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Home > Feature Articles > Health and Well Being Strategies > Health Care Industry Sectors and Strategies

Green Medicine, Green Health Care...What's Involved?

Green medicine and sustainable health care are gaining traction in both consumer interest and medical establishment practices. Everything is connected...

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Health care is our society's "Gordian knot" - complex, tied up in entanglements, no clear answers, and yet very necessary to every life. Green is also becoming a "Gordian knot"... complex...entanglements... etc.

So how do these two vital approaches to work, play and survival fit together?

A recent conference on "Green Medicine" provides an overview of the issues at stake. Some of them are pretty obvious, but some are still surprising.

  • Unsustainability or Health: A question challenging competence more than values.
  • Confronting Global Warming: Grave risks yet enormous health opportunities
  • Common Low Level Contamination of Food and Water: Impact on development, learning and immunity
  • Environmental Toxicity and Personal Health
  • A Whole Life: A Mindful approach to sustainable well-being
  • More Skills, Less Pills: Activating internal resources to improve health
  • The Autism Spectrum: Genetic and environmental interactions and implications for cause and treatment
  • Epigenetics: How environment (physical and emotional) can trump the genetic code
  • Sensitivity and Health: The canary in the coal mine
  • Creating Healthier Buildings
  • Pollution in People: Is your body a superfund site?

The conference for doctors and medical staffs was held at the University of Wisconsin in spring 2008. The conference was intended to explore the interactions and connections between the health of the planet and the health of our population. It explored the international sustainability movement, specifically the Natural Step, the effects of global warming on health, and contamination and its impact on development and learning. The clinical focus included improving, enhancing and greening both the external environments and the internal one so that clinicians could practice "green medicine".

Environmental influences in primary care practices included lead, autism, emerging infectious diseases and epigenetics. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and integrative medicine were also part of the new approach to health understanding and health care practices.

Green is about how everything is connected. Health care has a long way to travel on the pathway of reconnecting people with their environment...and their environment with diagnosis of chronic conditions such as pain, toxicity and emotional conditions.

We're learning daily that wholesome food, clean air, toxin-free water and human-scale stress levels are all connected ... and connected with the well-being of the earth on which we live, and of which we are a part. That's the heart of green health care.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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