Exploring the Connection Between Ecosystem Changes and Human Health: A New Video About Out of Eden Learn’s Planetary Health Learning Journey

This post is authored by Devon Wilson and Shari Tishman. Devon Wilson is a research assistant at Project Zero, where he works on the Out of Eden Learn project and the ID Global project. Shari Tishman is a co-director of Out of Eden Learn.

Out of Eden Learn is excited to share a short new video about the Out of Eden Learn learning journey, An Introduction to Planetary Health. The learning journey, developed in collaboration with the Planetary Health Alliance, helps students explore the relationship between environmental change and human health, and the video tells the stories of students and teachers from three different parts of the world who participated in a learning journey together in the fall of 2019. Though the video was completed just days before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it feels especially relevant today.

As communities around the world entered lockdown in early 2020, a consequence observed by environmental researchers was an associated decrease in CO2 levels internationally along with a flourishing of many natural environments due to the reduced presence of humans. At the same time, the disparity of COVID-related health outcomes across communities has led to a dramatic increase in awareness of how local and global environmental conditions contribute to human health outcomes.  Many refer to this moment as an opportunity for a “great realization” – a moment to look at ourselves in the mirror and say that we cannot continue on as we previously have. Yet as economies begin to re-open, we already see increases in CO2 and environmental degradation, and most systemic issues affecting human health continue to persist. Indeed, with the loosening of environmental regulations in the name of economic recovery, these issues threaten to become worse. 

As we begin to return to classrooms around the world—whether online or in person—we are presented with a fresh set of opportunities to do things differently. The Introduction to Planetary Health learning journey gives students the opportunity to actively explore the intersection between environmental systems and human health—in their own communities and around the world.  Like all Out of Eden Learn learning journeys, students take walks in their own neighborhoods, investigate themes that have both local and global relevance, and share stories that matter to them with their online peers. Also like all Out of Eden Learn offerings, the learning journey is entirely free. It takes about 8-10 weeks to complete, and it can be used in online, in-person, or multimodal classrooms.  The curriculum can be viewed on the Out of Eden Learn website. The next round of OOEL planetary health learning journeys launch in September and October.  If you’d like more information or are interested in signing up, contact us at learn@outofedenwalk.com. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the video!

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