One Health: A Ten Thousand Year-Old View into the Future

Are you interested in understanding how global climate change will alter human society, animal health, and the environment? Are you curious about how these three things are interconnected? This course focuses on what is happening right now in the Arctic, where climate change is accelerating twice as fast as the rest of the world. Understanding how Arctic ecosystems are adapting and collapsing can give us insight into future changes across the globe. Finding deep solutions to new challenges caused by climate change can鈥檛 be accomplished using only traditional fields of science, such as medicine or biology. Addressing these issues effectively requires a novel approach, one that integrates knowledge across disciplines and cultures and recognizes the interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health. This concept, always central to the Indigenous worldview, has recently been recognized in Western science as One Health. One Health was originally developed as a means of understanding how zoonotic diseases, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, arise. Between 65% and 70% of emerging diseases in humans are of zoonotic origin. The way we impact our environment and how this influences human-animal interactions play a significant role in how these diseases develop and spread. Health is more than the absence of disease and can be defined as a state of well-being for individuals and their communities. Under this definition, well-being encompasses physical, mental, behavioral, cultural, and spiritual health. Applying this holistic approach to the One Health paradigm allows us to bring in expertise across natural and social sciences and connect Western science with traditional Indigenous ways of knowing. Such a broad and deep integration of knowledge and experience provides opportunities for understanding large issues like food safety, security, and sovereignty at their roots, and for engaging stakeholders to build effective solutions.

Created by: University of Alaska Fairbanks

Level: Intermediate

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