The concept of Planetary Wellbeing is adapted from the concept of Planetary Health. Planetary health has been recently conceptualized as the achievement of the highest attainable standard of health, wellbeing, and equity worldwide through judicious attention to the human systems—political, economic, and social—that shape the future of humanity and the Earth’s natural systems that define the safe environmental limits within which humanity can flourish (Whitmee et al, The Lancet 2015). In an unprecedented context of rapid climate change and global transformations of the world, the Planetary Health report suggests that humanity can be successfully developed through the 21st Century addressing the unacceptable inequalities in health and wealth within the environmental limits of the Earth, through the generation of new knowledge, the implementation of wise policies, determined actions and inspirational leadership. Environmental threats to human health and human civilization are characterized by surprise and uncertainty. Our societies face great and powerful risks that require urgent and transformative actions to protect present and future generations. Following the International Panel on Social Progress (ISPS, 2018) report, we understand well-being (or welfare) as an overarching goal for society, with a multi-dimensional nature including wealth, equity, the environment and other public goods such as health and education. It is normative in the sense that there are multiple perspectives on what matters to society (happiness, capabilities to function, etc.).
In 2018 UPF launched the Planetary Wellbeing initiative. The aim of this initiative is to promote a transversal multi- and trans-disciplinary action in the field of planetary welfare, with the purpose of providing the university with a vision committed to the major challenges of society in the 21st Century. In the last century, humanity has made great strides in improving societal wellbeing. However, this progress has come at a cost: an unprecedented rate of exploitation of natural resources and unacceptable inequalities in health and wealth. UPF has decided to focus its energy on responding to this situation, which poses a challenge in the University’s various fields of knowledge and education. The Planetary Wellbeing initiative is completely aligned with the achievement of SDGs. It can provide the necessary framework to integrate generation of knowledge and actions required to achieve each of the 17 SDGs.
Amongst others, the Planetary Wellbeing initiative is working on:
1) The promotion of multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations among and across the UPF faculty by specific actions aiming at promoting a new generation of scholars with a strong focus on planetary wellbeing; and
2) The creation of a minor on Planetary Wellbeing, which will that allow students to acquire knowledge, tools and abilities to incorporate basic concepts of ethics, equity, health, environment, education, economics, justice, others to their future academic and professional activities. The purpose of this minor is to provide specialized training of an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary nature.