The grand challenges of our time—climate change, biodiversity losses, and global non-communicable disease rates—underscore that humanity and the planet are in crisis. Planetary health provides a unifying concept wherein efforts toward remediation and survival can be concentrated. Evidence derived from the animal kingdom and from human demography suggest that there is cause for optimism in planetary health. With proper navigation, a transition toward a new epoch—one of symbiotic flourishing—is possible. Responses to the current challenges can usher in a new reality, one in which the core value is the well-being of all. This paper presents the philosophies and perspectives of renown biophilosopher, Jonas Salk, who—after developing the first effective vaccine to prevent polio, one of the great achievements in public health—expanded his vision beyond the prevention of individual diseases to that of addressing the basic problems of humankind. This vision is very much in line with our current understanding of and approach to planetary health. In response to changing conditions, planetary limits, and evolutionary pressure, new values, new communities, and new modes of interacting will likely emerge and be integrated with developments in science, technology, economics, the arts, and international relations, resulting in our survival and enhanced health and well-being.
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