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In this guest blog post, Dr. Sarah Walpole reflects on her experience visiting our Indonesian partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) and participating in their Mobile Clinic program.
Our day started as usual with the 8 am meeting at ASRI in Sukadana. Then, Docter Ela, the driver and I climbed into the car and set out. We stopped to collect Efan, the nurse, and Aulia, the pharmacist, from their homes. Soon after, we stopped at a council office to collect a projector. In a village further on our car was joined by that of the team who would be projecting a film about orangutans and forest protection to the waiting patients.
In the final installment of her series about Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), guest blogger Nina Finley shares more details about her experience, and how Planetary Health is shaping her research and future plans. You can read more of Nina's writing at her blog, Natural Selections.
For the past month I've been visiting Sukadana, a village nestled on the edge of Gunung Palung National Park in Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia. This lowland dipterocarp rainforest is home to 3,000 of the last Bornean orangutans. I’m volunteering here with Yayasan Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), roughly translating to Healthy Balanced Nature, a pathbreaking Planetary Health hospital with a mission to “save the rainforest with a stethoscope.”
Dr. Courtney Howard is an emergency room physician who has witnessed the health impacts of climate change firsthand through her work in the Canadian Arctic. Bringing years of experience in medicine, public health, and planetary health, she recently joined Health In Harmony's Board of Directors and visited our pilot program, Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI), to provide clinical instruction to their doctors. This post from Courtney's blog shows the impact of our Chainsaw Buyback program, an innovative way to promote sustainable livelihoods and help the few remaining loggers put down their chainsaws once and for all.
Last month, we welcomed Ashley Emerson as Health In Harmony's new Program Director. With a Masters in International Development, Community, and Environment from Clark University and years of experience leading and developing international programs around the world, we are thrilled to have her on the team. And to give you the chance to get to her know too, we sat down with her this week for an interview.
For our last What We're Reading of the year, we've rounded up our staff's favorite articles of the year. What were your favorite picks of 2017?
“Please show me, where is Indonesia?”
“Here!” the students called as they simultaneously pointed to Indonesia.
Since 2007, Health In Harmony and our partner Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI) have reduced illegal logging (by 89% as of 2017), achieved important health outcomes (such as reducing infant mortality rate), and helped lift families living around Gunung Palung National Park (GPNP) out of poverty. We’ve done this by using radical listening to facilitate community-designed solutions to the integrated problems that people face. Could the same approach work in other parts of the world?
Dear friends of Health In Harmony,
I just got back from a wonderful seven weeks in Kalimantan and I want to thank you all for helping make the hospital possible. Because of visa issues, I had not actually been back since November when the ASRI team officially moved into the building. So for me, the last time I saw the building was in the first week of the team using it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.