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Planetary health test report card

On this road trip of life, where do we expect to end up?  If life is as they say, more a journey than a destination, then where is this journey taking us?

We more often than not prioritise the human over the non-human, at which point we are indeed the selfish gene.  We talk about equal opportunity within our communities, but not equal opportunity within the larger wider earth community.   We desperately need to prioritise marine areas, forest areas, the entire atmospheric area, the soil area, the invertebrate housing area, as high priorities – as places where interference by humans is severely restricted. 

For example, a comprehensive blood test result sheet including the healthy range within which each reading is recorded, in a similar fashion to readings for red blood cells, white blood cells, etc..

Scientist’s planetary health report card reveals breaching upper limits for many areas i.e air quality etc and plummeting below acceptable limits for fisheries, forests, many plant and animal species, especially insects.

If this were the human report card we’d have a series of pandemics, we’d have ICUs swamped with patients, and we’d have emergency budget allocations with wide ranging attempts to stem the waves of the sick and dying.

And scientists tell us that by degrees of separation, this is happening to us.

We are insulated from this reality by a monetary system that distances us from the real world experiences of the more than human beings we share this blue and green planet with.  Because we go to the supermarket and not the land, not the farm or the forest, our vision is obscured – we are blind to the price being paid by our non-human beings so we can carry on regardless.

Myopic, yes. Futuristic, no.  We are prioritising the trivial over the essential, the bland over the beautiful, quantity over quality, linear over circular, the economy over the ecology, our singular lifetimes over generational lifetimes, shadow over substance and we are reaping what we sow.

Every profession has its reference books, its manuals, its quality assurance guides, its best practice tool kits.  Scientists have prepared copious reports and there are ample guidebooks such the Transition Towns Handbook, Holistic Management Handbook, Circular Economy Handbook and Retrosuburbia, to name four. 

When it comes to a go-to guide, our roadmap by which we measure our progress towards or away from where we expect to end up. The contributors to each of these books, brings insights and ideas to the table that can challenge existing mindsets and paradigms.  There is no shortage of knowledge.  We have all we need except the determination to knuckle down get on with putting the principles into practise.

More on Key indicators of planetary health, at this link;  and at Griffith University: Planetary Health and Food Security