The Arctic is experiencing environmental, social, and economic changes at an historically unprecedented rapid rate. This poses great challenges and simultaneously great opportunities to operationalize paradigm shifts supporting adaptation and resilience to these changes and which can then serve as a management model for similar changes that are occurring more gradually on a global scale. Addressing these issues effectively requires a novel approach, integrating knowledge across disciplines and cultures and recognizing the interdependence of human, animal, and environmental health. This concept, always central to the Indigenous worldview, has recently been recognized in Western science as One Health.
One Health was originally developed as a means of understanding how zoonotic diseases, such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, arise.
Between 65% and 70% of emerging diseases in humans are of zoonotic origin. The way we impact our environment and how this influences human-animal interactions play a significant role in how these diseases develop and spread.
Health is more than the absence of disease and can be defined as a state of well-being for individuals and their communities. Under this definition, well-being encompasses physical, mental, behavioral, cultural, and spiritual health.
Applying this holistic approach to the One Health paradigm allows us to bring in expertise across natural and social sciences and connect Western science with traditional Indigenous ways of knowing.
Such a broad and deep integration of knowledge and experience provides opportunities for understanding large issues like food safety, security, and sovereignty at their roots, and for engaging stakeholders to build effective solutions.