- learn about the conceptual framework Hodges' model. A tool that can help integrate HEALTH and SOCIAL CARE, INFORMATICS and EDUCATION. The model is situated, facilitates person-centredness, integrated - holistic care and reflective practice. A new site using Drupal is an ongoing aim - the creation of a reflective workbench. Email: h2cmng @ yahoo.co.uk Welcome

Monday, February 05, 2007

Think Tank Invitation [2]: Environment, Citizenry, Ecosystem & Health

My response? No major surprises...

In order to integrate - we first need to dis-integrate. Within these four 'issues of the Century' - Environment, Citizenry, Ecosystem & Health there is IMHO a distinct 1 x 4 hierarchy with which to grapple. As ever everything depends on the foundations.

So, a first step is to separate out and protect the flora and fauna. That is, differentiate all that is wild from the spaces that humankind inhabits. The extent of our influence makes this distinction a case of trying to put the genie back in the bottle. We pose an ongoing threat to the wild, ecologically pristine places, such is the invasive nature of human habitation across the planet. For example, lead pollution from Roman times and the more recent industrial age covered the planet as captured within Arctic and Antarctic ice cores. So the FIRST starting point is the natural environment or general biosphere.

This is followed by the artificial environments created as we peopled the world over some 160,000 years. Our modern concrete footprints alter the climate and conditions that would normally prevail. Our cities, farming and use of the soil, sky, oceans and seas all have a wider impact. In 2006 a key phrase was 'climate canary', so of course this natural-artificial distinction already exists. The state of the natural environment speaks volumes, as per one of the first warnings Silent Spring and more recent concerns regards increasing hormone and chemical levels in the oceans. We use light to show the way and lights certainly chart our accelerated progress in the past century.

The THIRD level must - in order to effect change - be not about place but agency. Commentators have highlighted that from now on it is the day-to-day decisions that citizens make that will ultimately make a difference.

So to recap: we have the wilderness as a FIRST level, then SECONDLY our constructed 'biospheres' - cities, towns, networks of various sorts - transport, power - what is often described as infrastructure and finally waste. (I suppose definition of biosphere must entail sustainability. Clearly, this is not yet an appropriate descriptor for our cities.) And THIRDLY citizens; the agency that once politically activated can (must) help bring about change.

Health (and social care) is the FOURTH and key point, crucial in that health links citizens, our environment and the environment with quality of life.

Contemporary (Western) health and social care systems focus on the health of individuals and groups, the latter also at the family and population level. Now we realise the health of the planet has a direct bearing on our health. How hot and dry will it be next summer? How wet and windy will it be next winter? Why is the sun not as bright? When is the next solar maximum?

We tie ourselves in knots, the individual before us. Save some of those sutures (and staples), another casualty demands our attention and needs our care. It is also time to remember our roots, feel the sand beneath our feet and witness once more the stars in the night sky.

Health - Quality of Life
Citizenry - Individual & Group Politic
Artificial or Human 'Biosphere' Footprint [eco-City?]
Global Biosphere - 'Natural' Fauna & Flora Environment

And yes, Hodges' model can help map and represent these four essential ingredients for lively debate.

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