Planetary Health Alliance

Jan 15, 2020

3 min read

Adnan Arshad, 2019 Planetary Health Campus Ambassador

By Adnan Arshad, 2019 Planetary Health Campus Ambassador

I am PhD scholar and climatologist at China Agricultural University, Beijing P.R. China, working on climate change impact assessment, rising temperature and food security on planetary health in rural areas of South Asian countries. My first engagement with the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) was at the 2018 Planetary Health Annual Meeting (PHAM) held at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

The 2018 PHAM was great opportunity for me to learn about how climate change mitigation and resilience can be empowered by social behavioral change even in vulnerable communities; how the health impacts of various global environmental changes manifest in regional settings; and what emerging responses to planetary health issues look like. At this meeting, there was a particular focus on the health impacts of high temperature and heat waves, poor air quality index (AQI), prolong droughts, and threats to water and food security.

While I learned that changing the behavior of local communities can be hard — it’s not impossible. To inspire people to change, we need to innovative solutions that meet them where they are using the power of emotional appeals, social incentives, and choice architecture along with economic and policy reform. Now, I galvanize researchers, policymakers, planners and local communities who experience these planetary health impacts to tailor policies based on action-focused research and cross-sectoral innovations. The sessions on governance and policy solutions helped build my systems-thinking skills, which I now use to collaborate with multidisciplinary researchers toward planetary health solutions. I feel honored and thankful to the organizers and supporters of the 2018 PHAM, which provided me an opportunity to work with global planetary health activists on globalization challenges and solution to climate change and human health. The PHAM forum also provided me a chance to meet with potential stakeholders and funding organizations for future collaboration to develop sustainable health and development practices.

After the meeting, I applied and was selected for the 2019 Planetary Health Campus Ambassador Program. During this past year, I have organized keystone meetings with graduate students of my college and two meetings with university officers to prompt new courses in planetary health. As part of my efforts with Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy, Pakistan, PODA has joined the PHA consortium and is now addressing climate change and its impact on women rural women health as a planetary health issue in Pakistan. The Planetary Health Campus Ambassador program also helped build my capacity to work with university academics and administration to strengthen environmental change and planetary health research and development. Furthermore, I have also started a research intervention and conducted modeling projections to track temperature rises and extreme weather in Pakistan under future scenarios. The research article is already accepted for publication in International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction and has a strong focus on health. I am really looking forward to continue working with the PHA team in the future!

Adnan Arshad, Pakistan

China Agricultural University, PhD Researcher

Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) / /