Ecohealth. New thing, as of the 1990’s. Focusing efforts towards sustainability, rather than immediate development, the avoidance of using resources quickly or inadequately. Gathering opinions from many realms to form new strategies, create solutions – an ecosystem approach to health.
I’m taking a Ecohealth course this semester. Also, I’m hoping to work with my professor on the related topic as my honours project…so I need to do well. I’ve got to stress to impress…to make sure I get the readings and assignments done to par, or better yet, to exceed requirements. If you happened to know me prior to reading this, you would know I’m a big nerd who loves school. But, as most of you don’t know me personally, you will, over time, be exposed to my nerdy side through words.
Why did I decide on Ecohealth? Am I some activist? No. Am I very environmentally aware and a good recycler, and so on? Not really. I just find the holistic view of Ecohealth mesmerizing. How much has been forgotten and revived through this field of study is remarkable. The world searches for global sustainability, while I myself am searching for my own form of sustainability. To encompass my own health through mind, body and spirit. I’m not a hippie. Nor am I much different from the average university student working summers to pay for an education. But imagine seeing the world from an ecohealth perspective, and how that can affect your individual health!
Example time: Dominique Charron (2012) Ecosystems Approaches to Health for a Global Sustainability Agenda
Ecohealth project explored mercury contamination in the Tapajos River in Brazil thought to be due to gold mining upstream. Exploration from all angles showed that mercury was leaching from deforested soils affecting a much larger area than presumed. Downstream populations thus had to learn the threats they had when consuming fish…they could eat nuts and berries containing selenium to help offset the threats. A framework was made, using many perspectives, and strategies formed to allow continued fish consumption, while limiting heavily contaminated species.
The example above can help you think about Ecohealth in practice. Now I’ve created an example from my life, where I can take this framework and perspectives, holistic approach, to solve a problem:
I have a boyfriend, almost 10 months together. And I get paranoid…having not been in a longterm relationship for quite some time, I find myself getting jealous or just overthinking a lot of everything…c’mon ladies…ruminating about how he could be looking at the waitress while he’s out at dinner with his parents, that’s pretty extreme. But I’ve thought that, in all honesty, and it’s become bothersome in my everyday life. That’s where I take this ecohealth holistic approach to reduce my paranoia, jealousy, and overall stress. I spoke with my boyfriend about how I was feeling. Then I spoke with my best friend, for another perspective. Then I sat in my own thoughts and still couldn’t come up with a very good solution to the issue. I spoke with a few more of my friends, and repeatedly talked to my boyfriend (to which he thinks I’m absurd for thinking these things, but hey, I think that too!). So I finally talked it out and thought about it enough to find a solution; STOP talking about it. By finding many perspectives, I realized I was increasing my thoughts of jealousy by always bringing them up. I didn’t necessarily remove the issue. I just found a way to deal with it…if I avoid talking about it to people, having heard their perspectives on it, I found that was all I needed. Like the contaminated fish, those thoughts are still in my mind…I just fish for the less contaminated thoughts.
So with any life journey, take from it what you find most relevant to your life. Ecohealth reminds me to look at the larger picture, and from there, I should be able to find an answer.
Before I finish, I’d like to take a moment for the fisherman, gold miners, boyfriends, and crazy girlfriends out in the world. Annnnnd moment done.