"In calling to mind the figure of Saint Francis of Assisi, we come to realize that a healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion, which entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures, and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change (Laudato Si 218").
Planetary health has been defined as “the health of human civilization and the state of the natural systems on which it depends”1. The Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) is a consortium of universities, NGOs and other partners with a shared mission—supporting the growth of a rigorous, policy-focused, transdisciplinary field of applied research aimed at understanding and addressing the human health implications of accelerating anthropogenic change in the structure and function of Earth’s natural systems.
"With unplanned but powerful convergence, Pope Francis released his “On Care for Our Common Home” encyclical on environment and health around the same time (Francis 2015)."2
Initiatives of the Order of Camillians, Superior General Fr. Leocir Pessini (1995-2019)
‘To reach a state of planetary health a new vision will be needed of how we define our place on the planet. A new narrative will reject the consumerist dogma – which sees the achievement of happiness as being through an infinite race to purchase – and embraces the values that we all know. What makes us truly happy is the time that we spend with the people that we love, being connected and belonging to a specific place and community, feeling ourselves connected to something greater than ourselves and taking care of each other’. We need add nothing else than to admire and revere this vision of ‘science with wisdom’ and say ‘let it be so’! We have before us an urgent moment when we should begin to be constructive actors of another possible world, with our innovative activity involving responsible care for life and human and planetary health! This is the ethical moral imperative of everyone – without exceptions.(Father Leocir Pessini, Superior General of the Order of Camillians 2018)
Human health depends on the health of the planet. Earths natural systems;the air, the water, the biodiversity, the climate are our life support systems. Yet climate change, biodiversity loss, scarcity of land and freshwater, pollution and other threats are degrading these systems. The emerging field of planetary health aims to understand how these changes threaten our health and how to protect ourselves and the rest of the biosphere.
Together with the international Academy of Science, Munich the Francis of Assisi Academy realized a research project (1995-1999) concerning education, capacity building and epistemology of Terra Medicine at the Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, which is an early and similar approach to Planetary Health /Geohealth.3
Laudato Si and Health: Catholic Health Association of the United States
1. Lancet-Report: Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health. Sarah Whitmee, Andy Haines, Chris Beyrer, Frederick Boltz, Anthony G Capon, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Alex Ezeh, Howard Frumkin, Peng Gong, Peter Head, Richard Horton, Georgina M Mace, Robert Marten, Samuel S Myers, Sania Nishtar, Steven A Osofsky, Subhrendu K Pattanayak, Montira J Pongsiri, Cristina Romanelli, Agnes Soucat, Jeanette Vega, Derek Yach; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60901-1; The Lancet, Vol. 386, No. 10007 (PDF)
2. Almada, A. A., C. D. Golden, S. A. Osofsky, and S. S. Myers (2017), A case for Planetary Health/GeoHealth, GeoHealth, 1, doi:10.1002/2017GH000084.
3. Stappen, R.K., Terramedizin und Master for Sustainable Development - Zwei Konzepte für innovative Modellstudiengänge, Stadt Güstrow: Konferenz Güstrow 2000 (ISBN 3-00-007218-7), 283-285