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Healthy Planet, Healthy People – Lobby Lab

Organisation Healthy Trinity, Trinity College Dublin
Date 29th March 2023 09:00 AM (GMT)

This will be four 10 minute presentations followed by a discussion of approx. 40 minutes. All are welcome, students, staff and the general public


Humans are consuming too many of the planet’s resources and some of this consumption is detrimental to human health. For example:

– Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year globally and harms the environment through deforestation, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, air pollution and waste. In 2018, the latest year in for which data are available, global tobacco profits were €55 billion which is more than the combined profits of for example Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Nestle, Mondelez, Fedex, General Mills, Starbucks, Heineken, and Carlsberg. The tobacco industry is also promoting e-cigarettes and the legalisation of cannabis.

– The harmful use of alcohol results in 3 million deaths worldwide per annum and causes harm to the environment through water consumption, waste production and increased carbon footprint. The global alcoholic drinks market is estimated to be US$1,5 billion in 2022.

– Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are foods that have been processed using advanced food manufacturing like extrusion, hydrogenation, hydrolysis and sensory-enhancing processes such as bulking, aerating and foaming e.g. Pringles. Processed food may have been subjected to techniques such as freezing and drying to preserve their shelf-life e.g. a tin of fish. Unprocessed foods have little to no intervention e.g. a bag of potatoes. UPFs contribute to obesity, diabetes, cancer and other health problems as well as having a significant and often overlooked detrimental effect on biodiversity.

Legislative Actions to Limit Harm to Humans

Actions are underway to limit the human and environmental harms of tobacco, alcohol and UPFs. For example, tobacco is controlled using the MPOWER model to achieve reductions in smoking like those pictured (right). Alcohol sales are subject to Minimum Unit Pricing and the food industry is subject to a voluntary code of conduct on reformulation. Are these legislative actions enough, in the face of a biodiversity and climate crisis?

In speaking about the biodiversity and climate crisis, the Director General of the World Health Organisation Margaret Chan said, “we have solutions, what’s needed is decisive action.”


This event aims to review legislation that has been put in place to date to limit consumption of products that harm human health and to explore how consumption should be further limited, to protect the health of the planet.


1. To host a presentation with Trinity academics working in the areas of tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods that:

a. Shows the harms to the planet and people of consuming tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods

b. Shows actions taken nationally/internationally to limit tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods.

2. To facilitate a problem solving and networking session at which presenters and participants develop ideas about decisive action needed to limit tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed foods

3. To produce a review and plan that can be considered in the development of the Trinity Sustainability Strategy (Climate Action and Biodiversity).

Location: House 5 Department of Music, Trinity College Dublin College Street Regent House South-East Inner City Ireland

Admission is free and can be booked online.

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