Sustainable Medicine Manifesto

  1. Sustainable Medicine is inherently sustainable
    • It does not deplete resources or excessively drain one part of the whole to benefit another
    • It does not add to the toxic waste stream, creating further illness
    • It is affordable to learn, to practice and to use
    • Care is available to all parts of the system
  2. Sustainable Medicine recognizes that we are part of something larger than ourselves: a complex system, known to us
    as the universe, the ecosystem, the web of life, or Gaia

    • This system seeks balance, and is constantly changing
  3. Sustainable Medicine sees the body as its own ecosystem, and recognizes that all parts of a system are linked and
    collaborative

    • Our bodies are a micro-system, reflective of and included within the whole
  4. Sustainable Medicine teaches that the health of the environment is intricately linked to the health of our bodies
    • Therefore, to care for the environment is part of caring for ourselves and others
  5. From the perspective of Sustainable Medicine, connection with the ecosystem is essential to health. Disease is a
    manifestation of lack of connection.

    • Each disconnection that occurs leads to a loss of power, integrity, flexibility and energy—both for that
      part and for the whole system.
    • This lack of connection separates us from ourselves, each other, and the source of our life
  6. Therefore, to create health, one must restore connection. Sustainable Medicine does this by:
    • Acknowledging that networks, relationships and communities exist at every level
    • Facilitating deep communication, understanding and cooperation within and between them
    • Respecting the integrity and wisdom of community networks by using local medicines and knowledge whenever
      possible and appropriate.
    • Reconnecting people with the inherent wisdom and support of the social and
      natural communities that surround them
  7. Sustainable Medicine operates best in environments that are fertile, rather than sterile
    • It does this by encouraging honest, open-hearted, and evenly-balanced relationships between healers and
      the communities they serve
    • And by recognizing that healthy communities are built through relationship, including cross-pollination of
      ideas, populations and coping mechanisms to create the diversity and flexibility that ensures survival in
      times of crisis
  8. Health depends also on our ability to honor wildness, which has its own wisdom and integrity
    • Sustainable Medicine therefore seeks to restore the integrity, power and sanctity of wild places—from the
      internal flora and fauna of the body, to the microorganisms of the soils, to the vast tracts of wilderness
      that plants, animals and fungi depend on for survival, diversity and well-being
  9. Sustainable Medicine is pattern-based in its thought and action
    • When disease occurs, Sustainable Medicine gathers information from the whole system, looking for patterns
      and cycles, not just individually occurring symptoms
    • When looking at a single part, it looks deeply: for within each part, the whole is reflected as well
    • In its treatments, Sustainable Medicine works within the patterns and cycles of nature, recognizing that
      the system, when allowed to move freely and without obstruction, will naturally flow towards balance
    • Sustainable Medicine also respects and accepts that cycles of growth, decline, transformation, and
      regeneration are natural and essential to the health and balance of the entire system
  10. Sustainable Medicine is “slow” medicine
    • It begins with deep listening and understanding
    • It allows time for deep and lasting cures

Didi Pershouse, 2007
The Center for Sustainable Medicine

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