Nurture, not pollute, our brains to secure the future

Brain science-inspired policy continues to advance 

The OECD has invited Nobel laureates and many of the world’s leading thinkers from government, the private sector and academia to debate innovative approaches to the major questions facing humanity.  

60 multidisciplinary co-authors from 78 institutions across the world have come together to author the chapter “Build back brainer: base policies on brain science” in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD) latest book “A Systemic Recovery”. 

Alongside fellow Australian colleagues, IMPACT Director, Professor Michael Berk and Adjunct Professor Harris Eyre provided input into the chapter.  

The OECD book puts forward a new way of economic thinking and acting through a systemic approach could outline policy alternatives to tackle the global-scale systemic challenges of financial, economic, social and environmental emergencies, and help steer our recovery out of the current crisis.  

A systemic recovery requires an economic approach that balances several factors – markets and states, efficiency and resilience, growth and sustainability, national and global stability, short-term emergency measures and long-term structural change. To achieve this, we need to think beyond our policy silos, comprehend our interconnections, and build resilience into our systems. 

“This book marks an important moment in our global conversation about brain capital. As society and the global economy continues to recover from COVID, the brain science lens is unique and valuable. Many need recovery from emergent mental health challenges, isolation and long COVID. Combating mis- and disinformation is also an urgent priority in the digital age. IMPACT are proudly leading the way with this work.”

Professor Michael Berk

Sarah Dunlop PhD, Head of Plastics and Human Health at Minderoo Foundation and co-author of the chapter says, “The choice is ours: Continue trashing our brains, and our children’s, with chemical pollution and with it the future. Or stop the pollution and secure all life on Earth – including the future of humanity and civilisation.” 

The Minderoo Foundation Plastics & Human Health program has assembled authoritative and credible evidence and is collaborating with experts around the world in the shared aim to investigate and highlight the negative impacts of plastic on our health. The program is revealing the impacts of plastics on human health by harnessing research literature and supporting clinical research infrastructure to inform government policy and the redesign of plastics by the plastics industry. 

Hon Jay Weatherill AO, Director of Thrive by Five of the Minderoo Foundation, and former Premier of South Australia also coauthored the chapter. He noted “With the extra pressure modern life imposes, some are overwhelmed or stranded in a desert of low-skilled jobs and/or limited job opportunities. We need to think about how to help these individuals flourish in life and in their communities. Brain capital is an innovative approach to solving these issues.” 

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