“We don't need to save ‘the environment’ or ‘the planet’ – we need to save ourselves! The earth doesn’t need us; we need the earth. A healthy planet is a fundamental requirement for healthy people.” This was the speech made by Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen at the end of November at the opening of the interactive exhibition “Planet Gesundheit” from the German Environmental Agency (UBA) and the DBU. The doctor, comedian and supporter of Scientists for Future helped to develop the exhibition and can be heard in two audio installations.
In his opening remarks, DBU General Secretary Alexander Bonde also addressed the connections between climate change and human health. The effects of climate change that impact human beings most directly are extreme weather events. “Extended periods of extreme heat can result in sunstroke and heat stroke; too much time spent sunbathing can lead to skin cancer. And the psychological strain felt as the result of heavy precipitation events with flooding should not be underestimated,” said Bonde. Dr. Lilian Busse, head of Division II of the German Environmental Agency, Environmental Health and Protection of Ecosystems, stressed: “We can all do something for the environment and for our health every day, for example by shopping for more environmentally friendly products with the Blue Angel label or when deciding which mode of transport to use.”
The exhibition includes additional examples for ways to live with fewer risks and side effects both for human health and for the planet: “Planet Gesundheit” takes visitors on a fictional journey through their everyday lives. In the morning in the bathroom, a glance at the small print tells them what sorts of chemicals are hiding in everyday hygiene or cleaning products. In an office setting, visitors can “blow out” a digital candle to better understand why soot is bad for indoor air. At the next installation, you have to make a choice: should you drive a car, take the bus, ride your bike, or walk to meet your friends? And, when spending an afternoon at the lake, a look through a magnifying glass demonstrates how climate change can affect water quality.
“Planet Gesundheit” will be installed at the DBU exhibition centre in Osnabrück until spring 2021, when it will spend five years travelling around Germany. Tailored educational programmes are offered for school groups of children and teens from years 5 to 13. In 2020, a series of monthly talks will be held. The talks will be open to the general public. Opening times: Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information (in German): www.planetgesundheit.org