In the United States human health has traditionally been viewed in isolation from its ecological context. During my medical training and subsequent career in Emergency Medicine, issues such as climate change, habitat destruction, species extinction, pollution and the depletion of fresh water supplies were treated as primarily environmental issues lying outside the realm of the medical industry. Equity has been seen as a primarily political, economic and social issue. Sustainability was rarely considered.
I believe this view must be changed and that not only physicians, but all Americans, have a responsibility to effect this change. Achieving health requires that we address all these elements in an integrated, ecological approach. Our goal should to be “healthy people, living in equitable and sustainable societies, in balance with the natural world”. Ignoring any of these elements has profound and unacceptable consequences.
Few people have anticipated these consequences better than my biology professor at … Read More