Animal Doctor: Earth care, public health and pet care all connected | Lifestyles

Dear Dr. Fox: Thank you very much for your wisdom. Your words are a breath of fresh air in these dark times. Your activism and compassion are deeply appreciated. —SO, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Dear SW: Your words of appreciation and support are welcome in these trying times, when I see so much inhumanity, stupidity and selfishness causing harm on so many fronts. One of the essays on my website ( lays out some of the major issues we face and how they might be resolved.

Like Dr. Albert Schweitzer – whose philosophy of respect for life is the ethical, scientific and spiritual basis of the One Health movement – said: “Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living beings, man himself will not find peace.” Nor will we find health.

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Dear Dr. Fox: Headlines keep repeating that we must “slow climate change”, but no one will admit that it is too late. Global climate change is not coming; it’s here. But we keep wasting time talking about slowing the destruction when we should be making plans to survive the catastrophic changes.

The Earth exceeded its carrying capacity more than two decades ago. Famine is a daily occurrence; wars are endless, ever increasing in size and destruction; diseases can circle the globe in less than 72 hours. Yet humanity continues to have a myopic belief that we can save the planet.

It can be saved, but not by the puny plans of today’s politicians and bureaucrats. The only thing that would cure the planet would be the elimination of half of the human race. Time has passed, the game is stacked against us, and nature never loses.

Nature abhors imbalance and our planet has been badly damaged by the careless actions of humans over the centuries. Rebalancing by natural events is nothing new, and if we paid attention to history, we would know. Disasters such as hurricanes, fires and floods rearrange the natural state. Opportunistic diseases are decimating populations of the human and animal kingdoms. Nature will use all available resources to restore the balance, and we’re crazy to think we can “tame” it.

It doesn’t mean a dystopian “Mad Max” scenario, but it does mean a lot of pain and loss. The real test will be whether or not we can learn to temper our worst instincts and build a world where we live in close harmony with nature. If we persist in trying to “fix” climate change (and all the other problems we have created) while clinging to old-fashioned governments and religious systems, it will never work.

The Achilles heel of humanity is that we never learn from history and are therefore doomed to repeat it. —LDY, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Dear LDY: Many readers will find your synopsis of the “human condition” confirming their worldview, while others will see it as a depressing and fatalistic diatribe against human progress. Others may argue that none of this belongs in a veterinarian-syndicated newspaper column. But for some time I have sought to use this column to broaden people’s understanding of the links between animal, human and environmental health.

The animal, vegetable, micro-organism and mineral kingdoms are interdependent and connected by the network of life which comprises the planetary biosphere. These realms and their connections are threatened by the expanding, biosphere-disrupting and desecrating “anthroposphere” created by modern industrial civilization. No man is an island. Many people, young and old, are aware of this and suffer from what is now medically recognized as eco-anxiety.

But there is hope. We can all do something, starting with educating ourselves about the scientific, medical, ethical, economic, social and political solutions that can be adopted for the common good. For inspiring signs of international action advancing the concept and practice of One Health, check out this list of resources compiled by veterinarian Dr. Cheryl Stroud:

We have surely come to the end of the beginning, and must now choose: Either evolve or continue on the path of suffering, destruction and extinction of the life and beauty of our planet. In particular, individual egocentrism and collective anthropocentrism in religious traditions and political ideologies must be removed to help achieve a more ecocentric and empathetic way of life.

Send all mail to [email protected] or Dr. Michael Fox c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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