Connecting environment, nutrition and health
Humanity faces profound questions over how our planet can sustain and feed 9 billion people by 2050. There is a global nutrition crisis, with a dual problem of hunger and obesity. Meanwhile, climate change has major implications for global health and nutrition - with impacts on food security, access to clean water and sanitation, population migration and the threat of an increased number of natural disasters.
Understanding the complexity of risk factors and the elements that influence lifestyle decisions will be key to improving public health. The public must also be effectively engaged if there is to be a fundamental shift in behaviour at individual and population levels.
In this short interview for Wellcome Trust, Sir David Attenborough discusses some of the most pressing issues facing the environment, humanity's future and how we might address those challenges.
Running time: 6 mins 56 s
Click through our image gallery for some images relating to environment, nutrition and health.
Cloud formation at the start of rainy season in Benin. Credit: Swiss Tropical Institute, Wellcome Images
Examples of our funding
This is an emerging challenge for the Trust and we will be developing our response to it over the next ten years. The following illustrates the work we have funded with relevance to this challenge.
Our funding is supporting research into the biology behind appetite and obesity. The Seeding Drug Discovery initiative has funded the trials of drugs based on pancreatic polypeptide as an appetite suppressant and researchers have discovered that the loss of a key segment of DNA can lead to severe childhood obesity.
We are supporting research that will improve the evidence base to inform policy and address the health consequences of climate change. Our funding helped an international team of researchers model the effects on health of different policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in high- and low- income countries.
Research to examine the interdependence between humans, animals, microbes and their environment is vital to understand the complex relationship between risk factors and health consequences. The Insect Pollinators Initiative will lead to a better understanding of the threats to insect pollinators and our funding for the Millennium Seed Bank (Kew) is helping to conserve worldwide flora, many of which have medicinal qualities.