Support initiative “Planetary Health”

Climate protection is health protection

The climate crisis and human health are closely related. Extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, storms and floods are the result – heat stroke, dehydration and even deaths are not uncommon. Elderly people, children and people with a health history are particularly at risk. However, rising temperatures can also favor the spread of vectors, mobile animal species such as insects or mammals that transmit diseases. In agriculture, persistent drought is causing crop losses. Food and water shortages lead to malnutrition and are already the result in many regions of the world. The link between environmental change and health is obvious. According to Ärzteblatt, the healthcare sector is currently responsible for around five percent of Germany’stotal CO2 emissions. That’s around 50 million metric tons ofCO2. It is clear that action must also be taken in the healthcare sector to mitigate the climate crisis and minimize its impact on health. Planetary health is a fairly new field of research that addresses these very issues.

Goal: Find solutions for pressing issues

As the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU), we have had a funding focus on this topic since 2022. Our goal is to find solutions to pressing environmental challenges and put them into practice. This is demonstrated by the Planetary Health projects of our project partners from very different sectors and areas listed below. The examples show that the link between climate change and health has received too little attention so far and that action is needed. Because without a healthy planet, we can’t live healthy either. In short, protecting the earth is also protecting our health. It is clear that action must also be taken in the healthcare sector to mitigate the climate crisis and minimize its impact on health. This requires close cooperation between different disciplines and actors in the health care system.

Projects with concrete practical relevance

The projects can be assigned to the current DBU funding topics. What all projects have in common is that they have a concrete practical relevance and solution approaches are implemented directly in the project in an exemplary manner. Models are emerging that can be transferred to other health care institutions, to other groups of actors, and to other subfields of action in the area of planetary health, as formulated by the German Advisory Council on Global Change.

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Projects of the funding initiative

Thematic area “Sustainability assessment tools and competencies and strengthening sustainability awareness and action”:

Thematic area “Sustainable nutrition and sustainable food handling”:

Thematic area “Energy- and resource-saving neighborhood development and renewal”:

Thematic area “Nature conservation and sustainable use of nature in working landscapes and protected areas”:


Dr. Alexander Bittner
DBU: Umweltkommunikation und Kulturgüterschutz, Internationale Förderung: Formale Bildung und Zivilgesellschaft
+49 541 9633-430