Repost: Why Your Health Is Bigger Than Your Body

Why Your Health Is Bigger Than Your Body

Thanks to Eric Towler for posting this article from YES magazine on Facebook.

There is a link between health, economics, politics, and ecology.

[Dr. Ted Schettler,] the Harvard-educated physician, frustrated by the limitations of science in combating disease, believes that finding answers to the most persistent medical challenges of our time—conditions that now threaten to overwhelm our health care system—depends on understanding the human body as a system nested within a series of other, larger systems: one’s family and community, environment, culture, and socioeconomic class, all of which affect each other.

It is a complex, even daunting view—where does one begin when trying to solve problems this way?

Currently getting over a case of Lyme disease, Schettler notes that the condition wasn’t even on the radar three decades ago. Likewise, West Nile Virus. And dengue fever, first identified in the late 18th century, has soared since the 1960s, now infecting up to 100 million people worldwide each year.

“Can there be any doubt that human health is enormously dependent on ecological systems that we are having a major influence on?” Schettler says. “It’s all one world. Our tendency to describe the natural world as something without humans is part of the problem.”

Click the link to read on. Farm policy, obesity, diabetes, pesticides, Parkinson’s disease, inequality, asthma, breast cancer, DDT, school lunches, lead poisoning, iron deficiencies, hospital food, medical waste… There are a lot of dots being connected.

Making a difference: An invitation to try Kiva and get $25 to lend

I’ve been making microfinance loans for several years now through Kiva. It gives me an amazingly good feeling to lend $25 along with a bunch of other people from around the world to help someone struggling in poverty get ahead and to receive updates on their repayment status.

I could be in their shoes. After all, isn’t every person just another version of me?

I’ve made 15 loans so far, to people in Benin, Ecuador, several in Peru, Kenya, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Pakistan, and Nigeria. The one to Pakistan took a long time to repay, and I could infer from reading the news why. That country was in quite a bit of turmoil right after I made that loan.

I’ve lent to individuals and groups, men and women of various ages. One was to a Costa Rican mother of four and grandmother, very stylish, who is a talented seamstress and dressmaker. Maria also teaches sewing classes. Her loan, now repaid, was for a better sewing machine for making alterations. Here’s her photo. Doesn’t she look competent?

I am discerning about the reason they want a loan. I’d rather lend money to someone who is creating something or offering a skilled service than if they are reselling Pepsi. Who needs Pepsi?

Several of my loan recipients have done embroidering, weaving, sewing, and tailoring — which require real skills. Others have been in food and agriculture — food stalls, dairy, livestock, fruits and vegetables.

Aside: I wish Kiva would identify the people who are raising livestock, dairy animals, and crops organically. I’d like to encourage that kind of agriculture. That food might end up on my table someday, or yours. Wouldn’t you  prefer organic? Couldn’t the whole world return to growing our food organically?

When loans are repaid, I relend the money. You can also take it out of Kiva if you want. I usually give Kiva a little extra for their operating expenses. That part is tax-deductible as a charitable donation.

Anyway, this is by way of inviting you to make a loan through Kiva. Right now, if any friend of mine joins Kiva for the first time, we both get $25 to  lend. 

All you have to do is click this link to go to my personal invitation page. Find a borrower you like, click “Lend $25,” and follow the instructions from there.

I just used my free $25 to lend Zilola in Spitamen, Tajikistan, some of the $600 needed for her to buy a computer. This mother of three, who works at  a sewing workshop, plans to offer computer services to generate more income for her family. She’s had a little training in business and computer use. Her children will benefit and will help her with this business.

Sounds like a forward-thinking, savvy mom to me.

Actually, the money has been pre-disbursed by a local microfinance operation that works with Kiva as a field partner. The nuts and bolts of microfinance are sophisticated.

IMON International has a four-star risk rating, has partnered with Kiva for over 4 years, and has made over 6,000 microloans totaling $7.5 million in Tajikistan with a default rate of 0.03%.

That seems pretty sound to me.

My loan actually goes to IMON to replace the money they’ve already lent to Zilola. I will get updates on Zilola’s repayment. (Note: The recipient I originally chose, Hout, worked with a Kiva field partner that did not meet Kiva’s standard for participating in this special offer, so if you read this post twice, I’ve replaced Hout’s info with Zilola’s.)

However the money flows, it is doing good, and I feel more connected to this amazing planet we call home.

I make microfinance loans through Kiva because it makes me feel good to help others. My heart connects to their lives and their dreams of lifting themselves and their children out of poverty, of living fuller, more satisfying lives in their families, communities, and world. I want that too.

Their stories become part of my story.

If you’d like to participate in Kiva and start with a gift of $25 to lend, just click this link.