The emerging concept of planetary health—defined as the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic ecosystems (social, political, and otherwise)—emphasizes that the health of human civilization is intricately connected to the health of natural systems within the Earth’s biosphere. In the clinical setting, narrative medicine underscores the importance of absorbing, reflecting upon, and responding to the narratives—the stories—conveyed by patients. Education and interventions using the tenets of narrative medicine have demonstrated value to both patient and provider. Given the grand interconnected challenges of our time—compounded by misinformation and quasi-scientific narratives propagated by the ideology of neoliberalism—we argue that the principles and practice of narrative medicine can be applied on a larger scale, one with planetary health in mind. The role of beliefs, expectations, and agency—mindsets—in the link between narrative and planetary health are emphasized. We use a story of our own to demonstrate that the biological buffering capacity in response to a fast-food meal does not sit on a level socioeconomic playing field. Patient, community, and global health narratives are melding with powerful narratives set by commercial entities. The success of planetary health as a new concept will be strengthened by attention to the ways in which storytelling can influence positive change. No less important is an understanding of the ways in which stories contribute to what ails person, place, and planet.
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