This chapter explored the challenge of “Working Together for WHOLE Systems.” This work extends beyond individuals or singular perspectives to collective capacities for transformative change. The chapter applied Brown’s collective learning cycle to harness experience, capacities, and processes for change across individual, community, specialized, organizational, and holistic knowledge cultures (Brown, 2010). While recognizing the importance of collective processes for emergent knowledge and actions, there is also an important role for specific individuals with a set of orientations that enable and encourage opportunities to work together within the complex terrain of WHOLE systems. This chapter underscored the combination of boundary-crossing perspectives required for framing, fostering, and advancing WHOLE-systems approaches, and the potential role of a “specialized generalist” to progress this work. Opportunities are created when we combine an integrative turn (where Well-being and Health is oriented to Living Systems and Equity) with a collaborative turn (that asks "Who and How are we Open to Listen, and Engage/exchange?”)
In the face of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic or climate change, there is value in framing and revisiting first principles along with the kinds of tools and processes that can ensure that our collective efforts move beyond relief and recovery to reimagined, regenerative futures, including those oriented to WHOLE systems. This chapter provided principles, questions, guidelines, and points of reference relevant to a new era where addressing health and well-being challenges can be done in a way that prioritizes both living systems and equity - for the benefit of humans, other species, and our shared planetary home.
1. This chapter uses decapitalized versions of ecohealth, One Health and planetary health for several reasons. First, to differentiate these emerging fields from the trade- marked and branded uses of One Health (e.g. One World-One Health™), EcoHealth (the journal, and EcoHealth Alliance) and the Planetary Health Alliance. Second, to encourage recognition of the ‘maturing’ of each of these fields beyond their early origins (see Buse et al., 2018), noting that capitalization is often associated with aspirational claims to novelty and exceptionalism with newly coined terms, that become less relevant as fields become more well-established. In this way ecohealth, One Health, and planetary health are treated like other academic disciplines and fields of research, education and practice, that are generally not capitalized.
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