A Travel Scholar Reflection by Dr. Ormea

Dr. Veronica Ormea is a Professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Peruvian University of Applied Science

I will start by saying that the conference was a complete experience focused on “Planetary Health”. In every corner, every speech and presentation you could feel the intention to work for a better planet and to grow the interest for a conscious way of living. The speakers, with their different points of view, were from different ranges. I was impressed with the topic “indigenous voice” and with the empowering speech of people like Elder Francois Paulette and with the emotional and sensitive presentation of Maria Westerbos, just to name some. As a Peruvian, I connected immediately with the words of Elder. Earth is our mother, called Pachamama, and as our mother we should respect and honour her. Maria with her projections made me realized the importance of the Sea, not only as a way of recreation and a living place for organisms, but as a planet (referring as the blue planet), a place to connect with your childhood, adolescent and family memories.

Another very important activity that I think differentiate this conference with others, is the introduction of morning sports or Yoga. The best way to get attention to the speeches with a concentrated mind and a friendly attitude is when connecting your body with movement, breathing and nature. If we as a society compromise to do sports or concious movements all the days of the year, our attitude towards global problems (pollution, violence, discrimination, neurological disorders, depressions, etc) will be different.

I would take my participation to the conference further. I am a profesor at the Neuroscience Master at the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University. In September this year, I would talk about “Climate Change and Mental Health” and “Urbanization and Mental Health.” It will be a way to introduce master students on the Planetary Health concept and an opportunity to raise awareness about a better quality of life. Also, as a Yoga Instructor, I am proving with my example, that doing sports and spending time on green areas, has a positive effect on reducing stress.

Finally, I would like to mention that I am more than thankful to the organizers for the invitation and for the opportunity to attend as a travel scholar. I met people from different disciplines, professors from around the world, scientists working on different fields, and students that would like to be part of this movement. I listened to their expectations, wishes and concerns, and even though we might be kilometers away from each other, we can realize that our respect for mother earth can unify us.

What I can keep from this opportunity is that we as human beings are connected to mother earth the same way we are connected to each other.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Planetary Health Alliance or its members.

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Planetary Health Alliance

Generating better understanding of the links between accelerating global environmental change and human health to support policy making and public education