The COVID-19 pandemic brought about worldwide disruption. As societies tentatively begin to reopen, the pandemic holds lessons for how the world faces another globally existential threat, the climate crisis.
Our environment and health are closely intertwined, and we must equip future generations with adaptive capacities to achieve sustainable human wellbeing on all fronts. One such environment is our chemical one, present in the products we use, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Human biomonitoring - a scientific technique that allows us to assess whether and to what extent environmental substances have entered our bodies and how exposure may be changing over time - is a useful public health surveillance tool with which the real-life burden of exposure to chemicals can be assessed.
Communication between our gut and our brain is a two-way street. A large part of the signals being sent from our intestines to our brain is thanks to the bacteria living inside us, our microbiome. Our gut microbes have been linked to anxiety and depression, and research is underway to see whether we can manipulate our bacterial populations to benefit our mental health.
Every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic waste enters the oceans. Plastic pollution is so ubiquitous that scientists have coined a new term for the marine environment: the plastisphere.