As we closed out the tumultuous year that was 2021, it was truly a joy for the Nova Institute to co-sponsor inVIVO Planetary Health’s 10th annual conference, and the theme of “From Healing to Flourishing” couldn’t have felt more timely. Held virtually for the second time, the gathering treated participants to more than 160 inspiring talks from scholars, artists, activists, scientists, researchers, health professionals, children, and more (see the program and bios here).
Presenters spanned disciplines — and the globe itself — as they explored health and flourishing along every link in the person, place, and planet continuum. Nine roughly two-hour sessions centered around different focus areas featuring short, engaging video presentations, with participants and presenters alike engaging in “live” meaningful discussion at the end.
Through monthly blog posts, starting with this one, we invite you to “dip your toes” into the richness of the inVIVO conference as we present some highlights (note: with so many terrific presentations, it wasn’t easy to choose which ones to feature!).
We begin first with a short introduction to the conference that blends visuals and ideas to convey the urgency of our need to work together to make a cultural shift, and how, in an era of so many interconnected challenges, there could not be a more important time for new narratives and ambitious, integrative approaches.
Next, Nova Scholar Susan Prescott, President and Director of inVIVO, sets the stage for the conference through “Foundations for Flourishing,” discussing how collaborations like this event provide connections to heal, as well as imagining new ways of being and the importance of making connections to art — and even talking about “love” (a concept you’ll hear about more than once at the conference).
Internationally renowned thought leader, strategist, policymaker, and environmental justice activist Mustafa Santiago Ali delivers a powerful keynote address in “Changing the Climate from Surviving to Thriving.” Ali says in this transformational moment, we have the opportunity to learn from the past and create foundational, systemic change as we move forward together.
Cairo University’s Mona El-Sherbini takes a trip around the world to share the investigative work of the Africa Community of Planetary Partners for Health & Environment (ACOPPHE) in “A Planetary Health Perspective on Traditional Medicine.”
ACOPPHE examines and promotes African and Latin American indigenous knowledge, while calling for action about the impact of climate change on the biodiversity essential for herbal medicine. They hope to increase science translation for the “decolonization of knowledge and demarginalization of traditional medicine.”
In “As Within, So Without,” Blake Poland from the University of Toronto re-frames sustainability as a relationship problem and posits that perhaps our climate crisis can’t be solved through technology, political will, or imagination alone. As is true for improving any relationship (even in parenting!), addressing sustainability may also require a “change of heart,” and fixing the world “out there” requires us to do the necessary inner work.
Heeding a call to action, outspoken advocate of treaty and aboriginal rights and Dene Elder Francois Paulette shares an impassioned call to attendees to “Rise!” together to save the planet, with his powerful message intertwined with gorgeous images from photographer Pierre-Emmanuel Chaillon.