The Seven Pillars of Wholistic Wellbeing Part 7: Planetary Wellbeing
“To be successful in our wellbeing journeys, we must make an effort to ensure that our society and the planet are healthy as well”.
The concept of Planetary Wellbeing takes the view that our personal wellbeing is contiguous with that of Mother Earth. The healthier the soil is, the healthier our own bodies are.
But this simple equation has become a challenge. The health of our planet is now facing critical threats. A particular area of concern of mine is the issue of climate change and its impact on the biosphere, triggering and escalating a biodiversity and wildlife crisis. I live in Seattle, where we experienced record-breaking temperatures two weeks ago.
Source: New York Times
The harrowing death count threw into relief the pervasiveness of global warming and its dangers, affecting even those parts of the world like Washington and British Columbia habitually perceived as safe havens for moderate temperatures. Anxiety surrounding climate change is more than a qualm — it’s a raw, rational fear, and one that I address in my vision of Wholistic Wellbeing.
The term ‘wellbeing’ is too often seen as a soundbite; a metonym for a cultural vogue that prioritizes the individual. This is naive and asinine. Wellbeing is fundamentally altruistic, and it can only be achieved if we consider our place within the planetary balance.
What is that place? What is our status? We are but one amongst millions of species; one in over five billion life forms. And while our population continues to grow, unique wildlife species are facing extinction. Over the past few decades, human activity has severely degraded three quarters of the land and 40% of Earth’s oceans. Moreover, our accelerated destruction of nature is having untold consequences on our health and livelihoods. How we grow food, produce energy, dispose of waste and consume resources is destroying nature’s delicate balance of clean air, water and life that all species — including humans — depend on for survival.
In addition, the challenge of Planetary Wellbeing has provoked a hike in anxiety rates across the population. In a recent article published by The Lancet, a renowned health journal, the notion of eco-anxiety is characterised by severe and debilitating worry about climate and environmental risks, and can elicit dramatic reactions such as loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and panic attacks among those affected. Besides anxiety, new types of diseases are affecting humans as a result of planetary challenges. A particularly vivid example is the case of marine microplastics, abandoned fishing gear and other plastic pollution affecting our seas due to overconsumption habits. These represent one of our biggest environmental threats with a direct ripple effect on mankind, as we are only ever as healthy as the food that we eat. And yet we have been knowingly poisoning our oceans with mercury for decades, and more recently with plastic too. Marine microplastic debris is compromising human food security, food safety and, potentially, our physical health.
As a parent, this is something that causes me great worry. We need to protect the planet for future generations and, in so doing, protect our own wellbeing.
By protecting the planet, we will protect our Emotional Wellbeing from heightened anxiety. We will protect our Physical Wellbeing from extreme weather and unclean air. We will protect our Social Wellbeing from climate change remapping our relationships. We will protect Community Wellbeing from increased fragmentation as the environmental crisis increases the gap between rich and poor. We will protect our Financial Wellbeing as we prevent costly catastrophes linked to climate change. We will protect our Professional Wellbeing by working towards a more sustainable society with no risk of environmental collapse and repercussions on jobs and the economy. No other wellbeing can exist or coexist without Planetary Wellbeing.
At RoundGlass, we advocate for a wilder, greener planet — one that is inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable, and respects every life form, big or small. With this vision in mind, we created the RoundGlass Sustain project to tell stories that inspire a sense of wonder in the wildlife and habitats of an especially biodiverse country: India. Through this project, we also aim to create awareness, impact, and a compassionate and more conscious community. The goal is a flourishing environment that can support our journey towards Wholistic Wellbeing.
The RoundGlass Sustain project is dedicated to creating a globally accessible treasury of wildlife images, videos, and information, in the hope that it will encourage people to act to protect all of Earth’s wealth and diversity and create a community of impassioned changemakers. RoundGlass Sustain also shares inspiring stories from conservationists, such as Aliya Mir, a woman who rescues wildlife in Kashmir (a region with increasingly frequent conflicts between mankind and wildlife); and Mohammed Dilawar, an ecologist who decided to fight the decline of the house sparrow population. I hope that by spreading the word about inspiring people like these two conservationists, more people will be inspired to take action towards protecting our planet.
A positive attitude towards Planetary Wellbeing encourages us to respect and protect our Earth’s natural resources and its wealth of diversity. I am proud that RoundGlass has demonstrated such deep commitment to this pillar of wellbeing.