Philipp Lachenmann: DELPHI Rationale


Air, Water, Soil, Life – Earth and Environmental Sciences Research for Our Health

On September 27, 2011, the GeoUnion Alfred Wegener Foundation presented new Earth science findings in health research at an interdisciplinary conference at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. As part of the “Science Year 2011 – Research for Our Health,” it seeked to create awareness for the various ways that our environment impacts on our health.

Air Water Soil Life

The Earth sciences (geosciences) focus on people’s natural resources in both the terrestrial and marine areas of our planet: energy and resources, atmosphere and climate, water, soil, and the biosphere. Works on biodiversity, threats to ecosystems, damages to the environment and people’s health play a major role in basic research and applied science. In this context, the geosciences examine, among other things, the existence of pollutants and their distribution. They develop strategies to avert or protect against these dangers and thus provide important insights for health research. The conference will present several particularly interesting examples of health research in a variety of geoscientific disciplines.

In short lectures and discussions, researchers talked about their findings in meteorology, hydrology, geology, soil science, health geography and environmental research that are closely related to human health: The “Air” section focussed on air pollutants, pollen flight, heat and other climate-related health risks. “Water” dealed with drugs, arsenic and other drinking water pollutants and the protection of groundwater and drinking water (including in developing countries). The “Soil” section examined soil as a source of pollutants and the importance of soils for human health. Finally, the conference explored potential health consequences of climate change.

The Ernst Schering Foundation supported the project because it promotes the dialogue between science and society: By bringing together various scientific disciplines around the issue of health, the conference explained and communicated to the public the important contributions they make to researching the connections between our environment and our health.

The conference program is available here.
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