Elinor Ostrom’s 8 polycentric, subsidiarity, hierarchical, coherently-inclusive rule-making and governance-principles can be life-grounded and connected to planetary and population health via life-value guided-principles and strategies as illustrated here.
The 2008 financial crisis spread from Wall Street to the world almost overnight, threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions, even though its causes had nothing to do with the production and distribution of any of the basic necessities of life. Instead, the crisis erupted because the financial system had become unhinged from its real function: supplying credit to productive enterprises. Finance capital increasingly made its money from complex “derivatives,” which are not claims on a company’s proﬁt (as shares are) but on debts packaged and sold as investments. Immense profits were made, which provided the incentive to create more derivatives, causing debts to be piled on debts, all sold with guaranteed returns. Many of these derivatives involved American mortgages. Since these were backed by a physical asset (the house), they were advertised to institutional investors as highly secure, but the models assumed that housing prices would continue to rise. As it turned out, the housing market was a bad-mortgage fuelled bubble. When it burst, the “mortgage backed securities” became worthless, and banks from Athens to Iceland collapsed. Instead of having to foot the bill for their recklessness and greed, major banks were bailed out with hundreds of billions of dollars of public money. Workers lost their jobs, housings, and savings; Wall Street bankers paid themselves bonuses for the greatest failure of the financial system since 1929.
Most of human history and prehistory was lived in economic poverty but with social and ecological wealth, both of which are diminishing as commodification takes over most everything. Human moral wealth has also deteriorated. Because humans are biosocially, dynamically, and epigenetically shaped, early experience is key for developing one’s moral capital. When early experience is species-atypical, meaning that it falls outside the evolved developmental niche (EDN), which is often the case in modern societies, biopsychosocial moral development is undermined, shifting one’s nature and worldview to self-protectionism. Individuals develop into self-regarding shadows of their potential selves, exhibiting threat-reactive moral mindsets that promote unjust treatment of other humans and nonhumans. Humanity’s moral wealth can be re-cultivated by taking up what indigenous people all over the world know: that a good life, a virtuous life, is a one that is led by a well-cultivated heart, embodied in action that includes partnership with nonhumans. Moral educators can help students to revamp their capacities with self-calming skills, the development of social pleasure and communal ecological imagination.
Why does the sun shine? A random result of coalescing gases igniting nuclear fusion? Or is it in order to give its light and warmth to Life? Why does the rain fall? Is it the senseless product of blind chemical processes of evaporation and condensation? Or is it to water life? Why do you seek to pour forth your song? Is it to show off your genetic fitness to attract a mate, or is it to contribute to a more beautiful world? We may fear those first answers but it is the second that carries the ring of truth. Read More
This essay was delivered as a commencement address at the University of California–Berkeley School of Public Health on May 17, 2015. Reflecting on events spanning from 1990 to 1999 to 2015, when I gave my first, second, and third commencement talks at the school, I discuss four notable features of our present era and offer five insights for ensuring that health equity be the guiding star to orient us all. The four notable features are: (1) growing recognition of the planetary emergency of global climate change; (2) almost daily headlines about armed conflicts and atrocities; (3) growing public awareness of and debate about epic levels of income and wealth inequalities; and (4) growing activism about police killings and, more broadly, “Black Lives Matter.” The five insights are: (1) public health is a public good, not a commodity; (2) the “tragedy of the commons” is a canard; the lack of a common good is what ails us; (3) good science is not enough, and bad science is harmful; (4) good evidence—however vital—is not enough to change the world; and (5) history is vital, because we live our history, embodied. Our goal: a just and sustainable world in which we and every being on this planet may truly thrive.
There are lots of things coming together, economic crises, ecological crises, social crises. My friend and mentor Fritjof Capra once said if you follow the rivers of these crises upstream, you meet a crises of consciousness, a crises of perception. A crises of how we see our selves and our role in this living planet. Read More
The term planetary health—denoting the interdependence between human health and place at all scales—emerged from the environmental and preventive health movements of the 1970–80s; in 1980, Friends of the Earth expanded the World Health Organization definition of health, stating: “health is a state of complete physical, mental, social and ecological well-being and not merely the absence of disease—personal health involves planetary health”. Planetary health is not a new discipline; it is an extension of a concept understood by our ancestors, and remains the vocation of multiple disciplines. Planetary health, inseparably bonded to human health, is formally defined by the inVIVO Planetary Health network as the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic ecosystems (social, political and otherwise). Here, we provide the historical background and philosophies that have guided the network, and summarize the major themes that emerged at the 7th inVIVO meeting in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. We also provide the Canmore Declaration, a Statement of Principles for Planetary Health. This consensus statement, framed by representative participants, expands upon the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and affirms the urgent need to consider the health of people, places and the planet as indistinguishable. Read More
The Liturgy of the Word in Church today connected more dots of meaning and understanding to all life than I could have imagined. It has implications for all of us as many of us proclaim in our Constitutions to be One Nation under God and lose sight of the Primary Axiom of our Faith that has been revealed to us in our Judeo-Christian Scriptures. The epiphany which I had in church today was that the Primary Axiom of my Faith resonated very well without conflict and contradiction with the Primary Axiom of Life-Value which has become the cognitive engine of my life-grounded spiritual growth and development. And what I have grown to realize, from this life-grounded lens, is that the Word of God is in truth and in fact infallible, but where we fall short and become fallible is in the interpretation of this Word and its application to the embodied flowerings of all of our felt side of being, thoughts and actions as manifested in all of our life’s beings, becomings and doings. Read More
IN RECENT years a major transformation in the understanding of health and disease has taken place. The emphasis has shifted from a simplistic, reductionist cause-and-effect view of the medical model to a complex, holistic, interactive, hierarchic systems view known as an ecologic model. That shift may be so profound as to constitute a paradigm shift or a change in the collective mind set and world view regarding what the rules are and what is possible.1
An ecologic model of human health is consistent with the broad field of human ecology, which is “the study of the interactions of man and human society with the environment. It is concerned with the philosophy and quality of life in relation to the development of biological and geological resources, of urban and rural settlements, of industry and technology and of education and culture.”2(p1)
To paraphrase Pierre Dansereau,3 human ecology is the study of the issues that lie at the intersection of environment and culture. Public health lies within the broad field of human ecology.4 A public health model of the human ecosystem, such as the one that follows, helps greatly to clarify the interaction of culture with environment within the context of the holistic, interactive, and hierarchic nature of health. Read More
“The Rookie Off the Bench Saves the Day!
Listen in to Brent Wisner’s moving story of how freak accidents to Lee Johnson’s attorneys landed Wisner in charge of this epic high-stakes trial just two weeks before it started. Discover the dramatic events leading up to the historic verdict.
Monsanto’s HUGE Mistake: How we got the secret Monsanto Papers
This video reveals the courtroom drama of how The Monsanto Papers — their internal corporate documents — were exposed during the trial and then released to the public. Watch this moving tale of one attorney’s courage as he risks his law license and reputation to pierce Monsanto’s veil of corporate deceit and manipulation. Please note: this video occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children).
Monsanto’s Shocking Disregard for Science and Truth
In this interview, Wisner outlines Monsanto’s shocking manipulation and willful disregard of scientific evidence which proves the harm caused by Roundup. This video goes deep into the science of GMOs and pesticides, with Jeffrey Smith mining his decades of experience and Brent bringing his deep understanding gained from his trial research and preparation.
The Most Dramatic (and Pivotal) Day of the Trial
This highly personal and riveting interview recounts Lee Johnson’s heroic testimony, and its winning impact on the jury, as well as the testimony of his wife and physician. Wisner also provides the insider information that just the day before Johnson’s testimony, his team was gravely concerned about the outcome of the trial.
Guilty! Monsanto Acted with Malice
In this interview, Wisner outlines Monsanto’s malice and blatant disregard for human safety as demonstrated in their own documents and even in their statements and behavior during the trial. Wisner explains how this evidence provided the basis for the enormous punitive damages award. Despite the recent reduction in Johnson’s award, the judge upheld the verdict that Monsanto was acting with malice. Click here to view court documents and transcripts from this trial from Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman.” Read More