‘My Daddy is saving rain forests and orangutans!’ says our spirited 4-year-old daughter Isla Boo, to anyone who is interested. And in reality, to many people that are probably not. Bless her, she is a talker, this one. I love to hear the animation in her and Theo’s voices as they talk about their Daddy's new job and feel proud that we have all embraced this change in our lives with passion and enthusiasm as a little family.
Interview with Adam Phillipson, the Great Apes Program Officer at the Arcus Foundation, who visited our partner ASRI in May.
Guest blog by Jake Sargent
I first learned of Health In Harmony only six months ago – I had recently co-founded a venture fund, called Softmatter, to invest in sustainable consumer start-ups, and was looking for inspiring stories of disruption to share with our small community of like-minded investors and social entrepreneurs. I can’t pinpoint the moment when I decided my time, and resources, were best utilized helping to cultivate a shift in our global consumption – but it stemmed from five years as the creative director of a fashion brand and being a participant in an inefficient system that produces waste at all levels of the supply and distribution chains. We can find, and support, a better way.
August's latest and greatest reads on environmental conservation, global health, and everything in between.
This past February I had my first opportunity to visit our partner ASRI and colleagues. I’d like to tell you about one new and particularly innovative initiative I saw called the Garden to Forest program. It’s illustrative of how we approach the conjoined challenges of human development and conservation of our natural world.
Guest blog by Arvian Heidir
Meet members of the ASRI team through this beautiful photo series by supporter, Arvian Heidir. Read More
Thanks to so many donors, supporters, and friends, our flagship partner ASRI celebrated their 10th anniversary on July 13th. To mark this incredible occasion, ASRI hosted an open house and festival on hospital grounds. Read More
June and July’s latest and greatest reads on environmental conservation, global health, and everything in between.
Health In Harmony’s (HIH) next phase is to expand the conservation and human health reach by replicating the model. Behind the scenes, HIH staff -- with input from our partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and the HIH Board of Directors -- have been busy looking into possibilities and thinking about ways to effectively improve lives, reducing the pressure on protected areas and successfully conserve precious ecosystems. As that work continues, we wanted to take a moment to share with you one of the opportunities we are pursuing. But first, let’s talk about methodology.
How often do we spend time seriously envisioning a positive future for humanity? Most of our collective visioning is filled with doom and gloom and warnings of impending collapse. These dystopian futures have their place as they can warn us of the consequences of continuing along a given path, but we can lose hope and direction if that is all we have.
The first two parts of this series outlined the conservation challenges in Borneo and our efforts to combat deforestation by engaging communities. The question now is whether our solutions work. But when dealing with issues that combine economics, health care, social justice, and conservation biology, how do you measure progress? Planetary health is an emerging discipline and we are using methods that have not been tried before. So there aren’t many clear benchmarks for comparison.
We can start by asking what success would look like. For Health In Harmony’s Indonesian partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), complete success would mean 1) zero deforestation in Gunung Palung National Park, 2) a return of the park to 100% natural vegetation cover, and 3) net forest growth throughout the region. And we would have achieved those goals by creating healthy communities that are invested in the long-term integrity of the natural landscape. So how do we stack up against those goals?
With summer now in full swing, you might be looking for some great reads for those lazy beach days and long road trips. We've got you covered with five thought-provoking books to bring you up to speed on all things conservation, global health, and planetary health. Read More
Part 2 of 3 - Our Solution. Read Part 1 here.
Health In Harmony’s mission and that of their Indonesian partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), is a difficult one—stopping forest loss in western Borneo, a region with one of the world’s highest deforestation rates (check out Part I for an introduction to the problem). As planetary health professionals, we seek solutions that address the underlying social conditions that lead to forest loss. But those social factors are complicated, involving issues like government policy, population growth, poverty, indigenous rights, gender equality, and education. Tackling such a complex problem requires comprehensive and flexible solutions and more than a bit of creativity.
Focusing on the area around Gunung Palung National Park, ASRI uses a 5-pronged approach that combats deforestation on multiple fronts.
Part 1 of 3 - The Problem
To many people, Borneo is a remote and wild place, an unspoiled tropical island teeming with dense forests, wildlife, and traditional cultures. Throughout the early twentieth century, this view was partly true; the island was over 75% forested and was home to hundreds of thousands of orangutans and other wildlife, in addition to diverse communities of people speaking dozens of different languages. Read More
Last month, Health In Harmony Founder, Dr. Kinari Webb, returned to her alma mater, the Yale School of Medicine, to give this year's Commencement Address. She was honored to have the opportunity to offer insight to the graduates, encouraging them to treat their patients with compassion, to strive for social justice, and to use their training to create a healthier planet.
"You may not have thought of your stethoscope as a tool to heal the Earth, the lungs of the Earth - otherwise known as rain forests. But it turns out that it can be. Your medical skills have all kinds of unexpected powers, and I want to argue that we actually all need to become planet doctors."
Watch the video below, Kinari takes the stage at 3:40:
April and May's latest and greatest reads on environmental conservation, global health, and everything in between.
Guest blog by Sam Jennings
Planetary health. “What is that?” - you might be asking.
Debates continue about the primary drivers of change in Earth systems, but few can argue that the disruption of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes are taking their toll, and that toll includes an urgent threat to global human health. Environmental issues can no longer be seen as ‘not my problem’ as evidence grows illustrating the connections between accelerated environmental change and the direct impacts adversely affecting human health. Regardless of how we have previously viewed news on the environmental front, and our role in it, the time has come for everyone to pay attention. Your health depends on it.
Guest blog by Clare Wolfowitz, Ph.D.
What works? Carefully designed community outreach works. And community capacity-building works. Here’s how.
Guest blog by YungAh Lee
Every morning I had something to look forward to as I biked to the ASRI hospital.
A small boy greeted me like a happy sunflower, shouting a big hello with his hand stretched out. I can't remember what he looks like because every time I biked past him I was often distracted by his mother’s pop-up stand selling pineapples, bananas, other tropical fruits that I cannot name. But I do remember his lively voice, launching off my day with a fortissimo.
I’ve just returned from my first visit to Indonesia, where our programs have been co-designed and executed by our Indonesian program partner, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI).
I met former loggers trained to be sustainable farmers and small business owners. I walked through rain forests regenerated and protected for the health of thousands of species and the planet. I explored the beautiful, recently constructed hospital, and met the men, women, and children who can access life-saving health care there every day thanks to the generosity of our donors.