The fact that the climate crisis is not only an issue, but THE issue, directly affecting humanity and posing an existential threat, has by now been acknowledged by science, business, society and politics. We are already, here and now, feeling the effects on our health of climate change and overstepping the limits of our planet, not only in the southern hemisphere, which in some cases is already existentially affected, but also in the northern hemisphere. The WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths are caused each year by damage done to the environment, deaths which could be avoided. Heat and fine dust, extreme weather situations and pandemics affect poor population groups with disproportionate frequency and impact – worldwide. This means that the climate crisis is closely linked to issues of social justice. The United Nations has been pointing this out for years in the AGENDA 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and outlines strategies that can effectively combat the causes and reduce the consequences.

According to the UN, these goals can be achieved not only by thinking of them and tackling them as a network but also by considerably transforming our own ways of thinking and living. The concept of “Planetary Health” is an attempt to consider the connections between human health and natural, political, economic and social systems more as a network and to understand them in that way. At the annual conference in 2023, where we will also be celebrating 25 years of EbM networking, we want to discuss the necessary steps towards this. Is “EbM as usual” appropriate in the face of the crises of our planet? What is the best available evidence – from the point of view of EbM – with regard to the complex interrelationships of “planetary health”? What concrete concepts are there for climate-friendly practices, hospitals and towns and a sustainable healthcare system, and how can we measure the effects? What can the EbM of the future look like? In Potsdam, a center of climate research, and in a hybrid congress format, we would like to address this range of issues in collaboration with climate researchers, representatives from the WHO and politics, and activists. The founding of the working group Climate Change and Health in the EbM network is a first step and the group will be actively involved in preparing the annual conference.