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(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) The latest issue in Politico's "The Agenda 2020: The Future of Health" focuses on planetary health. In the opening article, physicians Howard Frumkin and Sam Myers note that the human footprint on the earth has grown explosively over the past two centuries. The results, they add, are evident at a planetary scale. "The globe," they write, "is warming. Oceans are becoming more acidic. Natural cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus have been greatly altered; runoff fertilizer contributes to hundreds of “dead zones” along coasts. (This year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone is twice the size of the Chesapeake Bay.) Almost a third of tropical forests and a fifth of coral reefs have been lost, species are disappearing at unprecedented rates, major fisheries are depleted, and persistent organic chemicals have infiltrated even remote ecosystems. Human effects on the planet are so profound that earth scientists have named a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene." These trends, they argue, threaten to reverse the progress that has been made in human health, and require a new approach to health research and health policy - a new paradigm called "planetary health." Other articles in the issue include: "The Great Nutrient Collapse," which looks at how climate change is affecting the nutritional value of the food we eat; "Can American Soil Be Brought Back to Life," which explores issues of restoring soil health in the U.S.; and, articles on alternative proteins and climate change and human disease. The full issue can be found at the Politico website.

Posted September 13th, 2017