On the Shelf: The Ecology of Nursing: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities | Free

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Reviewed by Marcia Lawrence

“The Ecology of Nursing: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities” by Didi Pershouse, Mycelium Books 2016, ISBN 9780692613030, paperback, 301 pages, $19.95.

Didi Pershouse, author and founder of the Center for Sustainable Medicine, has developed a practical and theoretical framework for systems-based ecological medicine. That is, the process of restoring the health of people, as well as the social and ecological systems that surround them. Pershouse connects the dots between soil health and public health and the role of beneficial microorganisms in maintaining a healthy climate inside and outside the body.

The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities is a fast-paced, perceptive journey through the author’s own life. It ranges from Pershouse, growing up with the neurosurgeon who accidentally discovered the location of memory in the brain, to her work in a smoky New York magazine office, to her career as an innovative acupuncturist in Vermont. Pershouse reveals her passion for close-knit communities, grazing cows and soil remediation as solutions to many of our plagues.

Join the ride as Pershouse shares her unique perspective on how the germ theory of disease, coupled with our for-profit economy, has happily led to the sterilization of medicine, agriculture, and our social fabric.

“By standing in the middle and looking at the whole, we can understand issues that once puzzled us. In order to heal the old rifts between science and religion, between man and nature, between ancient wisdom and new discoveries, we must become ever more aware of our common source. True healthcare will continue to rely on the intelligence of the whole.”

A century and a half of clear documentation of how we brought about this sterilization through the way we practice both medicine and agriculture sheds light on the near-destruction of our climate and the widening chasm that prevents meaningful social connection. By documenting a scientific understanding of the intelligence of it all, Pershouse shows us how to reclaim the rich and fruitful lives we are all capable of living.

Her look is hopeful. From Cuba to Saskatchewan, the author tells true stories of how the microbiome teaches us how to take care of people and planet at the same time.

Superbly clear and concise, with a deeply personal narrative, Pershouse combines hope with an informed and informed discussion of the grand challenges facing all life on earth. Pershouse presented at Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore a few years ago and was a featured speaker at Gail Fuller’s Fuller Field School in our area. The book is like meeting a really smart old friend. Everyone should read this book and learn about both their inner and outer microbiomes and some solid ideas and actions that we can all implement.

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