Earth Day: Vote, March and “Launch”
By Anne-Gaëlle, Founder of The Algonauts Project
This Saturday, April 22, 2017, Earth Day, is an important and busy day. Three things on my schedule: an election, a march and the launch of a Planetary Health initiative.
The first round of the French presidential elections takes place on Sunday April 23, 2017. I will vote this Saturday, April 22 because I live in California in the United States. There are 9 hours of time difference with France and for the results to be counted by 8pm French time on Sunday, the French people in America vote the day before.
The polling station will be my first stopover of the day. A short but important stop. I’m impatient to see the end of this election campaign, I’m anxiously looking forward to the outcome, and hoping that the populist wave sweeping the world will not claim new victims.
While waiting for the result of the French election, it will be time for a March for Science. This too, is the result of another election a few months ago.
On Earth Day, a March for Science is organized in Washington and more than 609 cities in 30 countries (Here is the list of satellites marches in the world).
In the last few months, political decisions at the highest level have denied scientific consensus such as climate change. They also questioned the independence of scientific research and the allocation of funding for the functioning of science.
There is danger! This contempt for knowledge and scientific approaches has consequences for all citizens. Science has been constantly changing society and finding solutions to the problems it faces. Examples are all around us, in medicine or technology.
Science is a pillar of democracy: it is based on the collection, verification and rational analysis of facts. It protects from dangerous ideologies linked to short-term interests.
And science is fascinating! It gives the keys for understanding the world in which we live, from the complexity of cellular mechanisms to our human societies, for example. Science is a treasure that we should share. It is a great tool for the exploration of life. Science frees.
Science is in perpetual movement. Doubt, questioning and honesty are part of the scientific process.
In the last few decades, the technological progresses and the exploitation of natural resources have led to a great improvements in human health (increased life expectancy, reduced poverty, reduced infant mortality, etc.).
But this progress has been accompanied by environmental changes that are now threatening the planet and the survival of our species. There is an urgent need to implement sustainable development and to consider planetary health as a whole.
And so we reach the third big thing of my Earth Day: the launch of CFHI Planetary Health and One Health Initiative.
For the last few months, I had the opportunity to work on Planetary Health approaches with the team from CFHI, Child Family Health International, based in San Francisco.
Founded in 1992, CFHI is a non-governmental organization (NGO) operating at the grassroots level to provide transformative global health education experiences and community empowerment in underserved communities around the world. CFHI offers 30+ Global Health Education Programs designed to broaden students’ perspectives about global health - as well as a variety of community health initiatives and projects - in developing countries including Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Argentina, Mexico, Uganda, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, and the Philippines. More than 8,000 students have participated in CFHI programs to date. CFHI has been granted Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
The concept of Planetary Health, recently formalized by the launch of a new scientific journal The Lancet Planetary Health, is defined as the achievement of the highest standard of health, well-being and equity around the world. It encompasses a broad spectrum of disciplines to investigate not only the effects of environmental changes on human health, but also the human systems(political, economic, social) that govern these effects. One Health considers that human, animal and environmental health are interconnected and particularly emphasizes the collaboration between human medicine and veterinary medicine.
On this 22nd of April 2017, Earth Day, CFHI launches the CFHI Planetary Health & One Health initiative.
Through the diversity of its programs, CFHI offers the opportunity for students interested in Planetary Health and One Health to explore these transdisciplinary and integrated approaches through a formative intercultural training experience. Discover the programs on the page dedicated to this initiative: CFHI Planetary Heath & One Health initiative