At the core of nursing is the understanding that when we create the right environment, nature not only can heal itself, but it is an essential partner in human health. Human health and the health of the planet are inseparable.
As nurses, we solemnly pledge to work to protect the health of people, their communities, and the planet. We pledge to maintain the utmost respect for human life and the diversity of life on Earth, and for the natural systems which support all life. We pledge to advocate for equity and justice by actively addressing environmental, social, and structural determinants of health, envisioning a transition to a society that places the wellbeing of all persons, in balance with nature, at its heart. We pledge to address the climate and ecological crisis in our actions at home, in our communities, and in our profession, to protect the planet and all of its lifeforms for current and future generations.
What is Planetary Health?
Planetary health is an ancient way of knowing embraced by Indigenous Peoples around the world. It is also an emerging field of transdisciplinary science and global activism.
The School of Nursing's recognized work in the area of climate mitigation and adaptation, positions us as a thought leader in the field and provides opportunities for new areas of research, teaching, and service. Dr. Teddie Potter was appointed the School of Nursing’s first Director of Planetary Health in 2019.
In all areas and all activities, the School of Nursing will work to ensure that nursing is visible and recognized for our profession’s historical contributions and alignment with planetary health. Nursing’s systems thinking is essential if we are to create the necessary healing opportunities for individuals and the planet.
Planetary Health Nursing Education
Transforming nursing curriculum through application of the Planetary Health Education Framework. The vision is to prepare nurses around the world to conduct research, educate, advocate, and practice in ways that support planetary health. The Planetary Health Nursing Education model includes: the Planetary Health Concept for Nursing ©, and a Planetary Health Education Framework and Nursing Essentials Crosswalk ©. For access to the crosswalk contact email@example.com
Featured Video and Climate Action Guide for Nurses
As the largest workforce in one of the most carbon intensive industries in the world, the power of nurses is urgently needed to help mobilize emissions reduction in U.S. health care.
DNP student Kasey Bellegarde collaborated with Dr. Paul West, a Senior Scientist at Project Drawdown to develop the Climate Action Guide for Nurses, a resource that lifts up examples of evidence-based, high impact solutions for nurses to mobilize decarbonization in the health sector.
The introductory video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/zJJ_HgKuUSE.
The guide can be accessed here: Climate Action Guide for Nurses
Please spread the news of this important resource far and wide!!
- Decarbonizing Health Care - An Urgent Challenge and Opportunity for All
- Indigenous Perspectives on Planetary Health
- In It Together: Promoting Planetary Health (Webinar)
- Inspiring Change by Living Sustainably
- Planetary Health Pledge
- Sam Myers 2019 Commencement Address
- Sao Paulo Declaration on Planetary Health
- The Promise of Planetary Health
- Nurses Drawdown: Nurses Call the World to Action
- Climate Justice: Addressing Climate and Health through an Equity Lens
- Navigating the Mental Health Impacts of Climate Change
- Creating Climate Smart Health Care
- School of Nursing YouTube Channel
Planetary Health Resources
An interprofessional Response Curriculum helps learners understand the connection between climate and health, and that it is essential for health professionals of all disciplines.
Read full descriptions for the 12 cross-cutting principles—a set of guiding principles that educators teaching planetary health at any level should strive to impart upon their students.
The Planetary Health Education Framework aims to guide the education of global citizens, practitioners, and professionals able and willing to address the complex Planetary Health challenges of our world today.
We, the global planetary health community , raise an alarm that the ongoing degradation of our planet’s natural systems is a clear and present danger to the health of al l people everywhere.
Clinical Professor Teddie Potter, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, who serves as the director of planetary health for the School of Nursing, was appointed to the inaugural advisory committee of Climate Crossroads, a major climate initiative from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Kelsey Wirth, MBA, board chair and co-founder of Mothers Out Front, delivered the third annual Planetary Health Guest Lectureship, Building the Power We Need to Create a Better World for our Children.
Kelsey Wirth, board chair and co-founder of Mothers Out Front, will deliver the third annual Planetary Health Guest Lectureship, Building the Power We Need to Create a Better World for our Children.
"It is often thought that medicine is the curative process. It is no such thing; medicine is the surgery of functions, as surgery is that of limbs and organs. Neither can do anything but remove obstructions; neither can cure, nature alone cures. Surgery removes the bullet out of the limb, which is an obstruction to cure, but nature heals the wound. So, it is with medicine; the function of an organ becomes obstructed; medicine, so far as we know, assists nature to remove the obstruction, but does nothing more. And what nursing has to do in either case is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him."
Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing (p. 133)
Indigenous Knowledge Recognition
The Dakota People and the Ojibwe People are the original indigenous people of Minnesota. Their knowledge, traditions, and community life ways make them the planetary health experts for this place. We recognize and honor their knowledge as a necessary requirement for a sustainable and healthy future.
School of Nursing Land and Trauma Acknowledgement
We acknowledge that the School of Nursing at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota is built within the traditional homelands of the Dakota People. We recognize the longstanding relationship between the land and the Dakota people- the traditional stewards of this land. We also acknowledge the violence of colonialism and ongoing racism toward Indigenous People. We are growing in our realization that the health care system, meant to protect and heal people, has supported structures of racism and colonization causing ongoing trauma and health inequities.
As part of the process to heal the land and the community, we reflect on these questions:
- What are our obligations to the people who first inhabited this land?
- How do we figure out what our responsibilities are to this land?
- How can we be good guests here?
- How can we individually and as a School, continue to work toward true equity and decolonization?
- How can we support existing local struggles?
- How can we work together to promote the School of Nursing’s vision to ensure optimal health and wellbeing for all people and the planet?
By living here, working here and using the resources of this place, and in this moment, we now participate in this experience.
(Adapted from Fairfield Gonzales Community Association and the University of Western Ontario.)
- The Planetary Health Education Framework
- Sao Paulo Declaration for Planetary Health
- Institute on the Environment
- Health Innovation and Leadership DNP specialty
- Nurses Drawdown
- Planetary Health Alliance
- London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's Center on Climate Change and Planetary Health
- 2022 Planetary Health Report Card