These factors all have implications for agricultural systems and road building that affect the environment as well as both livestock and wildlife populations. Scaling up further involves consideration of regional changes in biodiversity and climate and the effect on bat reservoirs of the virus, and the effect of global travel patterns in moving the virus over large distances.
In another scenario, a disease outbreak in an animal population, such as a sudden stranding of whales or other marine mammals, can capture the attention of the media and the public, raise questions on the causes of unexpected die-offs, and provide windows of opportunity for instituting needed, urgent solutions.
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Figure 3 shows how an animal sentinel event at an individual or group level can be mapped to larger, often planetary-level forces, resulting in improved articulation of research questions and more effective solutions. For example, accumulation of plastics found in the stomach of a stranded marine mammal may be a sign of wider contamination of marine environments by microplastics related to changes in the use of plastics in the textile industry. Addressing this problem, therefore, may require major changes on the part of manufacturers and consumers, involving national and international policy initiatives.
How sentinel events in animals and humans can provide warning of health threats at higher global and planetary levels. In another example, the outbreak of mercury poisoning among fish-eating residents of Minamata, Japan, due to contamination in local fish from the polluted bay 30 was preceded by die-offs of fish and neurological disease events in cats and other animals.
The event also showed the health danger of unregulated industrial manufacturing and widespread chemical pollution of the environment. The One Health framework can be used not just to identify and control health threats, but also to identify positive models for healthy coexistence, well-being and sustainability of these interconnected systems. For example, a farm with animals, if managed using One Health principles that optimise the health and well-being of the humans farm workers, farm families, community members and consumers as well as the animals and the local environment protecting forests and water supplies, reducing energy consumption, using renewable energy, and eliminating air and chemical pollution can provide a model that, if replicated on a wider scale, could help mitigate the environmental consequences of agricultural food production.
Assessing the sustainability of different types of farming practices in a One Health way requires skills of modelling and integration of human, animal and environmental outcomes on a larger scale, considering aspects such as carbon footprint and life-cycle assessment.
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A recent European consensus statement described the key aspects of the One Health concept as interspecies equity valuing animal health and well-being simultaneously with humans , stewardship and resilience. It could be argued that, given the urgency of environmental degradation described in the Planetary Health report, higher priority should go to actions that focus on the survival of humans.
In this worldview, animals are viewed as part of the life-supporting environment, contributing to the rich and complex biodiversity of ecosystems necessary for the survival, well-being and health of humans and other species and providing nutrition for human populations at the pinnacle of the food chain. Yet there are important reasons to apply instead a One Health framework that places intrinsic value on considering the health and well-being of animals separate from environmental considerations. For one, the increasing number and rate of zoonotic disease events are directly related to the way that humans are managing land use, and wild and domestic animal populations, and therefore are likely to continue to occur.
Simplistic solutions to zoonotic disease threats such as attempting to cull wildlife 32 have proven futile in the past and are now understood to result in many negative unintended consequences for local people. Instead, we need to devise new and innovative methods of human coexistence with animals that will necessitate close cooperation between human, animal and environmental health professionals and other disciplines.
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Second, the relationship between animals and humans offers important economic and societal impacts, including many positive aspects in relation to non-communicable disease and health that are not adequately covered by a narrow focus on zoonotic disease. Third, as discussed above, animals can be the canary in the coal mine warning us of new threats from environmental change. Ignoring such disease events risks or placing a low priority to investigating and understanding them risks delays in our understanding of the health implications of a changing environment.
Fourth, there is a growing ethical discussion about the intrinsic value of animal life as well as animal welfare that seems likely to continue, making it important to consider issues such as animal well-being when designing policies related to environmental sustainability or control of specific disease threats. Lastly, the human affection and attachment to animals that has evolved over thousands of years is also likely to continue, and can be a critical leverage point in finding ways to promote policy, family and individual actions to protect the ecosystems we depend on for life.
For example, the Planetary Health report mentions the paradox of certain global burden of disease indicators currently improving despite the many warning signs of environmental degradation. By contrast, the increase in animal disease outbreaks and species extinctions, clearly with important environmental change drivers, may be easier for the public to connect with. This could help drive support for policy change. It also requires further development of useful metrics for tracking One Health outcomes, 36 as well as better ways to assess impact.
We encourage discussion and further development of this planetary One Health approach, and BMJ Global Health welcomes submissions based on the planetary One Health approach.
Adopting the planetary vision for One Health will help to better connect ongoing global health efforts in disease control and preparedness to larger underlying and pressing issues of environmental change, equity and sustainability. Creating local models of healthy coexistence between humans and animal populations and the environments they share and depend on for life is critical for ensuring a sustainable future for our shared home of planet earth.
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Article menu. A planetary vision for one health. Statistics from Altmetric. One Health as a systems approach incorporating Planetary and EcoHealth concepts While the importance of emerging zoonotic diseases should be obvious to the readers of BMJ Global Health , we argue for further development of the One Health framework to better incorporate Planetary and EcoHealth concepts and the sense of urgency regarding environmental support systems.
Figure 1 Hierarchically organised system of human health, adapted from Engel. Figure 2 System levels for different types of One Health interactions. Scaling from pathogens to populations One advantage of this expanded One Health framework is that it emphasises how interactions at clinical and local public health levels, such as emerging infectious diseases in individuals, households or communities, are connected to higher level, more complex threats to health and sustainability, including factors such as climate change, deforestation, and how they are impacted through land and water use, types of food production, human behaviours, poverty, equity and governance.
Animals as sentinels In another scenario, a disease outbreak in an animal population, such as a sudden stranding of whales or other marine mammals, can capture the attention of the media and the public, raise questions on the causes of unexpected die-offs, and provide windows of opportunity for instituting needed, urgent solutions. Figure 3 How sentinel events in animals and humans can provide warning of health threats at higher global and planetary levels.
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Sustainable coexistence: humans and animals sharing environments The One Health framework can be used not just to identify and control health threats, but also to identify positive models for healthy coexistence, well-being and sustainability of these interconnected systems. Why animal health matters A recent European consensus statement described the key aspects of the One Health concept as interspecies equity valuing animal health and well-being simultaneously with humans , stewardship and resilience. Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Mr. Joshua Steele for graphic design. References 1.
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Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health. Lancet ; : — Wellcome Trust, Priority area: Our Planet, Our Health—responding to a changing world. Planetary Health Alliance , The Lancet Planetary Health. Welcome to the lancet planetary Health. Lancet Planet Health ; 1 : e1.
Gibbs EP. The evolution of One Health: a decade of progress and challenges for the future. Vet Rec ; : 85 — Waltner-Toews D. Ecosystem sustainability and health. Cambridge University Press , ISBN: Emergency risk communication: lessons learned from a rapid review of recent gray literature on ebola, zika, and yellow fever. Health Commun : 1 — Antibiotic resistance is the quintessential One Health issue. Godlee F , Waters A. Healthy people, healthy animals, and a healthy environment: One Health.
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BMJ ; : k During the scientific conferences on personalized medicine I have attended, researchers and politicians seek to mobilize commitments, not so much through the use of data, but through narratives. Disruption is a term used to explain the sudden death of certain technologies: Kodak, for example, did not manage to foresee a shift to digital cameras. Paradoxically, these narratives are employed to argue the need for data sourcing so that future decisions can build on data rather than stories.
The burden of evidence rests with the future; in the present a good narrative will do.
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