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Our Invitation

Set an intention. We invite you to consider yourself a co-partner in planetary healing. We all live together in an interconnected world and the actions of each of us inspire others. Therefore, together, we solemnly pledge to dedicate our lives to the service of humanity, and to the protection and restoration of the natural systems on which humans and all other species who share our home depend.”  (Sao Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health, 2021, p. 3)

Nursing For Planetary Health & Well-Being

The five domains of the Planetary Health Education Framework provide nurses with an integrated, ecological, and spiritual-political approach to health, healing, and care – one that should be part of the Great Transition. Nursing for Planetary Health and Well-being puts each domain in conversation with the realities of nursing and considers how it might be applied in practice. In this introduction to our work, we share key connections to the theory that provide insight into our collective vision and shared values for Nursing for Planetary Health and Well-being. We close with an invitation to others and the global nursing community for deeper engagement with this vision and determining our collective action.

OUR PROCESS

To accomplish this transformation, we need to locate our work in this moment - the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is a working name for this geologic era when human behaviors leading to environmental contamination and destruction significantly impact the Earth’s natural systems. The Planetary Health Alliance and the Stockholm Resilience Center provide resources on how human-caused environmental destruction is stressing our planetary boundaries and threatening Nature's ability to support life.

We use and have chosen to apply the Two Loops Theory of Systems Change (Wheatley & Frieze, 2011) as the document's organizing structure and a narrative for how nurses engage in this larger paradigm shift toward Planetary Health and collective well-being. The original Two Loops theory draws insights from Nature, where living systems experience simultaneous growth and decline during the evolutionary transition (Fig. 1). For example, in gardening, we compost what is dying so that it may feed regeneration.

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Fig. 1     The Moment’s interpretation of The Berkana Institute’s Two-Loops Theory and Systems Change: https://www.themoment.is/how-change-happens/  Permission from the authors to use.

 

In the Two Loops Theory for systems change, the First Loop, which is collapsing in the context of planetary boundaries, represents “dominant” systems, social and structural patterns and values working from a “limitless growth” mentality (Daly, 2005). The loops are meant to be seen as occurring in multiples, not as one line/but as multiple systems and structures that are collapsing because they are unsustainable, extractive, destructive, oppressive, inherently unfair, and disproportionately benefit some over others. In this model, these systems in the First Loop have reached their peak and are inevitably collapsing.  At the same time, the Second Loop represents the systems and structures that are needed and are emerging.  These are inherently more just, sustainable, and responsible. They are being remembered and imagined, collaboratively co-created, and assembled as systems, structures, and sensibilities based on the values and ethics of responsibility, fairness, sustainability, and collective well-being.

Fig. 2 Figure from the N4PH core group retreat (our adaptation), January 2023

This Nursing for Planetary Health and Well-being adaptation (Fig 2) locates nursing and nurses in the Two Loops Framework. It is meant to narrate the stories of the systems and structures that nursing is moving in, which include our health systems, determinants of health, and planetary health. Nurses are located in the vertical center of the illustration, in both the collapsing arc of the First Loop (what Macy calls “the Great Unraveling” (2006)) and the emerging arc of the Second Loop.

It is frequently said that what sets nursing apart from other disciplines is that we care and put love into action. Perhaps nursing’s real power lies in the fact that we unapologetically care and embody Ksaltultinej (Mi’kmaw love as action) (Sheppard, 2020). We open our hearts and minds to the realization that all disciplines care and love, and it is time to activate that power globally.

 

Nursing for Planetary Health and Well-being issues a bold invitation to all disciplines. The Great Transition will require us to fearlessly co-create a better future through love and care. 

Love
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