The radical act of thinking globally — at home

March 13, 2019
How could thinking globally improve our abilities to understand our region and ourselves? And how might local-global thinking help us make progress together?

I’m teaching a class at Haverford College that dives into these critical global citizenship questions. The global lens we’re employing is the new construct of planetary health. Planetary health considers how we could measure and improve upon human and ecological flourishing, all around the world. But instead of looking far away, the course focuses on the 30-mile radius around the college, where life expectancy gaps by neighborhood are larger than they are between Botswana (65.7 years) and Japan (83.7).

In North Philly’s 19132 ZIP code, average life expectancy is 65.7 years. In Society Hill (19106), life expectancy is 82.9 years. And in parts of Gladwyne (19035), just four miles to our northwest, life expectancy is 84.9 years. When we back up to look at the U.S. as a whole, we see that Pennsylvania’s average of 78.5 years is almost perfectly aligned with the national life expectancy of 78.6.

The gaps I share above aren’t special to Philly: Parts of rural America and other major cities actually have communities with life expectancies in the 50s. But that this occurs elsewhere does not make it right. Taking human dignity seriously, one must ask why comparatively similar people (people are people are people) have such radically different outcomes.

Continue this article by Eric Hartman, reposted from Generocity with permission, here. 

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