One Health Day puts spotlight on need for environmental resilience

In honor of International One Health Day, two Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine experts explain why there needs to be greater global effort to halt climate change, reduce toxins, and stop the irrevocable loss of the biodiversity.

Alexander Travis is the associate dean for international programs and public health at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. He says only focusing on a short-term perspective will hurt our own health, and the health of future generations.


Travis says:

“For any person who cares about their own health, or the health of their children, they must start caring about halting and reversing climate change, reducing the toxins we pump into the environment, and stopping the irrevocable loss of the biodiversity that sustains us. We cannot continue to blithely look for short term economic or health gains and think that we will not ultimately pay with our own health, or that of those we hold dear.

“One Health is the paradigm that highlights the connections between humans, animals and the environment. Planetary Health goes a step further and considers the economic, demographic, social and political drivers of change to these relationships, as well as the feedback from these changes on human health.”

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Gen Meredith is an expert in public health intervention planning and health assessment, and the associate director of the Cornell University Master of Public Health program. She says public health is poised to help restore balance.


Meredith says:

“As the global population grows and human innovations abound, the world becomes a smaller yet more complex place. Nowhere is free of health-related ailments that are driven by multiple factors that include people and animals, and how we are interacting with or are affected by the environment. Within the past year alone, concern about transboundary infectious disease outbreaks, food safety and security, and the impact of climate change on health has been omnipresent in the news.

“The field of public health seeks to mitigate the ill-effects of globalization through interventions tailored to the specific challenges. Notable public health interventions may focus on diagnostic and screening tools, vaccination practices, and water quality standards, among many others. As a whole, public health speaks to a collective commitment to disease prevention, health promotion and the preservation of life within healthy communities and takes a systems-perspective to consider and address the factors that influence these outcomes.”