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Just because fall is starting to set in doesn’t mean we all need to hunker down indoors. This article excerpt from A World of Health is a great snippet to give you a sense of what the course is like. Enjoy!
Excerpt from “Leave No Child Inside” by Richard Louv
The future of children in nature has profound implications not only for the conservation of land but also for the direction of the environmental movement. If society embraces something as simple as the health benefits of nature experiences for children, it may begin to re-evaluate the worth of “the environment.” While public-health experts have traditionally associated environmental health with the absence of toxic pollution, the definition fails to account for an equally valid consideration: how the environment can improve human health. Seen through that doorway, nature isn’t a problem, it’s the solution: environmentalism is essential to our own well-being.
Howard Frumkin, director of the National Center for Environmental Health, points out that future research about the positive health effects of nature should be conducted in collaboration with architects, urban planners, park designers, and landscape architects. “Perhaps we will advise patients to take a few days in the country, to spend time gardening,” he wrote in a 2001 American Journal of Preventive Medicine article, “or [we will] build hospitals in scenic locations, or plant gardens in rehabilitation centers. Perhaps the . . . organizations that pay for health care will come to fund such interventions, especially if they prove to rival pharmaceuticals in cost and efficacy.” …
- Has a physician ever prescribed “time in nature” to you? How would you react if she/he did?
- Given that health care in the U.S. is a profitable business, what will need to happen for doctors to start prescribing “a few days in the country” or in the garden?
- Do you view spending time in nature as integral to your health and well-being?
What are your thoughts? Feel free to post your comments here!
Last week, we officially launched our newest course, A World of Health: Connecting People, Place and Planet. At a launch party last Wednesday night, over 80 people came together and participated in this snippet from World of Health. The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelming. If you’d like to order A World of Health and start your own discussion course, you can order it here!
If you’d like to get the flavor of World of Health, here’s a short segment with some discussion questions at the bottom. Enjoy!
Excerpt from “The Myth of the BPA-Free Diet “by Kat Kerlin
Though reports of its potential health effects and presence in the linings of containers and cans have long been reported in science journals and the media, an article, “Concern over canned foods,” in the December issue of Consumer Reports has brought concerns over BPA to a broad audience. ….
It got me thinking, if I were to try to cut BPA from my diet, how might that affect my life? I’d already replaced my trusty #7 (polycarbonate) plastic water bottle with a stainless steel bottle, amid reports that #7 leached BPA. (Nalgene and other companies have since started making BPA-free versions of these bottles.) I knew not to microwave any sort of plastic, as that’s been shown to leach a range of chemicals present in various plastics, BPA and hormone-disrupting phthalates among them. But if I stopped eating foods packaged in materials known to house BPA, what would my diet look like?
I decided to find out by challenging myself to a seven-day, BPA-free diet. The parameters: No canned foods or drinks. No food packaged in anything with a waxy liner. (Not that all waxy lined containers have BPA, but some do, and I wasn’t sure which ones, so I decided to try to stay away from them all.) Nothing with a metal lid since the coating beneath it has been shown to have BPA, which ruled out almost all glass jars. No frozen foods. And my diet had to be nutritionally sound. If all I ate were eggs and fresh foods, unpackaged in the produce section, I could eat a relatively BPA-free diet (discounting the lining on some of the boxes they were shipped in). But I’m six months pregnant, which was another reason BPA-free sounded appealing, since laboratory animals prenatally exposed to it developed various health and developmental problems, and babies take in more of it per body weight than adults. So I was not going to give up any of the major food groups. …I drew up a careful shopping list, focusing on bulk and fresh foods and headed to the store.
- To what extent are you concerned about the health impacts of BPA in food packaging?
- What, if any actions have you taken (or are considering taking) to reduce your exposure to BPA or other toxins found in household items?
- Should keeping BPA out of one’s diet be the consumer’s responsibility?
- Beyond reducing exposure to BPA, what might be the other benefits of purging it from one’s diet?
By Mike Mercer, Executive Director of the Northwest Earth Institute, originally posted on SustainableIndustries.com on September 14, 2010
With great regularity, employee engagement is touted as the key to shifting sustainability from its place in the silo of facilities, “green teams” and the committed few, to fully integrated into day-to-day operations. In response, we educate our employees about sustainability, hold Earth Day events, provide volunteer opportunities to restore wetlands and put up signage to encourage more sustainable behaviors.
With all this effort, are the majority of our employees exhibiting any substantially different behaviors? I suspect not. If we were to survey our employees relative to their stated values and behaviors, it is likely their response would be similar to the results of a 2010 Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies study. A sampling of these results demonstrates the significant gap between what people say is important and what they actually do: “The Say–Do Gap.”
The EcoChallenge is right around the corner. Just three weeks from today the Northwest Earth Institute community will commence fun, inspirational, educational and sometimes humorous sustainability adventures as the participants in the EcoChallenge begin to tackle their personal sustainability challenges. In addition to raising awareness about the importance of taking action on environmental issues, the EcoChallenge is a major fundraiser for the Northwest Earth Institute.
The EcoChallenge raises money for NWEI’s sustainability education programs–and this year we hope to raise over $50,000! The entire staff and board of NWEI are participating in the EcoChallenge, and the NWEI staff is upping the ante with a little friendly competition. Here’s where you come in– we’ve all written “Please for Your Pledges” in hopes that we might sway you to support us in the EcoChallenge. The staff member with the most pledges will win an extra vacation day, as well as some serious bragging rights.
There’s something for everyone in our “Please for Pledges”– click here to see who is using cute dogs to win you over, who is taking the pity party route, who is planning the most audacious EcoChallenge, and more. And if you are inspired to pledge, you can do so knowing that your tax deductible pledge will go entirely toward funding NWEI’s sustainability programs.
The new discussion books are in!
And, with some help from our furry friends, we’re getting the books out to you! Two of NWEI’s Staff Dogs helped us ship over 500 copies of A World of Health this week!
A World of Health is a six session discussion course program that explores “good health,” connecting human health with the environment, and examines how we can sustain both. Learn about the places where our personal health intersects with the environment — our food, our living spaces, our communities and ultimately, our planet. Each session of the book includes readings, video clips, and short assignments with accompanying group discussion questions that aim to inspire sustainable education and lifestyle change to promote a healthier future!
To order your copy now, click here!