Environmentalism in Naturopathic Medicine.

As promised, here are some excerpts from my D-Talk; my topic was Environmentalism in Naturopathic Medicine. I was inspired to finally write this post after yesterday's philosophy class focused on this very topic.

- “Today, health should be considered a state of physical, mental, social and ecological well-being.” -- Author unknown (maybe my philosophy prof?)
- I believe that naturopathic doctors (NDs) should take leadership in environmental stewardship.
- Environmentalism is rooted into the origins of the profession. The root word of naturopathy, nature, is an example of how the environment (nature) is intricately connected to medicine.
- The environment has a huge affect on our health, and that our health impacts the state of environment. E.g. birth control pill residues are peed into water supply, can't be filtered out.
- Without a healthy planet, NDs will no longer have the tools to treat patients. For example, without green spaces it will be hard to encourage patients to be physically active, without ideal weather for crop growing, there will be limited good food to fully nourish patients, and without clean water—the simplest yet most vital nutrient—any form a healing will become difficult to achieve.
- NDs should be environmentally-focused in order to be good role models for patients. Be the change you want to see in the world.
- NDs can become environmentalists within their own field. Supplements can be awfully wasteful; lots of packaging, non recyclable bottles, etc. NDs can source companies that are environmentally-focused and they can request that suppliers use organic botanicals (fewer concentrated pesticides).
- If NDs don't buy the healthy products, like free-range eggs, almond milk, and organic bell peppers, then the grocery stores will stop supplying these products, and then when NDs recommend to patients that they buy these specialty products, they won't be available.
- NDs must be mindful of patients' environment in terms of healing and overall well-being. It is actually hard on the body to not eat with the seasons (fruit and salads are easier to digest when it is warm outside, while soups and hearty root veggies are best for the body during colder months). Eating with seasons is healthy, has a smaller carbon footprint, and supports the local economy.
- NDs should try to be entirely patient-focused, but should be planet-focused too. Sure it is great to recommend antioxidant-rich blueberries and omega-3 rich salmon to patients for their own well-being, but what if it impossible to source local blueberries (they'd have to come from California) or what if finding wild and sustainably-caught salmon is rare? Do we still make these recommendations?
- The health of the planet just going to continue to impact the health of patients; we sick planet means sick patients. How can one feel healthy in a toxic environment?

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