To me, Planetary Health means integrating of all interdisciplinary knowledge towards the end of increasing the health of the planet, and in turn, the people. This needs to happen in a variety of arenas, from early childhood education, to science research and clinical practice, to government and policy change.
The most impactful learning in this section for me has been the recognition that the study of what we call “Planetary Health” today, which we view as a newly emerging field and practice, was already an inherent part of indigenous life and belief before the West colonized them. By colonizing native land and displacing native people, European settlers not only committed a horrible human-rights atrocity that irreparably changed the way the people lived and the way the land was managed; they also discarded the inherent knowledge of these people. It has taken the settlers hundreds of years to simply circle back around to what the Native American people understood from the beginning. This discarding of people and information by European settlers has led to the degradation of the Earth, not to mention the health of the people who live here.
Obviously, Western settlers should never have invaded North America, but if they had taken even a second when they arrived to see the native people as human beings with knowledge of their ancestral homelands, rather than wiping them out like parasites to be defeated, this country and our world would be a different place today.