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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UCLA: The Lancet Planetary Health (Commentary): What If the Earth Had a Fatal Heart Attack?

Authors: AtulNakhasia, Daniel M. Croymans, and Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding


We live in a time when the battle is often over tweets and truth, in which human attention span is measured in milliseconds, and in which viral and instafamous are status symbols. This reality is ours. Thus, our tactics should be tailored to the 280 character limit of our lives. In a world in which our greatest enemy is the mischaracterization of truth by a single tweet, the metaphor further lends itself to battle in this medium.

After nearly 50 years of policy advancement since the first Earth Day in 1970, our planet is now under unprecedented assault. Although U.S. policies are not the only contributor, we are far from leading the charge in the right direction. In just the past 2 years alone, our nation has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, proposed reversal in fuel efficiency standards, and recommended budget cuts to renewable energy research and climate change initiatives.6

Progressive causes have long struggled with their inability to overcome academic tendencies and abstract policy prescriptions, failing to galvanise widespread public action. This is especially true for issues with far-removed consequences, such as climate change and chronic disease risks. Current events remind us all of our shared purpose to protect and preserve the health of our planet. We should reflect, refine, and reclaim the techniques and tactics we use to serve this purpose. Ultimately, Earth’s health might depend on a simple metaphor.

We declare no competing interests.

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