Human and Planetary Health

Human health and the health of our planet are inextricably linked. So says the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also states that “our civilisation depends on human health, flourishing natural systems, and the wise stewardship of natural resources”.

Both human and planetary health are highly complex and adaptive systems. Integrative Healthcare offers a lens through which we can understand a meaningful connection between the two that includes, but goes beyond, the impact of climate change on our health or the impact of big pharma and conventional healthcare systems on the environment.

The Integrative Healthcare model is a whole-person approach – recognising that mind, body and spirit all play a part in our health and wellbeing. Integrative Healthcare also acknowledges that we are part of nature and not separate from it.

Cultivating deeper connections to the natural world undoubtedly brings improvements to physical and mental health. Being in nature benefits our immune system, reduces inflammation, helps us to relax, lifts our mood, inspires creativity and imagination. In short, it helps us tune into our mind, body and spirit.

We also learn a great deal from nature – especially about strength and resilience, energy and vitality, rest and rejuvenation, life and death.

In the same way that the planet nurtures and sustains us, we need to nurture and sustain it. Our health depends on it! When we feel more connected to nature we can make thoughtful decisions about what, and how, we consume so that we can care for and respect our environment.

The climate crisis is one that is urgent and feels overwhelming. The wisdom of a whole person healthcare system offers us a way to look at problems and find solutions both to what we are experiencing (human ill-health) and to what we may be causing (planetary ill-health).

We’ll be exploring the topic of human and planetary health at our next one-day Integrative Healthcare Forum on 6 May – see here for more details. We have such a great programme and line up of speakers and we’d love to see you there!