In honor of the New Year, I share here a poem by the artist, author and educator Judy Chicago. I am inspired in particular by the last part of this poem, and by the idea that as health and wellness improve and flourish in our homes and communities, the medical-care delivery economy must, inevitably, shrink. More beans and greens means fewer dialysis centers. Fewer food deserts, fewer heart attacks. More physical activity, less depression.
Some hospital CEOs I know are beginning to call on urban planners and commercial realtors to imagine communities where individuals walk to work, stop home for lunch, and then return to finish their workday. They have begun to re-envision life on a human scale, instead of an automotive one. Days in which it would be hard NOT to walk 10,000 steps. Lives in which it then becomes so much harder to become obese, hypertensive or diabetic.
And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another’s will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then will cherish life’s creatures
And then all will live in harmony with one another and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.