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  • Writer's pictureLouise Carnachan

The Greater Good

Public health is a scientific and technical, as well as a social (my bolding) and political, endeavor that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of communities or populations. Oregon Health Authority Public Health Terminology

A number of years ago, I lived on Orcas Island which has just over 5,000 residents. It’s a gorgeous place in the San Juan Island chain off the Washington state coast. After the 2008 financial collapse and subsequent recession, I recall conversations among locals about managing as an island community if it got to the point of civil unrest on the mainland. I was surrounded by back-to-the-land types who could garden, sew, build houses, fix everything from computers to cars, and even provide healthcare—the practical talents. Me? I can’t even bake bread from scratch. My skills are: teaching, coaching, writing, and facilitating groups. Not exactly the stuff of survival.

You may be working from home or furloughed. Perhaps you have scientific, technical, or other practical skills you can provide for a fee, or for free. But some of you may feel you have nothing of substance to offer. Let me assure you, you do. You can help on the social front to improve community wellbeing. A word of thanks to a grocery store checker or shelf stocker, a reassuring comment to a coworker, a wave and smile to a stranger (from 6 feet away), funny images sent to friends, initiating physically distanced “socials,” cooking and having dinner via video with a family member or friend you can’t be with right now. Maybe you’re an artist and can show your work to inspire others. I have a friend who, every morning, posts one of her beautiful collages on social media.

What gifts do you have to offer during this strange time of COVID-19? Please comment in the box below.

Sending you appropriately physically distanced encouragement—and a reminder that if you do things to help others, you’ll feel better.

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Apr 26, 2020

Yes, it's all too easy for many of us to feel "non-essential" at this time, but you're right that even small contributions to the greater good are contributions.

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