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Nature Reflecting on Crystal Glass

Our Awakening

Around the globe, people are awakening to our shared environmental crises. We recognize that the planet’s life support systems are in jeopardy and that the health and well-being of current and future generations are threatened. We are experiencing a Great Transition.  Humanity is starting to reconsider our ways of living that cause harm to Nature; away from extraction of the world’s resources and a movement towards restoration and regeneration. The Planetary Health social movement defines Planetary Health as “a solutions-oriented, transdisciplinary field and social movement focused on analyzing and addressing the impacts of human disruptions to Earth’s natural systems on human health and all life on Earth (Planetary Health Alliance, n.d., What is Planetary Health?).

The Spirit of Nursing

 

 

The earth trembles and cries

My L’nu heart opens and hears the call

 

                                                Go back to sleep I say

 

The Ancestors and the Spirit of Nursing whisper you can do this.

There are important Truths Nurses Know

 

                                                They will never listen I say

 

My heart sings the Ancestral Knowledge and drums fiercely a beat that beckons us to take action

 

There is no response

 

I open my mouth to speak from my L’nu heart and nothing comes out…

 

How can they not hear this?? I feel harmed, erased and rendered invisible.

 

I wrap my tender heart as they are murmuring maybe tomorrow they will be ready.

 

The spirit of Nursing rocks my heart like a newborn baby whispers hush and reassures

 

The times is coming

 they will hear you

 We are ready

 

                                                I think maybe you are right I say

 

Mother Earth sighs and prepares to dream.

 

 

-De-Ann Sheppard

Hiking Trail

Our Guides

Sao Paulo Declaration

The Sao Paulo Declaration for Planetary Health (Planetary Health Alliance, 2021) is a global transdisciplinary proclamation that promotes a shared vision for a viable future. The Declaration states:

We need a fundamental shift in how we live on Earth, what we are calling the Great Transition.  Achieving the Great Transition will require rapid and deep structural changes across most dimensions of human activity… It will also require rethinking our values and relationship with Nature and to each other from human exceptionalism, domination, and scarcity to interdependence, equity, and regeneration” (p. 3). 

Our Planet &

Shared Humanity

Our planet and shared humanity urgently need us to unite for planetary health, equity, and justice. Planetary health is a key determinant of human health and survival. But many humans have for too long upheld the “logics” of capitalist, extractive, unjust systems that prioritize individual gains over the collective. These logics are destroying Nature, Indigenous and Earth-based populations, wisdoms, and our future. As a result, these disruptions of Earth’s social and natural systems now threaten our collective future in global health.

Many nurses are surrounded by these logics, but they are invisible to us, like the air we breathe. Many of us are working in ‘care’ institutions that are not in service to the health and well-being of our communities. These institutions have barriers to equitable access. They are siloed, geographically inconvenient, illness-focused, capitalist; invested in alienated and hierarchical ways of knowing; and permeated by gender, racial, economic, sexual inequities, and supremacies.

 

Many of these systems are unconcerned about the health of Nature and the planet, our more-than-human relations, and our wider ecologies. These systems are in denial of powerful determinants of health: legacies of colonialism (WHO, 2023) and spiritual heartbreak, distancing from the Indigenous, Earth-and-spirit-based nursing traditions that are the birthplaces, homes, and perpetual springs of planetary health. Many of us live and work in these systems, witnessing and bearing the brunt of the inequities and injustices.  At the same time, we intuitively believe this is wrong, but we do not always know how to begin making it right.

Planetary Health Education Framework

The Planetary Health Education Framework (Faerron Guzman & Potter, 2021) calls for global transdisciplinary education on the principles of Planetary Health. This curriculum includes five interconnected domains to promote transdisciplinary collaboration. It provides a shared language and understanding for all disciplines.

For nurses to co-create the Great Transition, we must be fluent in the transdisciplinary language of the five Planetary Health Education Framework domains. Nursing attention, intention, and action are essential for the Great Transition and the restoration and regeneration of planetary health and well-being.

Nursing Knowledge

We number approximately 28 million nurses and midwives globally (World Health Organization, 2022), and we all play vital roles in the lives of many on our planet. As nurses, we accompany humans through birth, health, illness, and death.  We dedicate our lives to having the knowledge, compassion, and skills necessary to promote health and well-being, prevent and reduce suffering in illness, and support / guide the healing necessary for individuals, families, and communities. We do this through nursing practice, education, advocacy, research/scholarship, and showing up in both our leadership and our followership. We are dedicated to lifelong learning, promoting equity and fairness, social and environmental justice, deep listening, understanding systems and complexity, caring presence, and restorative protective energies. 

At the heart of our nursing knowledge are the foundational values that center on the collective health and relational ethics of love, care, and compassion, which shape what it means to be a nurse. As nurses, we are grounded in this way of knowing, being, and doing, and through this, we build bridges and map paths for healing, hope, and resilience. We are knowledge navigators and connectors moving in and through health systems, communities, and beyond. We carry the necessary stories, and we are powerful advocates for health equity, health promotion, and justice. Because of this, we are essential partners in growing planetary health and well-being.

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