The Pathways to Planetary Health initiative recognizes that the wellbeing of people and Earth are deeply interconnected. Our work integrates what we know about planetary health from science with what we learn from contemplative practice across traditions.
We build on over 20 years of experience developing practical, scalable approaches to addressing pressing social and environmental challenges. We are part of what the Planetary Health Alliance calls “a solutions-oriented, transdisciplinary field and social movement focused on understanding and addressing the impacts of human disruptions to Earth’s natural systems on human health and all life on Earth.”
We convene leaders – at the beautiful and serene Garrison Institute and beyond – to launch new initiatives, build understanding across sectors, and deepen partnerships for planetary health. We create custom-designed events to facilitate exchange, such as roundtables, workshops, and symposiums.
We conduct applied research and strategically engage with decision makers to open pathways for action, develop the leading edge of new fields of thought, and gather momentum for new cross-sector efforts.
We develop leadership programs to create conditions for transformative learning and to grow awareness of agency, confidence, and relational systems thinking among leaders in society.
We weave contemplative practice throughout our work to strengthen connections, provide balance, and inspire action.
Our Work Is Guided by Four Pathways
Biodiversity Stewardship: Biodiversity is the ecological foundation of planetary health. The extraordinary variety and complexity of interdependent life on Earth generates adaptability and resilience. We partner with communities, NGOs, companies, and governments to evaluate and elevate biodiversity.
Ecological Cultures: Human systems for energy, food, buildings, transportation and other elements depend on, and impact, Earth. Many current activities – and the scales at which they occur – are not aligned with planetary health. Ecological cultures align human systems of thought, care, and behavior with ecological processes and Earth’s rhythms. We research and promote the development of ecological cultures that regenerate planetary health and improve the wellbeing of all life.
Regenerative Economies: We explore emerging economic systems that center on planetary health and align the wellbeing of financial systems, people, communities, and planet. Regenerative economies align our systems for determining and directing value with nature.
Common Good: The Commons is a recognition of shared responsibility across peoples, species, and generations. A Common Good ethic involves inclusion, inter-being, and mutuality. Value systems oriented to the Commons treat every element—from organisms in the soil to humanity itself—with reverence, respect, and care.
Pathways Advisory Council
Alexa Sutton Lawrence, PhD, is Senior Advisor for Climate in the Office of Global Operations with Peace Corps. She previously served as Vice President of Conservation, Justice & Equity at Ocean Conservancy and has worked as Senior Regional Director for the Southeast at The Wilderness Society.
Gus Speth is a Fellow at the Tellus Institute, The Democracy Collaborative (where he is Co-Chair of the Next System Project), and the Vermont Law School. He previously served as Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University; Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group from 1993-1999; Founder and President of the World Resources Institute; Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Co-Founder and Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Jonathan F.P. Rose is Co-Founder of The Garrison Institute and Founder of Jonathan Rose Companies LLC, a multidisciplinary real estate development and investment firm that addresses the challenges of declining ecologies and the poor distribution of opportunity through the development of green affordable and mixed-income housing. Mr. Rose also advises global cities on planning, affordable housing, environmental, and social issues. He serves as Chair of the Garrison Institute Board and founded the Pathways to Planetary Health initiative.
Melanie Goodchild, PhD, is Academic Director of Makwa Waakaa’igan with Algoma University in Baawaating. She is an Anishinaabe (Ojibway) systems thinking & complexity scholar, a self-declared geek. Dr. Goodchild is moose clan from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation in Robinson-Superior Treaty territory, Ketegaunseebee (Garden River First Nation) in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory, Couchiching First Nation in Treaty 3 and Aroland First Nation in Treaty 9. Her doctoral dissertation in Social & Ecological Sustainability was nominated for the prestigious Alumni Gold Medal award and is titled, "Niigani Miinigowiziiwin (we give these gifts to the future)."
Peter Senge is Co-Founder of the Center for Systems Awareness, and Senior Lecturer in Leadership & Sustainability with MIT. Peter has been at the forefront of organizational learning since publishing his classic text The Fifth Discipline, which provided theories and methods to foster aspiration, develop reflective conversation, and understand complexity in service of shaping learning-oriented organization cultures. Throughout his career, Peter has been asking, “how do we create the conditions for people to work together at their best, cultivating the innate systems intelligence that is our birthright but is all but lost in modern culture?”