“We are leaving a trail of devastation through the earth with our daily lives and we don’t care about it yet.”

I was interested in this speech by Ilona Kickbusch on the challenge of trying to create healthier societies during the polycrisis.

One of her slides jumped out at me, contrasting Goran Dahlgren and Margaret Whitehead’s longstanding model of the determinants of health with a cyclone:

This image has been central to public health messaging since the earliest stages of my career. Seeing it spun into chaos seems like an appropriate metaphor for the challenges that my field faces.

Ilona also quoted German Economics Minister Robert Habeck, who I think has it right:

“…when we live our everyday lives, when we fill up our cars, when we slather our mince on the mince roll, we are always on the side of the good guys. Only people who have never been in a pigsty can believe that. We are leaving a trail of devastation through the earth with our daily lives and we don’t care about it yet.Robert Habeck, 2022

This post originally appeared on the Harris-Roxas Health blog.

References

Dahlgren, G., & Whitehead, M. (1991). Policies and Strategies to Promote Social Equity in Health. Institute of Futures Studies.