A short reflection on the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting

Thank you to all who attended the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting at Stanford University — whether in-person in Palo Alto, CA on Ramaytush Ohlone land, or remotely through one of the 46 watch parties that took place across 16 countries! The 2019 Annual Meeting welcomed about 500 guests from over 40 countries, brought together not merely by “intellectual curiosity,” but because of an “urgent need for social action,” in the words of PHA Director, Dr. Sam Myers, during his opening remarks.

We knowledge-exchanged through plenary, hands-on workshops, storytelling, and an interactive poster session featuring over 100 presenters from a wide variety of fields, countries, and career stages — a handful of which have been published in The Lancet Planetary Health’s Special Issue. We welcomed 37 Travel Scholars from almost 20 different countries (you can learn more about each of them here!), who, along with other next-generation leaders, participated in the 2019 Speaker Ambassador Program: a continuing mentorship program in which emerging leaders are thoughfully paired with speaker mentors to engage over lunch and share their takeaways via upcoming blog and social media posts.

Session topics ranged from the mental health impacts of environmental change, to exploring the role of indigenous knowledge, urban ecosystems, and the private sector in advancing planetary health. The PHA remains humbled and proud that no panel or workshop was homogeneous in gender, age, continental origin, or discipline; the meeting consistently featured the voices of various indigenous communities, youth, women, and the Global South in a deep and authentic manner, and our commitment to planetary health was shown in all logistical details — from outdoor programming, to recycled and biodegradable badges, to low-waste, plant-based fare.

And while the plenaries, keynotes, and workshops were extremely diverse both in scale and in scope, there remained a pervasive sense of unity toward a common goal: building a strong, global, and transdisciplinary community mobilized for urgent and equitable planetary health action!

Carbon conscious or unable to attend the 2019 meeting in person, like Dr. Jane Goodall? You can find recorded livestreams of all sessions on the PHA YouTube channel to re-watch and share with your planetary health peers and search #planetaryhealth2019 for a real-time recap of the event and sessions.

Generating better understanding of the links between accelerating global environmental change and human health to support policy making and public education