Each and Every Person is an International Centre for Environmental Health: We All Have a Part to Play

Download PDF

Fred O’Brien

An Arctic Contaminants Committee tour of the Territory of Nunavut commenced on January 12, 2004 with the purpose of disseminating its research findings in the newly formed (1999) Canadian northern jurisdiction. The multidisciplinary group visited 20 fly-in communities and sought to advise and engage in inclusive conversation the citizens of Nunavut on its public health message, including the implications for nutrition and environmental health. The Tour concluded on March 26, 2004.

Sylvia Cloutier of Iqaluit (second from right in photo), had a major role in the logistics of the visits, including organising flights, accommodation, community feasts and meetings. At one of the lay-overs she asked a question of Dr. James Talbot, Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) of Nunavut, related to a serious car accident she had had as a teenager some years previously. She explained that the tibia and fibula bones of her leg were broken, protruding through the skin, and there was much bleeding. Having had a recent x-ray, which indicated all was healed, she sought an explanation as to how that could be possible. The CMOH outlined the body defense and healing systems eloquently and left the group in awe!

On December 24, 2004, some nine months after the ‘contaminants’ committee tour ended, the world woke up to a devastating story of a disastrous earthquake and tsunami originating deep within the earth’s crust off Indonesia, with close on a quarter million deaths and great environmental damage. News spread rapidly and reaction was swift with help arriving from all around the world and even from those within the areas affected. A healing cycle at the global level was truly unfolding!

 

Reflecting on both stories recounted above some important truths are powerfully revealed:

The structure of animals is the work of a Master who is wise and loves the living   Niels Stensen (1638‑1686); and

Each and every person, made in the image and likeness of God, is called to be an International Centre for Environmental Health.

Reading the Signs of our Times

On April 27, 2014, Pope Francis canonized Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. Their lives are truly a testament to their living out faithfully the call imprinted in each and every human person by the Creator; and of encouragement to us to read the signs of the times in the creation itself. May we be inspired by their teaching and example and become true carers of one another and of the environment, our home.

Peace on Earth—which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after—can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order.

John XXIII Pacem in Terris No. 1

 

The Triune God …  giving himself in the Holy Spirit as gift to man, transforms the human world from within, from inside hearts and minds. Along this path the world, made to share in the divine gift, becomes… ever more human, ever more profoundly human.                         

John Paul II  Dominum et Vivificantem  No. 59

 

But ask the animals and they will teach you, the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.

Job 12: 7-10