How to stay healthy

Research confirms that planetary health is fundamentally connected to human health. Not only is climate change and the degradation of living ecosystems the biggest threat to physical health of this century, but it also effects the mental health of individuals. On the physical level the effects may include heart attacks, strokes, disease, reduced access to health care, heart-related illness and death, allergies, asthma, impaired fetal development, or changes in general fitness. On the psychological level, the effects are less direct and therefore often underrated. Only in recent years have they become more prominent in policy and research debates. In order to survive and thrive psychologically, substantial research and theory suggests that humans must have certain psychological needs satisfied. Ecological degradation can interfere with the satisfaction of some of those psychological needs, such as the need for safety and security, competence, relatedness, and autonomy. The results may include substance abuse, anxiety, depression, sense of loss, helplessness, fatalism and resignation, loss of autonomy, loss of personal identity and increased suicide rates. Hence, the common separation between an ‘outer’ planetary health and an ‘inner’ personal health is obsolete. If you want to be healthy, take care of the planet.