Responding to Climate Change

Posted on 08. Apr, 2011 by in Environmental Health, Green Healthcare, Healthcare Consulting, Sustainability, Sustainability in Healthcare, Toxic Exposure

We are familiar with the idiom in the information technology world, “Garbage in, Garbage Out”.  The same concept is at work in our environment: what we put into our soil, water and air comes back not only to us, but to our children and future generations.  This idea of connection was also the premise of the Great Law of the Iroquois:  “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

As we contemplate the current state of the environment, we can be easily lulled back into complacency by the enormity of our challenges, and the belief that one person can’t possibly make a difference.  However, our perspective is the key in understanding how we got here, and the way forward.

It has taken us an industrial age and then some to get here, and it will take just as much time, if not more, to correct the course.  Just like weight gain, it didn’t happen overnight.  And as much as we desire the magic bullet or pill, we struggle in our acceptance that the way forward is through changing our behavior, thinking and beliefs over the long term.  This type of change doesn’t have to be as difficult as we may think.

We’ve successfully responded to environmental crises before.  Remember the hole in the ozone back in the 70’s?  Aerosolized anything fell out of favor, which was driven by individual decisions to refrain from using such products.  And so, the “little things” we already do today – reusable shopping bags, pesticide-free produce, choosing products without bisphenol-A, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, insulating our windows and doors, to name just a few, are making a difference.  You just may not know it, because you can’t yet see it.  Indeed, you may not see the significance of these seemingly small, everyday changes in your lifetime.  But history teaches us that what we do today determines the future.  We just have to believe it.

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