Sustainability, broadly defined as the capacity to endure, has become a wide-ranging term that can be applied to almost every facet of life on earth, from …
Sustainability, broadly defined as the capacity to endure, has become a wide-ranging term that can be applied to almost every facet of life on earth, from a local to a global scale. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources. The incorporation of sustainability within the practice of medicine and dentistry is a newly emerging model of healthcare that ideally will be available to all persons and is good for people and the environment.
Sustainable healthcare is the practice of medicine and dentistry that recognizes the link between the environment, medicine and human health and seeks to provide better healthcare while protecting our limited environmental and medical resources. The sustainable, green approach to healthcare is much more comprehensive and more beneficial than a holistic approach alone. The following are the basic principles of ecologically sustainable medicine:
– Safe and harmless – Clean and non-toxic – Cost-effective – Non-polluting – Adaptable and flexible – Accessible to all people – Renewable – Protective of the quality of life on earth, the environment and earth’s natural resources – Synergistic with human health and planetary well-being – Connected with the web of life
Conventional healthcare, in contrast, focuses on cure and specialization, costing more money and often limiting care to only those who can afford it. Conventional medicine places emphasis on treating the end points of disease rather than employing the precautionary principle and focusing on prevention and the link between human health and the environment. In addition, conventional healthcare consumes huge quantities of resources, which are becoming scarce and many of the waste products of healthcare actually do harm. The over-prescribing and misuse of pharmaceuticals, the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals, the incineration of bio-hazardous waste and the utilization of medical products containing environmental toxins, poses a serious threat to human health. There is an undeniable connection between our health and the environment. The environment, both locally and globally, both indoors and out, is a primary determinant to your health. The WHO (World Health Organization) puts the value of clean air, clean water and healthy land for uncontaminated food and recreation close to 60% of the primary basis for a healthy life, affecting you just as much as your genetic makeup!
The implementation of sustainable medicine and dentistry lies in two directions. One is the way of prevention, health promotion, and a public health priority. Here the focus will be on reducing the social and environmental problems that are now reckoned to be the most significant source of illness, disease, and premature death. The other direction is toward greater personal responsibility for health, laying upon individuals a far stronger obligation, backed by appropriate social and economic incentives, to take care of their health and simultaneously, laying upon society a stronger obligation to change those social and economic institutions that generate, or abet, poor health (D.
How can you incorporate sustainable healthcare into your everyday life?
– Eat healthy food, preferably organic and locally grown – Engage in regular exercise, preferably outdoors, walk to places – Rest regularly – Understand your local environment (where are places for you to engage in active recreation, where are places that have hazards or risks that should be avoided) – Purchase supplements and medications in small amounts (everything you buy has to be disposed of if unused) – Choose personal care products (PCPs) that are natural and non-toxic (the improper disposal and overuse of PCPs and pharmaceuticals are posing a serious threat to our municipal water system and the ecosystem) – Only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary and listen to your doctor – Seek practitioners that endorse sustainable medicine and dentistry.
At ORA Dental Studio and ORA Oral Surgery & Implant Studio we are committed to the wellbeing of our patients, our team, our community, and the environment. We are proudly the first green group dental practice in the nation and have not only built green healing facilities, but practice green health care as .
Steven A. Koos D.D.S., M.D.