It’s been a long time coming for physiotherapists and the physiotherapy profession as a whole to take a stand in relation to the environmental crises of our time and support the global movement to an environmentally sustainable and responsible future.
Following the recent publication of ‘A call for a new environmental physiotherapy – An editorial’, the Environmental Physiotherapy Association (EPA) has been formed with the aim to advance environmental awareness and responsibility in physiotherapy research, practice, and education (Maric & Nicholls, 2019).
The EPA is grounded on the recognition that physiotherapy always takes place on a planetary scale, and must therefore be thought of and practised ecologically. This is to say that it is not possible to think human health and functioning without simultaneously thinking about the health of our planetary environment. And further, that if it is not possible to think the one without the other, it is also not possible to practise the one without simultaneously practising the other.
Despite our profession’s historical neglect of such broader topics, the association is also founded on the belief that the physical therapies can make a valuable and significant contribution to human and planetary health alike that will help the global transition to an environmentally sustainable future.
It has been pointed out that the task ahead requires an outright paradigm shift, as much as change at all levels of healthcare and society, so much remains to be done as we develop this field and take deliberate action (Crutzen & Schwägerl, 2011; Myers, 2017).
If you are interested in supporting this movement toward an environmentally aware and responsible physiotherapy, whether through active contributions or simply by keeping up-to-date and adding your voice to the call, you can join the Environmental Physiotherapy Assocation (EPA) for free by signing up on the webpage contact form. You can also download a pdf version of Maric & Nicholls (2019) editorial calling for an environmental physiotherapy for free and find a quickly growing number of blogposts and resources on the assocations website.
And if you want to get involved in an even more active manner, the EPA seeks to encourage contributions from, and collaborations with, academics, clinicians, educators, researchers and, students as we work towards our aims and objectives. This can include getting active in grassroots activism, social media, researching and teaching, publishing in academic journals, presenting at international conferences, planting trees, hugging animals, or just promoting the study and practice of environmental physiotherapy.
- Maric, F. & Nicholls, D. (2019). A call for a new environmental physiotherapy – An editorial, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 35:10, 905-907, DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2019.1632006
- Crutzen, P.J. & Schwägerl, C. (2011). Living in the anthropocene: Toward a new global ethos. Yale Environment 360: New Haven, CT
- Myers, S. (2017). Planetary health: protecting human health on a rapidly changing planet. The Lancet, 390, 2860-2868. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32846-5