The Planet Is Inflamed — And So Are We

As smoke from western megafires forces much of the country to remain indoors this summer, the relationship between environmental degradation, climate change and human health is increasingly clear and present. Recall David Suzuki’s memorable message from the Bioneers stage, “We are the environment, there is no distinction. What we are doing to our surroundings, we are doing directly to ourselves… You can’t draw a line and say the air ends here and I begin there. There is no line.”

At the same time, recent research by leading scholars and doctors points towards the health impact of racial discrimination, police violence and even the legacy of colonization. Taken together, the story is one of a human experience that should be seen as an integrated whole — and drives home the reality that our bodies, our communities and our biosphere are deeply entwined. 

This week, we highlight leaders who are making these integrated connections visible and offering essential next steps. 


As The World Burns | Rupa Marya

From a surge in mass uprisings in response to systemic racism, a rise in inflammatory illnesses like gastrointestinal disorders, and an increasing number of climate refugees – our bodies, society, and the planet are inflamed. Rupa Marya, physician, activist, and co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition, teams up with the New York Times bestselling author of The Value of Nothing, Raj Patel, to reveal the links between health and structural injustices. In this excerpt from their book, INFLAMED: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice, Dr. Marya calls for a diagnostic understanding of inflammation and offers a new deep medicine that can heal our bodies and our world.

Read more here.


Dr. Rupa Marya at the 2021 Bioneers Conference

Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF and Faculty Director of the Do No Harm Coalition, Dr. Rupa Marya is one of the nation’s leading figures working at the intersection of medicine and social justice. At the Bioneers Conference in November, Rupa’s keynote address, titled “Deep Medicine and the Care Revolution,” will draw from insights in science, medicine, and ecology and will outline why it is time for us all to join the Care Revolution.

Register here.


California Indian Genocide and Resilience

The point is that we started re-emerging out of the ashes, and I still believe we’re in the ashes phase. We are trying to shake loose out of this repressive historical traumatic experience and embrace our spirituality and the beauty of our spirituality, and the oneness that I heard spoken to today. It made me cry sitting in there. Everybody’s starting to get it. We are one.” – Tolowa culture-bearer and public school teacher, Loren Bommelyn

California Indians have survived some of the most extreme acts of genocide committed against Native Americans. In this historic conversation, four California Indian leaders share the stories of kidnappings, mass murders, and slavery that took place under Spanish, Mexican and American colonizations — and how today’s generation is dealing with the contemporary implications.

Watch here.


Public Health/Planetary Health/One Health

The current global pandemic has revealed stark structural injustices embedded deep in our society. Our approach to health has neglected the relationship between socio-economic conditions, planetary health, and public health. As a virus that was transmitted from non-human animals to humans has placed the entire world on high-alert and has disproportionately affected communities of color, it is time we reevaluate the relationship between planetary health and public health. In this Bioneers 2020 conversation moderated by J.P. Harpignies, two prominent leaders in the field of health –– William B. Karesh, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Health and Policy at EcoHealth Alliance, President of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) Working Group on Wildlife Diseases and Howard Frumkin, Professor Emeritus, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington School of Public Health –– discuss the inseparable connection between public health and planetary health. 

Watch here.


Ecological Medicine: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves | FREE eBook Download

Ecological medicine is a unifying field that embodies the recognition that human and environmental health are one notion, indivisible. In light of the pandemic, we’re releasing a FREE downloadable PDF of our 2004 Bioneers book: Ecological Medicine: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves, which could hardly be more relevant right now.

Download here.

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