#rp24 speaker Eckart von Hirschhausen: Healthy humans only exist on a healthy planet

02.02.2024 - Eckart von Hirschhausen talks about planetary health and the subversive power of images, metaphors and humour at re:publica 24.
Eckart von Hirschhausen trägt ein Hemd und ein Jackett
Photo Credit
Dominik Butzmann

At #rp24, Eckart von Hirschhausen will take us on a journey from personal to planetary health and back. The trained physician and science journalist is convinced: "We could have a better life than we do now. And a healthier one."

Eckhart von Hirschhausen is a physician, author, TV host and cabaret artist. With his Gesunde Erde – Gesunde Menschen (Healthy Planet – Healthy People) foundation, he is committed to creating the necessary change to positively counter the climate crisis as the greatest health threat of the 21st century with the means of science, communication, art and intergenerational networking.

What to do with the climate if it is not merely a topic – but a dimension of our very existence? How do entertainment TV and the survival of humanity as well as relevance and “fun” fit together? In order to respond to the climate crisis, we need fewer catastrophe reports and more images, metaphors and humour. At #rp24, Eckart will talk about the subversive power of the latter and show some examples and perspectives from public broadcasters, private broadcasters, Youtubers and the “Institut für konstruktiven Journalismus” (Institute for Constructive Journalism).

Eckart von Hirschhausen's talent is undoubtedly his ability to convey content in a humorous manner on television, as a non-fiction author or as a keynote speaker. He has published numerous books and articles on the subject of climate and health protection, such as "Mensch, Erde! Wir könnten es so schön haben" (Man, Earth!) or "Als ich mich auf den Weg machte, die Erde zu retten" (When I set off to save Earth). He is also a presenter and show host for the German public-service broadcaster ARD and documentary-maker. Eckart is an honorary faculty member of the Charité, a member of the German society CLUB OF ROME e.V., and received, among others, the "Medienpreis der Umwelthilfe" (media prize of the Environmental Action Germany).

We look forward to his inspiring impulses on the topics of climate crisis, journalism and health on the #rp24 stage!



#WhoCares: An interview with Eckart von Hirschhausen.

The Motto of re:publica 24 is „Who Cares?“. Whom or what are you currently caring about?

It is difficult to save the world on a voluntary basis when others are destroying it full-time. That's why I'm focusing on my Gesunde Erde – Gesunde Menschen (Healthy Planet – Healthy People) foundation. We need more professionals and networking. The lobby of the past is well organised, but who will join the lobby of the future?

What do we care about too little as a society?

About our livelihoods. Human health doesn't start with a pill or medical treatment, but with the air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants we eat, tolerable temperatures and peaceful coexistence.

Is there a person, movement or institution that inspires you in their care for a particular issue? Or maybe a book, article or podcast that inspired you recently?

My encounter with Jane Goodall was formative for me. I met her for an interview at the German Sustainability Award, and this 89-year-old lady is one of the most charismatic people I have ever met. She went into the jungle as a young woman and revolutionised our understanding of great apes. Today she is the world's best-known environmental activist. She asked me a very simple question: "If humans are the most intelligent species on the planet, why are they destroying their own habitat?" This question made me swallow and showed me most emphatically that we must act.