Originally from Germany, Andrea worked in journalism before starting a career in marketing, working with start-up businesses. Becoming increasingly concerned about our natural world, when the pandemic hit, she researched more about sustainability issues and solutions and discovered VU’s Graduate Certificate in Planetary Health.
“I've always spent a lot of time in nature. I grew up around horses and horse riding. Since I moved to Australia, I really got into bush walking, mountain biking and all these things.
Over time, I had an increased awareness and concern of what's happening in the world and with our planet. I was working in a start-up and I was seeing interesting sustainability solutions coming out of that area of industry.
Then the pandemic hit, and I read an article about planetary health as an academic field. I always thought about these issues in terms of sustainability and circular economy and some of the other terms that are around in that space. But I had never heard of planetary health.
I did research to find out if there were any degrees in this kind of thing. I came across the graduate certificate at Victoria University. It seemed like a great opportunity because it was short and would let me dive deeper into this whole area and get a more solid foundation.
I really liked was the really considered approach of the course. It takes into account all the different stakeholders that are affected by the solutions you are coming up with.
Coming from a small business environment, I knew how to make fast decisions and solve problems quickly. I learned in the course about the different layers of decisions so you make to avoid any kind of unintended consequences in things that you pursue.
I really liked the place-based focus of the course. The focus on Indigenous Australians and how to start working alongside Indigenous Australians on equitable solutions.
We students were from all diverse career backgrounds. There were people from infrastructure, transport, built environment, and people with academic research background.
We also learnt from guest speakers from different backgrounds. One speaker was from the nuclear alliance. He won the Noble Peace Prize for nuclear disarmament work and lobbying. That was a highlight.
I think the course is well-suited for someone at a graduate level to study. You have people coming with their expertise, and how they can apply to whatever the task is. I liked that and it brought diverse topics into the conversation and broadened our horizons in the process.”
Leaders in planetary health
Planetary health addresses the relationship between the health of people, place and planet, and how each profoundly impacts the other. – through research, teaching and community engagement – was formally recognised through membership with the Planetary Health Alliance, and a ranking of #1 in Victoria for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2020).