Healing is a process that takes place on the inside but is reflected on the outside. A healthy environment creates healthy conditions for healthy people to live within. In our current global society, we are experiencing an interconnected series of environmental and geo-political crises. To heal from these harmful complications we must first embrace the connections between one another and the environment. By restoring our species’ place and purpose as a creative and collaborative force for positive change, humanity and the Earth can begin to heal.
Where trees grow, breath is balanced, abundant species live, and we can access healthy states. Embark on a more forest-friendly existence.
“I cannot say exactly how nature exerts its calming and organizing effects on our brains, but I have seen in my patients the restorative and healing powers of nature and gardens, even for those who are deeply disabled neurologically. In many cases, gardens and nature are more powerful than any medication.” — Oliver Sacks32
71% of deforestation results from agriculture. Why are we cutting down precious plants, scarring the lungs of our earth, to grow crops that can be grown and harvested within the canopies of diverse vegetation? The concept of agroforestry combines agriculture and forestry by growing trees and shrubs around crops. This method of land-use management balances the benefits of agriculture while still looking to not only preserve (and sometimes even increase) biodiversity, but to also reduce erosion. The land is healthier with a greater diversity of species growing together.
Multistrata Agroforestry makes use of layered trees and crops to maximize space across horizontal and vertical planes. This agricultural system mimics the natural composition of forests. As described by Project Drawdown (a global resource for climate solutions), when agricultural practices shift into agroforestry, people have been able to “regenerate sandy dirt into rich loam, create in-farm fertility without the use of compost or manure, and greatly increase water retention.”33 This regenerative capacity reaffirms how working with nature’s principles—in this instance, following the natural anatomy of a forest—can serve to replenish land that has been mistreated.
Forests are valuable not only for their beautiful verdant aesthetics, but for their irreplaceable contribution to the health of humanity. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the ability of trees to give us such an abundance of oxygen. When we exhale and emit our co2, the trees take that gas in and, through the process of photosynthesis, push back out that gas, now in the form of breathable oxygen. Yet, the benefits of reforestation and conservation go beyond carbon capture and greater production of oxygen. For humans, greenery provides untold psychological advantages as well. As neurologist Oliver Sacks acknowledged, the various proven, and celebrated, benefits of being around greenery—of which forests are prime, fully expressed examples—are still somewhat scientifically mysterious. Our best guess is that being around living systems that demonstrate healthy regulation and longstanding stability, actually nourishes aspects of our own biological systems to restore, rejuvenate, and renew them.
To secure a sustainable future, we have to start caring for the world’s forests. By departing from deforestation, and embarking on reforestation, we will lead ourselves onto a path of healthier ecology as much as healthier psychology.
Cultivate circularity in farming, manufacturing, and mobility. Leverage the benefits of closed systems wherever possible. Embrace the inputs from open systems. Self-regulate for balance, vitality, and sustainability.
“Flying mother nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun” — Neil Young, “After the Gold Rush”, 1970
How can we turn waste into new resources for creative use? How can our value chains and end products be so circular they don’t even leave a footprint? While plastic takes over more and more of our planet and we confront greater and greater examples of manmade pollution and climate change, we feel that the only viable choice for the future of our species is to see our way out the vicious cycle of extraction and exploitation.
The idea of materials that leave no mark follows the old backpacker’s adage of “take only photos and leave only footprints”. In 2019, we remain curious how the next wave of material innovation will develop. Carbon capture is part of the solution toward environmental replenishment, but a great deal more solution finding enterprises will have to be employed to tackle these pressing, large-scale concerns.
The mess we’re in as a species comes from flawed thinking, flawed theories, and flawed systems that pit people against one another. For a positive response to this problem, we envision communities being built upon talents distributed throughout citizens of every commonwealth. We believe a circular society will emerge through models for participative democratic self-representation across all layers of societal living.
To replenish the Earth, we must first depart from an industrial paradigm of extraction. Ceasing the conventional extraction of fossil fuels for energy generation will require greater attention to restorative processes. Investing greater research into industrial restoration efforts will also move society closer to the necessary goal of achieving net zero emissions.
Along less conventional lines, we find the concept of fifth-dimensional travel—warping space and time to move effortlessly across vast distances—to be a compelling dream for achieving pure, sustainable mobility. In any case, we believe that developing abilities of mind over matter will play a crucial role for innovating the pathways of our collective human journey.
From epigenetic health kits, to holistic healing approaches that account for the interconnected nature of our anatomy, new forms of advanced healing continue to emerge.
Self-healing mechanisms describe ways that biological bodies know how to heal without the need of external interventions. Human capacity for self-healing does not always save us from disease or danger. Medicine plays a huge role in revitalizing a compromised system. Yet, conventional medicine rarely includes a holistic approach that addresses the entirety of a person’s being. And so important connections between cause and effect of pain are often missed. Fortunately, conventions are constantly changing along with new understandings of how our bodies actually work. Opportunities for improved standards of care are taking form in due course.
Nations with poorly-structured healthcare services suffer greatly from problems of misplaced priorities. In the U.S., the healthcare system is designed to make profits for the insurers by making coverage more costly for those in greatest need. The clear answer to this issue is to enact universal healthcare. Along the pursuit of sweeping structural changes in which everyone has access to appropriate care, we believe in having a public conversation around how lifestyle and medicine can be seen as different components of the same healing process.
Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression. If genetics is the hardware, then epigenetics is the software. Specific genes in the body are turned on or off by a whole range of environmental lifestyle factors including: diet, one’s psychological state, exercise, financial conditions, and so forth. Epigenetic inheritance posits that patterns of gene expression can be passed from parents to children, from child to grandchild and even further. Genes are not separated from individual instances of subjective experience—they respond to the environment around them, which includes all incoming information. Environmental factors interact with a person’s genome to effect epigenetic change. By focusing on the environment as the root cause for generating desirable conditions for health, epigenetics has the potential to advance more progressive, liberal, and inclusive social policy.
“We can now say emphatically, that the function of our entire metabolism is dependent on light.” — Dr. Fritz Albert Popp
From another perspective, scientific inquiry into biophotons —which are light particles in the ultraviolet range generated by biological systems like our bodies—offers a glimpse of humanity as a phenomenon of light. German biophysicist, Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp, has been conducting research into this branch of quantum biology for decades. In 1984, Popp co-published a study describing the phenomenon of ultraweak photon emission from living systems.34 In 1988, another co-publication by Popp took his research further, claiming that biophotons are consistently stored and emitted through biological systems, and might be foundational in regulating an organism’s biological processes.35 The resounding implications of Popp’s research on “biophotonic emissions” might provide crucial insights into helping prevent illnesses and accelerating recovery by learning to leverage these emissions. In one remarkable study, Professor Popp found that when looking at two molecules, one cancerous and one safe for humans, the cancerous molecule did not allow light to pass through unaltered as it did in the “safe” molecule. Instead, the cancerous molecule re-emitted a scrambled form of the light that it encountered at a different frequency. This discovery implies that if we can generate a deeper understanding of how certain compounds process light, then we will have a much better baseline understanding of which materials are safe, and which might be harmful, for human interaction. Another potentially broader implication of biophotonics might be that neurons in the brain produce photons that are capable of forming the infrastructure for cellular, light-based communication. This research leads to exciting possibilities, like the idea of such light-based communication happening between individuals in the future (much like how fiber optics quickly transmit information today).36
How we communicate and interact with one another depends greatly on our emotional states. The ways in which our emotions affect our health correspond to the varied frequencies experienced as deeply as within our individual DNA. Human DNA vibrates at a frequency ranging from 52 to 78GHz, varying according to our emotional state.37 In relation to our DNA, our bodies change frequencies according to our states of health. The human brain and our bodily systems—including our hormones, nervous system, and immune system—work closely together to process and regulate emotions. The frequency of our DNA reflects this recipe of varied qualia, or sensorial units of experience, working in concert with many environmental factors to comprise our individual realities. By making conscious effort to create environments that are peaceful and nourish one’s inner state, we can become more adept at regulating the frequencies of our DNA toward positive effect.
Healthy relationships create positive conditions in which to learn, grow, and flourish. Stress poses a serious threat to these positive conditions, and interferes with one’s ability to be healthy in body and mind. A child’s experience with stress can begin as early as in the womb. Through prenatal exposure to the mother’s stress, which becomes internalized in utero, this stress is introduced and can then become reinforced throughout one’s lifespan.38 The Hungarian-born Canadian physician Gabor Maté has worked to reveal the link between emotional stress and physical illness, including cancer, autoimmune conditions, and other chronic diseases, by studying the links between the body’s various systems and their connection to resulting emotional states. Maté’s work takes a holistic look at how stress and trauma experienced early on in one’s development carries potential lifelong impact. As Dr. Maté explains, our brains are especially influenced by our psychological environments, which are a reflection of society at large.39 To effectively deal with the widespread culture of stress that affects so many people in modern civilization, it’s vital that we look for ways to connect with one another and support our individual, and collective, social and emotional growth. For conditions within society, within families, and within individuals to improve, it’s imperative we work to heal and nourish the inner child within us all.
“The essence of trauma is disconnection from ourselves. Trauma is not terrible things that happen from the other side—those are traumatic. But the trauma is that very separation from the body and emotions. So, the real question is, “How did we get separated and how do we reconnect?” — Dr. Gabore Maté
The term “mind-body monism” refers to the oneness of physical and mental states. Since the 1980s, there’s been mounting evidence from researchers in the medical community to show that supportive techniques like group therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy have a significant impact on healing and disease prevention. Harvard, Columbia University, and UCLA are among a growing number of institutions that have created departments to study mind-body treatments. The idea that healing happens through all layers of human existence continues to gain greater acceptance.40 Today, we know that how we feel influences how we think and vice versa. This knowledge profoundly impacts our health. Along with nutrition, exercise, and sleep, emotions also play a major role in overall health. Stress has been found to be a primary cause for “dis-ease”. When the parasympathetic nervous system is active and the individual is in a relaxed state, the body has an innate ability to self-repair.
The notion of Quantum Healing is based on the mind-body connection. From the premise that all cells are conscious, Quantum Healing proposes the ability of humans to conduct conscious repair of their own bodies at a cellular, or subatomic, level. This burgeoning form of healing may come to combine with traditional and alternative methods of curative, preventive, and integrative medicine to arrive at a promising future for the health of all individuals.
The more that interdisciplinary approaches are developed to look at healing from a holistic perspective, the more that individuals and communities will experience the benefits of healthy living. Wherever healing is required, we must prioritize supportive environmental and interpersonal conditions. A supportive community is a central pillar to uphold a healthy culture. When encouraging conditions are established, then we are able to galvanize our internal powers of body and mind toward revitalization.
Erica Francesca Poli, The Anatomy of Healing: The Seven Principles of the New Integrated Medicine, p. 79
- The Power of Humility
- Healthy Habits
- Environmental Actors
- Economic Priorities
- Lessons Ahead