Does Your Practice "Walk the Walk" on Climate Change?
We holistic caregivers certainly can talk the talk
about the importance of nature. We
appreciate the sacredness of our planet, we are attuned to the
environmental causes of illness, and we believe in more earth-friendly
lifestyles such as eating organic foods and shopping locally.
But in the face of the threat of climate change,
can we walk the walk and redesign our healthcare practices in ways that
sustain the planet? Here
are three strategies that all those who practice more natural forms of
healing should consider following:
Work towards a zero emissions healthcare
Examine what you can do to reduce the environmental
impact of your healthcare practice.
If you can, walk or bicycle to work, or take public transit. You can even offer discounts to people who take public
transit instead of driving to your office.
Focus your marketing efforts on attracting local clients.
When appropriate, make referrals to other local healthcare
practitioners. If you use
herbal medicine, massage oils, or natural supplements in your practice,
check to see if they were made in ways that are kind to the planet.
Ideally, purchase products that are produced locally, not shipped
in from across the world. If
you can, use energy efficient lighting and natural cleaning products in
your office, and be sure to include CO2-consuming plants (for
offices with little natural light, I recommend peace lilies, which also
purify the air). Consider
purchasing carbon offsets for the electricity you use and for the gas
that you estimate is used for you and/or your clients to travel to your
healing space. If you can
demonstrate that your practice is a zero or near-zero emissions one,
your clients will be impressed and inspired, and that may well lead to
more referrals from them.
Help your clients make the connection between
their personal health and the health of the planet.
You know that, as a holistic caregiver, your work
with clients offers opportunities for their personal transformation.
When you finish your sessions, they may be more receptive than
ever to the idea that healing the planet and healing the self are two
sides of the same coin. Advertise
and promote local and sustainable products and services in your waiting
room. Give out cards
listing your top ten environmental websites.
Donate a gift certificate for a local environmental group to
auction off. When
appropriate, encourage your clients to be in nature or to garden as a
physical or rehabilitative exercise.
Encourage walking too, or using public transport—anything but
solo driving which, in addition to gas guzzling, can be stressful and
not great for the back.
Walk the walk.
Published originally in the 2008 edition of the Rhode Island Health & Wellness Guide.