• Elizabeth Eaman

Breathing is not optional

As a family doctor I need to talk about climate change and the impact humans are having on the environment. I think that all doctors should. It is clearly a health hazard. I cannot pretend this elephant isn't in the room. It's here, it's huge, and it's stomping around ruining everything we care about and threatening the things we need.

It doesn't matter what you call it, climate change or global warming, but it's here, and it's not something to "believe in" or not. It's real, it's science. Saying "I don't believe in global warming" is like saying "I don't believe that the earth is round." Trust me, the scientific community would love to be wrong about this one. But they are not. And the impact of that change, compounded with other human factors such as deforestation and pollution, has been particularly evident the last few weeks. There is no denying that wild fires are getting worse every year. The National Wildlife Federation has some more detailed information on this, including a detailed report specifically about climate change. NASA has a lot to say on the issue of natural disasters and how population, climate change, and other factors are contributing. The catastrophes we have been seeing in the US and in Asia are multifactorial, but this extreme weather isn't going to stop or improve if we don't make some changes.

So what are we to do? The New York Times published an article in March that is digestible and realistic about making changes in the household to help. They seem small but they are a place to start. 

At Oodle Family Medicine I'm hoping to be as "green" as possible in my practice. Using sterilizable equipment, electronic charting and communication, e-faxing of prescriptions, and being mindful of medical waste such as unused prescription medications (I do a lot of this now as well). I am also looking into other options for the office. There are even some organizations that help medical centers stay green (but so far their recommendations are hospital-based and not out-patient clinic-based).  Additionally, I will have a very short commute to my new location, reducing my carbon emissions enormously.

Clean air and clean water is non-negotiable as a human being, we should all be on the same page about this - regardless of nationality, age, religion, income, or political ideals.


© 2016 by Doctor Eaman