Profiles in Planetary Health: Courtney Howard

  • Reach out to like-minded colleagues, either locally or afar. Being a lonely advocate can be a recipe for burnout, and relationship-building is essential for turning ideas into action. There are amazing people all over the world working on planetary health issues. Try getting involved with CODA Change, joining the WONCA listerv or the PHA’s Hylo platform, engaging in local initiatives, or finding a specialty group to join.
  • Embrace interdisciplinary work. Many of Canada’s successes over the last few years have come from very interdisciplinary work. Dr. Howard has worked with economists, energy planners, transport experts, and others to promote active transport, plant-based diets, and other initiatives. The potential for learning and change is much higher when there are many different types of people with a variety of expertise in the same room.
  • Look for successful initiatives you can emulate. Leaning about how others have addressed planetary health issues can provide a framework for taking on similar challenges. Replicating wins — such as successful divestment campaigns, active transport initiatives, hospital-based greening initiatives, or clean energy campaigns — can provide inspiration and a sense of the most effective strategies and tactics.
  • Make a practice of matching stories to data. For every number you quote in a piece of public-facing communication, pair it with a meaningful real-world story that illustrates the point.

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Planetary Health Alliance

Planetary Health Alliance

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