Welcome Heather Castleden - Impact Chair in Transformative Governance for Planetary Health

Welcome to Heather Castleden joining UVic as the Impact Chair in Transformative Governance for Planetary Health!

What can we collectively do to foster Planetary Health and achieve high health, wellbeing, equity objectives while supporting a flourishing Earth natural system on which our lives depends?

‘We need to reconcile the damage we have done to move towards socially and environmentally just governance structures that draw from multiple knowledge-systems from the local to the global. The defining issue of our time is anthropogenic climate change. Of all the extractive natural resource industries operating across the Canadian landscape, non-renewable energy development and the combustion of fossil fuels are causing the most significant and irreversible climatic impacts. The changing climate is our planet’s response – Mother Earth’s response – to our misguided attempts to colonize the globe. Economic growth through resource exploitation and our global dependence on fossil fuels must radically transform to ensure the health of future generations and our planet. Indigenous peoples have adapted to local environments for millennia. Place-based knowledge systems, embedded in and communicated through language, especially stories, situate Indigenous peoples in a deep understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence with the natural world. I see the role of the Impact Chair in Transformative Governance for Planetary Health as being a major contributor to a just energy transition by catalyzing collaborations across sectors, conducting cross-jurisdictional and international research, and critiquing intersectoral strategies. We also need to foster mutually respectful Indigenous-settler relations in multiple institutional environments by deploying decolonizing approaches to support the reform of institutional policies and practices.’

Heather Castleden has been doing, for two decades, community-based participatory Indigenous research, which has involved inclusive and collaborative planning with Indigenous peoples, communities, organizations, and governments across the country on their priorities that align with her scholarly and applied expertise in environment, health, social justice, and decolonization. She is currently nominated principal investigator on an ‘Environment and Health’ Signature Initiative Team Grant funded by CIHR titled ‘A SHARED Future: Achieving Strength, Health, and Autonomy through Renewable Energy for the Future’ (http://asharedfuture.ca/). She is also principal investigator on the Ontario-based Indigenous Mentorship network program: Mno Nimkodadding Geegi: We Are All Connected. She has published over 80 peer reviewed articles and recently co-edited a special issue in Global Health Promotion on Indigenous perspectives promoting planetary health, health equity, and sustainable development now and for future generations.

Heather Castleden has a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Alberta (2007). She held two Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Victoria, one funded by the CIHR Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research (NEAHR) and the other by SSHRC. She entered the tenure-track in 2009 at Dalhousie University in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies. She held the Canada Research Chair in Reconciling Relations for Health, Environments and Communities at Queen’s University, where she was also Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, Graduate Chair in the Department of Gender Studies, and the Research Director of the Health, Environment, and Communities Lab (http://heclab.com/). She is also a recent recipient of a Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Social Sciences at the University of Hawaii (at Mañoa).

Heather Castleden is joining UVic and the School of Public Administration, starting July 1st! Welcome Heather!