Papers submitted to this Special Issue of IJERPH will undergo the standard peer-review procedure. Published papers will be indexed by the SCIE (Web of Science) and PubMed.

Prof. Dr. Susan L. Prescott
Dr. Alan C. Logan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Planetary health
  • Ecology, biodiversity, ecosystems
  • Social and ecological justice, health disparities, socioeconomic inequalities
  • Integrative ecological solutions, mutualism
  • Environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change
  • Urban landscapes, natural environments, nature-relatedness
  • Green space, green prescriptions, biodiversity interdependence, cooperation, integration
  • Dysbiotic drift, the microbiome, anthropogenic ecosystems
  • Microbial ecosystems, microbial diversity, disease associations
  • Inflammation and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
  • Mental health, emotions and wellbeing, solastalgia, ecological grief
  • Food systems, nutrition, food processing and nutritional ecology, planetary diets
  • Lifestyle and the exposome, systems biology, machine leading, personalized medicine, preventive medicine, bio-psychosocial medicine, high-level wellness
  • Life-course (developmental origins), transgenerational perspectives, epigenetics
  • Value systems, cultural shift, narrative medicine, neoliberalism, storytelling, belief systems, traditional cultures, spirituality

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Let Nature Be Thy Medicine: A Socioecological Exploration of Green Prescribing in the UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3460; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103460 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Prescribing nature-based health interventions (green prescribing)—such as therapeutic horticulture or conservation activities—is an emerging transdisciplinary strategy focussed on reducing noncommunicable diseases. However, little is known about the practice of, and socioecological constraints/opportunities associated with, green prescribing in the UK. Furthermore, the distribution of [...] Read more.
Prescribing nature-based health interventions (green prescribing)—such as therapeutic horticulture or conservation activities—is an emerging transdisciplinary strategy focussed on reducing noncommunicable diseases. However, little is known about the practice of, and socioecological constraints/opportunities associated with, green prescribing in the UK. Furthermore, the distribution of green prescribing has yet to be comprehensively mapped. In this study, we conducted a socioecological exploration of green prescribing. We deployed online questionnaires to collect data from general practitioners (GPs) and nature-based organisations (NBOs) around the UK and conducted spatial analyses. Our results indicate that GPs and NBOs perceive and express some common and distinct constraints to green prescribing. This highlights the need to promote cross-disciplinary communication pathways. Greenspace presence and abundance within close proximity (100 and 250 m) to GP surgeries (but not greenness—as a proxy for vegetation cover) and NBO presence within 5 km were associated with higher levels of green prescribing provision. Lower levels of deprivation were associated with higher frequency of NBOs. This suggests that the availability of greenspaces and NBOs could be important for green prescribing provision, but there could be greater opportunities in less deprived areas. Important foci for future research should be to establish transdisciplinary collaborative pathways, efficient infrastructure management and a common vocabulary in green prescribing—with the overall aim of reducing inequalities and enhancing planetary health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Greening of Daycare Yards with Biodiverse Materials Affords Well-Being, Play and Environmental Relationships
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2948; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162948 - 16 Aug 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Nature contacts are recognized as positively contributing to humans’ health and well-being. Although there have been projects to green daycare or schoolyards, yard greening and microbial biodiversity have never been studied simultaneously. We asked whether simultaneously increasing biodiversity exposure and greening urban daycare [...] Read more.
Nature contacts are recognized as positively contributing to humans’ health and well-being. Although there have been projects to green daycare or schoolyards, yard greening and microbial biodiversity have never been studied simultaneously. We asked whether simultaneously increasing biodiversity exposure and greening urban daycare yards affects 3–5 years-old children’s physical activity and play, their environmental relationships, and their perceived well-being. For transforming six daycare yards in Finland, we used a forest floor with high biodiversity, sod, peat blocks, and planters for vegetable and flower growing. We used qualitative interview and survey-based data collected from the daycare personnel and parents to analyze how green yards encourage children’s engagement with their everyday life-worlds. We identified the functional possibilities provided by the yards and the dynamic aspects related to the greening. Green, biodiverse yards were considered safe, and inspired children’s play, diversified their activities, and increased physical activity. The greenery offered embodied experiences of nature and provided the children with multi-sensory exploration and diverse learning situations. The dynamic and emotional ways of engaging with the natural environment increased their well-being. The activities related to caring for the yards and exploring them promoted the development of environmental relationships. The results can be used for designing health-enhancing yards Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Local Challenges and Successes Associated with Transitioning to Sustainable Food System Practices for a West Australian Context: Multi-Sector Stakeholder Perceptions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(11), 2051; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16112051 - 10 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Large-scale food system practices have diminished soil and water quality and negatively impacted climate change. Yet, numerous opportunities exist to harness food system practices that will ensure better outcomes for human health and ecosystems. The objective of this study was to consider food [...] Read more.
Large-scale food system practices have diminished soil and water quality and negatively impacted climate change. Yet, numerous opportunities exist to harness food system practices that will ensure better outcomes for human health and ecosystems. The objective of this study was to consider food Production, Processing, Access and Consumption domains, and for each determine the challenges and successes associated with progressing towards a sustainable food system. A workshop engaging 122 participants including producers, consultants, consumers, educators, funders, scientists, media, government and industry representatives, was conducted in Perth, Western Australia. A thematic analysis of statements (Successes (n = 170) or Challenges (n = 360)) captured, revealed issues of scale, knowledge and education, economics, consumerism, big food, environmental/sustainability, communication, policies and legislation, and technology and innovations. Policy recommendations included greater investment into research in sustainable agriculture (particularly the evidentiary basis for regenerative agriculture), land preservation, and supporting farmers to overcome high infrastructure costs and absorb labour costs. Policy, practice and research recommendations included focusing on an integrated food systems approach with multiple goals, food system actors working collaboratively to reduce challenges and undertaking more research to further the regenerative agriculture evidence. Full article

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Open AccessPerspective
Molecular Decolonization: An Indigenous Microcosm Perspective of Planetary Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4586; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124586 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Indigenous peoples are resilient peoples with deep traditional knowledge and scientific thought spanning millennia. Global discourse on climate change however has identified Indigenous populations as being a highly vulnerable group due to the habitation in regions undergoing rapid change, and the disproportionate burden [...] Read more.
Indigenous peoples are resilient peoples with deep traditional knowledge and scientific thought spanning millennia. Global discourse on climate change however has identified Indigenous populations as being a highly vulnerable group due to the habitation in regions undergoing rapid change, and the disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality already faced by this population. Therefore, the need for Indigenous self-determination and the formal recognition of Indigenous knowledges, including micro-level molecular and microbial knowledges, as a critical foundation for planetary health is in urgent need. Through the process of Indigenous decolonization, even at the smallest molecular scale, we define a method back to our original selves and therefore to our planetary origin story. Our health and well-being is directly reflected at the planetary scale, and we suggest, can be rooted through the concept of molecular decolonization, which through the English language emerged from the ‘First 1000 Days Australia’ and otherwise collectively synthesized globally. It is through our evolving understanding of decolonization at a molecular level, which many of our Indigenous cultural and healing practices subtly embody, that we are better able to translate the intricacies within the current Indigenous scientific worldview through Western forms of discourse. Full article
Open AccessViewpoint
Spaceship Earth Revisited: The Co-Benefits of Overcoming Biological Extinction of Experience at the Level of Person, Place and Planet
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1407; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041407 - 21 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Extensive research underscores that we interpret the world through metaphors; moreover, common metaphors are a useful means to enhance the pursuit of personal and collective goals. In the context of planetary health—defined as the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic ecosystems (social, [...] Read more.
Extensive research underscores that we interpret the world through metaphors; moreover, common metaphors are a useful means to enhance the pursuit of personal and collective goals. In the context of planetary health—defined as the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic ecosystems (social, political and otherwise)—one enduring metaphor can be found in the concept of “Spaceship Earth”. Although not without criticism, the term “Spaceship Earth” has been useful to highlight both resource limitations and the beauty and fragility of delicate ecosystems that sustain life. Rene Dubos, who helped popularize the term, underscored the need for an exposome perspective, one that examines the total accumulated environmental exposures (both detrimental and beneficial) that predict the biological responses of the “total organism to the total environment” over time. In other words, how large-scale environmental changes affect us all personally, albeit in individualized ways. This commentary focuses the ways in which microbes, as an essential part of all ecosystems, provide a vital link between personal and planetary systems, and mediate the biopsychosocial aspects of our individualized experience—and thus health—over our life course journey. A more fine-grained understanding of these dynamics and our power to change them, personally and collectively, lies at the core of restoring “ecosystems balance” for person, place and planet. In particular, restoring human connectedness to the natural world, sense of community and shared purpose must occur in tandem with technological solutions, and will enhance individual empowerment for personal well-being, as well as our collective potential to overcome our grand challenges. Such knowledge can help shape the use of metaphor and re-imagine solutions and novel ways for restoration or rewilding of ecosystems, and the values, behaviors and attitudes to light the path toward exiting the Anthropocene. Full article
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Open AccessConference Report
Eighth Annual Conference of inVIVO Planetary Health: From Challenges to Opportunities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214302 - 05 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
inVIVO Planetary Health (inVIVO) is a progressive scientific movement providing evidence, advocacy, and inspiration to align the interests and vitality of people, place, and planet. Our goal is to transform personal and planetary health through awareness, attitudes, and actions, and a deeper understanding [...] Read more.
inVIVO Planetary Health (inVIVO) is a progressive scientific movement providing evidence, advocacy, and inspiration to align the interests and vitality of people, place, and planet. Our goal is to transform personal and planetary health through awareness, attitudes, and actions, and a deeper understanding of how all systems are interconnected and interdependent. Here, we present the abstracts and proceedings of our 8th annual conference, held in Detroit, Michigan in May 2019, themed “From Challenges, to Opportunities”. Our far-ranging discussions addressed the complex interdependent ecological challenges of advancing global urbanization, including the biopsychosocial interactions in our living environment on physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, together with the wider community and societal factors that govern these. We had a strong solutions focus, with diverse strategies spanning from urban-greening and renewal, nature-relatedness, nutritional ecology, planetary diets, and microbiome rewilding, through to initiatives for promoting resilience, positive emotional assets, traditional cultural narratives, creativity, art projects for personal and community health, and exploring ways of positively shifting mindsets and value systems. Our cross-sectoral agenda underscored the importance and global impact of local initiatives everywhere by contributing to new normative values as part of a global interconnected grass-roots movement for planetary health. Full article
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