Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Hunter Branch Meeting 2020-5

Professor Tony“Planetary Health—Safeguarding Health in the Anthropocene Epoch”

Professor Tony Capon
Professor of Planetary Health and
Director, Sustainable Development Institute
Monash University

Date: Wednesday, 2 December 2020, 6.00pm AEDT
Venue: Zoom Webinar
Video Presentation:YouTube Video

Summary:  The rise of the global threat of pandemic viral disease is not the only issue confronting the modern world. There are a bundle of major related problems stemming from man’s successes in building a more comfortable existence. It is now apparent to many scientists that the drive to modify, utilise and control the resources of our planet, especially over the past few hundred years, is affecting the health of our planet.  Planetary Health is a new field of inquiry that links a multiplicity of disciplines which observe changes in the well-being of life on Earth.

In this presentation, Professor Capon will introduce the findings of the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health report, “Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch, and canvass their implications for the protection and promotion of future human health and wellbeing.“ To respond effectively to the health challenges of the Anthropocene, human societies need to grapple with the global transitions that are currently shaping our lives–demographic, epidemiological, food, energy, urban, economic, cultural and ecological. Humanity can chart a safe, healthy and prosperous course ahead by addressing unacceptable inequities in health and wealth within the environmental limits of the Earth. However, this will require the generation of new knowledge, the implementation of wise policies, decisive action and inspirational leadership.

Professor Capon’s presentation will be supported by a panel moderated by the Hunter Branch vice-chairman, Laureate Professor John Aitken, and consisting of Dr John Van Der Kellan, the president of the NSW branch of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), and Ms. Georgia Brown, a medical student who is an the main mover in Code Green, the climate action arm of AMSA (Australian Medical Students Association).

Professor Tony Capon directs the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and holds a chair in planetary health in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. A public health physician and authority in environmental health and health promotion, his research focuses on urbanisation, sustainable development and human health. He is a former director of the International Institute for Global Health at United Nations University (UNU-IIGH) and has previously held professorial appointments at the University of Sydney and Australian National University. He is a member of the Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health that published its report Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch in 2015, and the International Advisory Board for The Lancet Planetary Health.

Two of his recent publications are:

  • ‘Advancing Planetary Health in Australia: focus on emerging infections and antimicrobial resistance.’ Hill-Cawthorne et al. BMJ Global Health (2019)4(2) e 001283
  • ‘Human Health on an Ailing Planet’ - Historical Perspectives on Our Future.’ Dunk JH et al. NEJM, 2019, 381(8):778-782
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