On the need for an ecologically dimensioned medical humanities
Increasing calls from medical professionals and scholars suggest an urgent need for better and more widespread understandings of the ecological dimensions of health. Such calls have included: two recent Lancet special commissions on impacts of climate change on health; and recognition by senior figures from the WHO and UN of relationships between human impacts on the natural world and disease pandemics, with some suggesting prevention of future pandemics may require a radical reassessment of modernity’s relationship with the natural world. Among the medical humanities as a whole, however, calls for better and more widespread understandings of the ecological dimensions of health have not always been as prominent, or urgently expressed, as they might be. This paper, which presumes there is an urgent need for better and more widespread understandings of the ecological dimensions of human health, draws on ecological public health and other models to propose an ecological re-visioning of our conceptions of health and medical humanities; and in ways that challenge some contemporary assumptions about health, well-being and the “good society”. Indeed, once we begin to heed what ecocritic Tim Morton terms “the ecological thought”, we may discover few areas of healthcare and the humanities remain untouched by its implications. With growing recognition that the fate of global human health and the fate of the biosphere are inextricably entwined, the project of a more ecologically dimensioned medical humanities appears both timely and urgent. Such a project may represent a significant opportunity for the medical humanities, but also a significant responsibility.
This is also an output of the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Coope, J. (2020). On the need for an ecologically dimensioned medical humanities. Medical Humanities.
ISSN : 1468-215X
Research Institute : Mary Seacole Research Centre
Peer Reviewed : Yes