The field of allergy has long understood that ecological changes directly affect health – allergic conditions are sentinel measures of the impact of the environment on human health, especially in early life, and compromised immune development creates a greater predisposition to inflammatory non-communicable diseases. The consequences of adverse environmental effects, due to urbanization, lifestyle behaviors, industry, socioeconomic factors, and more, penetrate and disrupt the molecular foundation of all ecosystems.
Finding solutions to these grand challenges from a planetary health viewpoint recognizes the bond between humans and the planet and both the personal lifestyle choices and the collective structural changes needed to restore symbiosis and balance across all scales, from the individual to the community to the planet. Additionally, exposome science, which examines the accumulation of environmental exposures and related changes to health and well-being, can inform policies and practices to promote human flourishing, biodiversity, and enduring natural environments.
These are not new ideas – the inherent connection between people and nature inform the foundations and spiritual beliefs of indigenous peoples across the world. Ultimately, we must place greater value on the cultural and psychological dimensions to find ecologically meaningful and sustainable solutions including mindfulness, moral wisdom, critical research, and clinical care oriented toward individual and communal flourishing.
Read Exiting the Anthropocene: Achieving Personal and Planetary Health in the 21st Century in Allergy by Nova Scholars Susan Prescott and Sara Warber, President Brian Berman, Fellow Alan Logan, friends Blake Poland, Nicole Redvers, Trevor Hancock, and colleagues
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