Karlo Berger
Whole Health Solutions, LLC
236 Fourth Street
Providence, RI 02906 USA

Phone: 401-383-0661
Fax: 413-431-9087

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Home > Publications > Does Your Practice Walk the Walk on Climate Change?

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 practice. 

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.

Make sure you’re not just preaching environmentalism but putting your own lifestyle in right relationship with Mother Earth.  Do you really need to travel great distances to attend that wellness retreat?  Where does the food on your table come from and how is it produced?  Meditate for your personal growth, but also meditate on your place in the web of life, and the important thing to do right now as someone living in a country responsible for producing one quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases.  In these ways, not only will you be doing your part to help address global warming, but you will be taking your healing practice in a direction that is more authentic, more grounded in the reality of climate change, and perhaps more personally sustainable and satisfying.


Published originally in the 2008 edition of the Rhode Island Health & Wellness Guide.

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