Special Issue "Project Earthrise: For the World We Want to Live In (including Manuscripts from the 2020 inVIVO Planetary Health Annual Conference)"

A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547). This special issue belongs to the section "Planetary Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 17254

Special Issue Editors

1. School of Medicine, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
2. ORIGINS Project, Telethon Kids Institute at Perth Children’s Hospital, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia
3. NOVA Institute for Health of People, Places and Planet, 1407 Fleet Street, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA
Interests: planetary health; ecological and social justice; immunology and inflammation; microbiome science; NCDs (noncommunicable diseases); nutrition; life-course wellness and ‘DOHaD’ (development origins of health and disease); integrative approaches to wellness and disease prevention
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Ganesa R. Wegienka
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Family & Community Medicine-INMED, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037, USA
2. Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation, Yellowknife, NT X1A 2N5, Canada
Interests: planetary health; education for sustainable health care; Indigenous health; environmental health; health equity; knowledge translation; traditional medicine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Interests: planetary health; microbial ecology; ecological restoration; remote sensing; urban nature; biodiversity; nature connectedness; noncommunicable diseases; environmental health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue in Challenges for the publication of the Proceedings of the 2020 inVIVO Planetary Health Annual Conference. This virtual meeting will be held on 1–11 December 2020.

We also welcome outside submissions that focus on understanding and improving the complex relationships between human health and planetary health.

Inviting diverse perspectives from across all dimensions of the arts and the sciences, inVIVO Planetary Health addresses the imperative for creative ecological solutions to challenges in all systems and all scales. In particular, we seek to emphasize the socio-ecobiological interactions in our living environment (including urbanization, food systems, education, social inequity, climate change, biodiversity loss, and microbial ecology) which impact physical, mental, and spiritual well-being, together with the wider community and societal factors that govern these. We continue to have a long-range vision which includes transgenerational and ‘life-course’ approaches to disease prevention and environmental restoration.

Our meeting will bring together a tremendous network of like-minded people from diverse fields whose interests span from planetary/population/environmental health to microbial ecology/systems biology and the deep biological mechanisms—all aiming to work ‘symbiotically’ to connect traditional ‘silos’ through a more integrated systems framework as we seek to improve personal, environmental, economic, and societal health alike. As always, our emphasis is on meaningful collaborations and productive friendships as well as on the data and opportunities we generate.

You are invited to submit papers presented at the 9th Annual Conference of inVIVO Planetary Health (https://www.invivoplanet.com/2020-meeting.html), for publication in Challenges. Participants of this conference, and inVIVO members, will receive a 100% discount on the Article Processing Charges.

We welcome manuscripts that discuss any aspects of personal, environmental, economic and societal health, encouraging diverse perspectives from across many dimensions of the arts and the sciences, as we explore novel solutions and new normative values.

Prof. Dr. Susan L. Prescott
Dr. Ganesa R. Wegienka
Dr. Nicole Redvers
Mr. Jake Robinson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Challenges is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Planetary health
  • Ecology, biodiversity, ecosystems
  • Social and ecological justice, health disparities, socioeconomic inequalities
  • Integrative ecological solutions, mutualism
  • Environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change
  • Urban landscapes, natural environments, nature-relatedness
  • Green space, green prescriptions, biodiversity interdependence, cooperation, integration
  • Dysbiotic drift, the microbiome, anthropogenic ecosystems
  • Microbial ecosystems, microbial diversity, disease associations
  • Inflammation and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
  • Mental health, emotions and wellbeing, solastalgia, ecological grief
  • Food systems, nutrition, food processing and nutritional ecology, planetary diets
  • Lifestyle and the exposome, systems biology, machine leading, personalized medicine, preventive medicine, bio-psychosocial medicine, high-level wellness
  • Life-course (developmental origins), transgenerational perspectives, epigenetics
  • Value systems, cultural shift, narrative medicine, neoliberalism, storytelling, belief systems, traditional cultures, spirituality

Published Papers (4 papers)

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16 pages, 688 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Connectedness to Nature on Psychological Well-Being: Evidence from the Randomized Controlled Trial Play&Grow
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010012 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3794
Abstract
Urbanized children today have fewer opportunities to interact with nature which may lead to a greater risk of mental health problems. The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate which particular changes in connectedness to nature (CN) would improve psychological well-being [...] Read more.
Urbanized children today have fewer opportunities to interact with nature which may lead to a greater risk of mental health problems. The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate which particular changes in connectedness to nature (CN) would improve psychological well-being (PW) in young children. Six hundred and thirty-nine preschoolers (52.0% boys, age 34.9 ± 9.5 months) participated in Play&Grow, an early environmental education intervention. Children’s CN and PW were evaluated by parents before and after the program with validated measures; the CNI-PPC (four factors) and the SDQ, Strength and Difficulties questionnaire (five factors), respectively. The effectiveness of the intervention on the primary outcomes (CN, PW) as well as the relationship between them was analyzed in a repeated measures path model with intervention status as a causal predictor. Specific CN factors consistently increased ProSocial behavior and reduced Hyperactivity and Emotional problems. In summary, this study showed that the previously reported impact shifted from the total CN score to the specific CN factors. The Play&Grow intervention positively increased children’s CN and improved some aspects of psychological well-being in children which is a preliminary evidence of developmental benefits of connecting young children with nature. Our results indicate promising direction of action for the improvement of families’ psychological health. Full article
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4 pages, 167 KiB  
Viewpoint
Microbial Muses: Threads of Our Inner Wisdom
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010010 - 25 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2125
Abstract
Spiritual journeys unveil our inner wisdom to help us navigate traumatic life events. Scientific evidence implicates a gut–immune–brain axis in our sense of self, raising the possibility that our microbial partners and hormone oxytocin offer a sense of connectedness and liberate our ancestral [...] Read more.
Spiritual journeys unveil our inner wisdom to help us navigate traumatic life events. Scientific evidence implicates a gut–immune–brain axis in our sense of self, raising the possibility that our microbial partners and hormone oxytocin offer a sense of connectedness and liberate our ancestral archives to sustain us during challenging times. Full article
14 pages, 3024 KiB  
Viewpoint
Catalyst Twenty-Twenty: Post-Traumatic Growth at Scales of Person, Place and Planet
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010009 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4090
Abstract
Planetary health is a broad multidisciplinary effort that attempts to address what has been described as “Anthropocene Syndrome”—the wicked, interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden [...] Read more.
Planetary health is a broad multidisciplinary effort that attempts to address what has been described as “Anthropocene Syndrome”—the wicked, interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health inequalities, social injustices, erosion of wisdom and civility, together with the many structural underpinnings of these grand challenges. The ultimate aim of planetary health is flourishing along every link in the person, place and planet continuum. The events of “2020” have illuminated the consequences of “mass trauma” and how sub-threshold anxiety and/or depressive symptoms erase the rigid lines between mental “health” and mental “disorders”, and unmasked the systemic forms of injustice, discrimination, and oppression that have too often escaped discourse. Here, we query the ways in which post-traumatic growth research might inform the larger planetary health community, especially in the context of a global pandemic, broadening socioeconomic inequalities, a worsening climate crisis, and the rise of political authoritarianism. The available research would suggest that “2020” fulfills the trauma criteria of having a “seismic impact on the assumptive world”, and as such, provides fertile ground for post-traumatic growth. Among the many potential positive changes that might occur in response to trauma, we focus on the value of new awareness, perspective and greater wisdom. Full article
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25 pages, 3603 KiB  
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Healing Anthropocene Syndrome: Planetary Health Requires Remediation of the Toxic Post-Truth Environment
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010001 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 6155
Abstract
The term “Anthropocene Syndrome” describes the wicked interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, unacceptable poverty (of both income and opportunity), grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health [...] Read more.
The term “Anthropocene Syndrome” describes the wicked interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, unacceptable poverty (of both income and opportunity), grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health inequalities, social injustices, the spread of ultra-processed foods, consumerism and incivility in tandem with a diminished emphasis on the greater potential of humankind, efforts toward unity, or the value of fulfilment and flourishing of all humankind. Planetary health is a concept that recognizes the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic ecosystems—social, political and otherwise; it blurs the artificial lines between health at scales of person, place and planet. Promoting planetary health requires addressing the underlying pathology of “Anthropocene Syndrome” and the deeper value systems and power dynamics that promote its various signs and symptoms. Here, we focus on misinformation as a toxin that maintains the syndromic status quo—rapid dissemination of falsehoods and dark conspiracies on social media, fake news, alternative facts and medical misinformation described by the World Health Organization as an “infodemic”. In the context of planetary health, we explore the historical antecedents of this “infodemic” and underscore an urgent need to remediate the misinformation mess. It is our contention that education (especially in early life) emphasizing mindfulness and understanding of the mechanisms by which propaganda is spread (and unhealthy products are marketed) is essential. We expand the discourse on positive social contagion and argue that empowerment through education can help lead to an information transformation with the aim of flourishing along every link in the person, place and planet continuum. Full article
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