Health: From the Personal to the Planetary

When we think about “health,” our minds often hone in on physical-health vitals: blood pressure, temperature, heart rate. But just as our bodies have cycles and systems that require care, our minds, communities, and planet have nuances and rhythms that benefit from direction and protection. Paying mind to the health of the broader world around us can help us care for the health of the world within us, and vice versa.

At Bioneers, we have since our inception insisted on the fact that personal health is inextricably linked to the health and vitality of our ecosystems, communities, and larger societies, something we expressed in one of our very first Bioneers books in 2004, Ecological Medicine: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves.

The ideas and stories below touch on health as it applies to the micro as well as the macro, featuring Daily Acts Founder Trathen Heckman, planetary health scientist Samuel Myers, and medical professor and Faculty Director of the Do No Harm Coalition Rupa Marya.

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Trathen Heckman on Hope, Heartbreak & How Inner Work Can Change the World

“It’s easy for people to be aware of an overwhelming array of problems across the planet. But where we should spend most of our time is in our circle of influence. When we do this, we build power, skill, confidence, connections, and momentum to influence bigger things. When you have a really strong compass and set of personal practices and focus on the things you can positively influence, you are able to hold more of the hurt, confusion, and complexity that come with seeking to affect wider collective change. To transform bigger systems, the awareness and beliefs or paradigm of the people in those systems must change, and this starts with us. It’s an important link between personal and community transformation.” 

Read our conversation with Trathen.

Take Heart Take Action: Deepening into Self and Community

“Near thirty years into finding and living my inspiration and supporting this in others as a vehicle for bigger change, there is no way to overstate the importance of developing a daily self-renewal practice. Living in a time of rapid change, our physical and mental health is under enormous daily strain. From constant work and technological inundation to the toxic barrage of chemicals in everything, we are not equipped or skilled to stay healthy and sane, let alone contribute our best. It’s tough for many to get through the day, let alone find and stick to routines that help us hear and embody our light and insights.”

In Take Heart, Take Action, Daily Acts Founder Trathen Heckman shares how to be a catalyst for significant positive change.

Read an excerpt from the book.

Samuel Myers, MD – Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves

Samuel Myers, a leading figure in the study of the impacts on human health of the accelerating disruptions to Earth’s natural systems, shares the guiding principles and implications of this newly emergent, rapidly growing field, recently dubbed “Planetary Health.” Every dimension of human health and well-being is under threat from our ongoing degradation of Earth’s life-support systems. Planetary Health research is providing rigorous evidence that urgently stabilizing our planet’s natural systems is essential if we are going to have any chance of safeguarding a livable future for humanity. Dr. Myers explains the goals and work of the broad global coalitions around The Planetary Health Alliance (of which he is the founding director) coming together to drive home the inextricable links between human and environmental health and to develop policies and actions to protect our biosphere.

Watch the presentation.

Social Medicine: Restoring Public Health by Changing Society | Dr. Rupa Marya

We are told that our personal health is our individual responsibility based on our own choices. Yet, the biological truth is that human health is dependent upon the health of nature’s ecosystems and our social structures. Decisions that negatively affect these larger systems and eventually affect us are made without our consent as citizens and, often, without our knowledge. Dr. Rupa Marya, Associate Professor of Medicine at UC San Francisco, and Faculty Director of the Do No Harm Coalition, says “social medicine” means dismantling harmful social structures that directly lead to poor health outcomes, and building new structures that promote health and healing.

Listen to the podcast episode.

EVENT: Better Balance: Imagining equity among humanity and the natural world

Leading environmental and social activists, Bioneers Co-Founder Nina Simons, Nalleli Cobo, Lyla June, and Jerry Tello, consider balance, or lack thereof, between humanity and nature; wealth and health; profit and the environment and how the themes depicted in World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear can be utilized as a catalyst for social change.

This free event takes place on December 4 in Los Angeles. 

Learn more.

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