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Nicole de Paula Is Helping People Understand Key Issues Related to Sustainability and Public Heal

Dr. Nicole de Paula has been globally connecting policy makers and researchers for more than a decade to create a public understanding on key issues related to sustainability and public. As a planetary health advocate, she champions the socioeconomic advancement of women through environmental conservation. She's the founder of Women Leaders for Planetary Health and in 2019, she became the first awardee of the prestigious Klaus Töpfer Sustainability Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam, Germany. Nicole is also the author of the book “Breaking the Silos for Planetary Health - A Roadmap for a Resilient Post-Pandemic World.”

Here’s an excerpt from our interview with Kirsten.

Passionistas: What's the one thing you're most passionate about?

Nicole: I think recently it's definitely planetary health. Uh, we've been advocating so much and at the beginning, the term was what is planetary health sounded like a horror cop thing. Right? So it was the, it was a term that sounded, it was a bit weird in some language doesn't translate. Well, I think in German, for example, it's, it's, it's hard to translate in Portuguese as well. I'm from Brazil. So, uh, it was also a bit funny, but definitely is the topic that we should be talking about specifically. Now when we need to recover. Hopefully from this pandemic.

Passionistas: So tell us of what planetary health means and how it relates to what you do for a living.

Nicole: I tend to say I'm a fake doctor, right? I have a PhD in international relations, so I'm not a magical doctor cause I've been talking a lot with public health experts. It's quite an interesting exercise. And so planetary health, uh, from my perspective is of very interesting narrative of things that decision makers should be talking about or acting on. So it's basically everything.

So the planet is changing, right? We say that if the planet is sick with all the climate change impacts biodiversity loss, pollution. We don't know any more what we have in our foods. So much chemicals in processed food. We used to have a big problem, of course, with hunger and half of the population is obese. So we're changing our lifestyles and the way the planet is changing and the way that we are impacting our planet. So that's why we say this anthropogenic impacts we need it's impacting public health.

So the decision normally is what is health at the end of the day? It’s everything that is inside our bodies and is just this small system. Or we should talk about health connected to the health of our planet. So the planetary health, let's say it's an approach, a new area of studies calling that way.

I think many researchers were already discussing sustainability connecting to human health. So again it’s very simple. It's just trying to connect sustainability to public health policies… Scientists are trying to understand how exactly climate change impacts human health.

We have heat waves that impact the most vulnerable in cities. So we're trying to measure that. So that's not exactly what I do, when people will do modeling, but in the end, we need to communicate and inform decision makers of this field and say, what do we do about it? And that's what I'm passionate about.

Hear Nicole’s full interview here.

Learn more about Nicole here.


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