April 14, 2020
In this open-source article on Ensia, Dr. Teddie Potter, Director of Planetary Health at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing offers this bit of advise to those asking ‘How can we help? What can we do to support the nurses and doctors?’ Her response takes a larger view: “We can help nurses and doctors the most by changing the way we live and the choices we make so that pandemics are less likely to happen in the future”.
Dr. Potter states this is a good time to shift our cultural narrative to alter our current destructive trajectory. She discusses Riane Eisler’s cultural transformation theory that highlights a continuum and an evolution from our current authoritarian, domination social system to one of partnership, that promotes caring and conscientious values.
Every word we speak and every action we take promotes either domination or partnership. It is up to each and every one of us to create a narrative that supports the health of humans and the entire planet.
She shares 12 principles for planetary health that can move us beyond domination to partnership. These include:
- Organizing and movement building: Shaping bottom-up solutions to challenges in planetary health
- Systems thinking and transdisciplinary collaboration: Addressing complexity and knowledge integration
- Inequality and inequity: Examining winners and losers, who benefits and who is harmed
- Global citizenship and cultural identity: Recognizing personal identities and membership in the global community.
Potter writes, “The good news is that cultures can be transformed. Once people become conscious of the orientation of their social system, they can choose to embrace values and behaviors that shift relationships toward partnership. Every word we speak and every action we take promotes either domination or partnership. It is up to each and every one of us to create a narrative that supports the health of humans and the entire planet”.