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Planetary Health

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 6211 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €199 one-time
More information



This course is organised by University College Venlo, Maastricht University and University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Human populations are healthier than ever before, but to achieve this we have exploited the planet at an unprecedented rate. On our current trajectory, we will put even more pressure on the Earth’s natural systems. The so-called Great Acceleration of human activities and associated environmental impacts has significantly changed our natural systems and the human relationship with these systems. We are faced not only with climate change, but also with declining biodiversity, shortages of arable land and freshwater, pollution, and changing biogeochemical flows. We are dramatically affecting our global food production system, the quality of the air we breathe and of the water we drink, our exposure to infectious diseases, and even the habitability of the places where we live. There is increasing evidence of the diverse impacts of global environmental changes that are affecting global health on a large scale and widen existing health inequities. Climate change, for example, has been referred to as “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”.

These changes in our global environmental systems pose significant challenges for sustainable development. They profoundly affect the earth’s life-support systems and raise fundamental questions how human relate to their natural environment and to other species.

Hence, in this course we will explore from a sustainable development perspective how we can meet the needs of the present, while safeguarding Earth’s life-support system on which the health and well being of current and future generations depends.

• Discuss Planetary Health as part of the broader discussions about the Anthropocene and Planetary Boundaries;
• Understand the basic mechanism and underlying the connection between the health of our Planet, Nature, Animals and Humans;
• Identify the key physical and mental health impacts related to function of Earth’s natural systems (including a short discussion of this dualistic (Cartesian) view on health);
• Explore different perspective on Planetary Health, including indigenous perspectives;
• Discuss planetary-health friendly and resilient systems, and potential adaptation strategies, including (intergenerational) inequities and vulnerabilities;
• Identification of strategies that foster hope and collaborative action to mitigate or adapt to climate change;
• Develop an Integrated Systems Perspective of Planetary Health, which requires to explore methods and concept such as Nature Based Solutions, Regenerative Design, Integrated Assessment.

Teaching methods
▪ Assignments
▪ Lectures
▪ Papers
▪ Presentations
▪ Skills
▪ Trainings
▪ Work in subgroups

Assessment Method
Interdisciplinary cases:
- Groups of 3-4 students dive into a planetary health related topic of their choice, and eventually present their findings in a short pitch and/or poster and/or a self-made multimedia library of videos, pictures, artworks, literary pieces.

Course coordinator
Prof. Dr. Pim Martens

Programme structure

Start Date: 20 June 2023
End Date: 22 June 2023

Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023
Application period has ended
Studies commence
19 Jun 2023
Apply now! Maastricht Summer School 2023
Application period has ended
Studies commence
19 Jun 2023