The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a sudden transition to remote work for many in Jacksonville. With this, people quickly came to the realization that a workweek spent sprawled out on the couch with their laptop was simply not going to be sustainable. This is because of how easy it is for “living space” and “working space” to become one in the same. With our days now being spent at home, this is especially true. So, it is important …
Minimalism is a powerful tool used to help individuals reflect on the importance of living a complete and meaningful life based on personal values. These values can be work or family life, or hobbies like disc golf and cricket.
One universal value that is positively impacted by the incorporation of the minimalist lifestyle is our health. Having less of the tangible, and less unnecessary and stressful responsibilities, clarity and intention can be more directed towards what we most value. By having fewer things to distract or trigger ourselves, our mental and physical health will be much less compromised.
When we clear away the noise and debris of distractions we can “listen” to our bodies and know how or what to do to make ourselves healthier, faster, stronger, and more immune to the natural world. The path to a healthier more meaningful life can come with obstacles, for instance, costly organic or natural foods versus the more synthetic substances, or adding bills like a gym membership, is time that is lost due to prioritizing health.
While this is a viable excuse to be less health conscious, what about those expensive medical bills down the road? The constant visits to the doctor for blood work to figure out why you are fatigued? The awareness and stress that comes with asking yourself “why do I feel like this?”. These symptoms can come and go, or they can manifest into something much more hostile and fatal.
As a minimalist, the individual prioritizes healthy, lasting, and joyful values, aware that life is meant for knowledge and experiences. Moderation and Minimalism go together, a balance between our ethical needs and wants like drinking alcohol, consuming plant-based or carnivorous diets, and engaging in extreme sports. All these things make life exciting and purposeful! There is no perfect formula to optimal health, but balance in our choices can leave us satisfied both mentally and physically, because a healthy mind is a healthy body.
Warmer weather leads to people spending more time outdoors. Our built environment, especially here in Jacksonville is peri-urban; meaning we have altered our landscape to have rural characteristics. These rural characteristics include building residential areas around natural parks, having fragmented forests in public, and more …
Picture this: you walk into your doctor’s office or clinic and you check in at the front window. You are told to have a seat and wait to get called back when the doctor is ready for you. You start to look around the waiting room and you notice they have recycling bins out, an automatic water bottle filler, posters on eco-friendly practices, or even just a certificate that they are a recognized Green Doctor Office. Any of those observations are indicators that your doctor’s office is trying to be more environmentally sustainable.
Just as doctors are leaders in the healthcare field, they can also be leaders in the environmental movement that works to make our community a better place to live. There are many benefits to taking initiatives to go green including: a healthier work environment, increased patient satisfaction and trust and decreased pollution and waste. There are also benefits on a local, community, and global scale. Within a healthcare facility, going green promotes the well-being of patients, staff, and visitors. Within communities, green clinics promote cleaner air and less waste. In the context of Earth itself, green clinics slow down the degradation of the environment, and help optimize its limited resources.
Healthier Work Environment
Working at a health care facility is a stressful career. It involves interacting with sick and injured people, disgruntled patients and their relatives, phones ringing off the hook, and ever-changing schedules. Furthermore, doctors can be very busy people. While we would like to see them take the lead in making their clinic greener, the task is usually carried out by clinic managers and staff. These employees will feel proud of where they work when they see that their clinic is taking steps to protect the environment and be sustainable. Any of the following suggestions can make clinics safer for staff and contribute to a healthy work environment.
- Choosing safer cleaning agents or cutting back on pesticides and other toxins
- Install an automatic water bottle filler to discourage plastic bottles
- Replace plastic cutlery and plates with biodegradable products
- Promote recycling by placing recycling bins around the facility
- Facilities can be green by design meaning that mechanisms are in place for water conservation, natural light instead of electric, or that it was built with sustainably harvested building materials
- Promote carpooling and telecommute when possible to reduce harmful car emissions
Increased Patient Satisfaction and Trust
The waiting room is the first room you walk into and it is where you form your impression of the entire clinic. It is also where information and displays are most noticeable and impactful. In a 2017 study of all general practice patients in the UK, 77.9% of participants indicated that they normally notice posters, leaflets, and other information on display in the waiting room 1Maskell, K., Mcdonald, P., & Paudyal, P. (2018). Effectiveness of health education materials in general practice waiting rooms: a cross-sectional study. British Journal of General Practice, 68(677). doi: 10.3399/bjgp18x699773.
Green doctor’s office or small clinics can use posters and displays in in the waiting rooms to make a positive impression on first time patients and gain their trust and loyalty. By adopting green practices, clinics show patients that their office is more than a business. This also shows that they are dedicated to minimizing their environmental footprint. By doing so, it motivates patients to entrust their doctors with their health and wellbeing.
Decreased Pollution and Waste
Clinics rely on paper for everything from patient charts and intaking forms to administrative paperwork. While clinics are slowly moving toward Electronic Health Records (EHR), they still rely heavily on paper. 50% of businesses’ waste is composed of paper and 93% of that paper comes from trees 2https://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/Paper-Waste-Facts .
Heavy paper use contributes to deforestation, displacing animals from their natural habitats and releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. More importantly, cutting down trees reduces the amount of oxygen produced which we need to breathe.
Health care facilities also consume large amounts of energy. Energy consumption is another major environmental concern because burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases.
- Going paperless or substituting paper and plastic for recyclable products
- Plant trees around the facility to promote cleaner air
- Invest in energy efficient appliances
- Ensure that appliances are turned off when not in use.
One of the most interactive and cost effective ways to switch out products in your home with more environmentally and health friendly alternatives is to make them yourself. DIYs give you control over what environmental exposures you put on your body and in your home as they allow you to control the ingredients, cost, and packaging of the product. Check out Green Jax Project’s blog post on Eco-Friendly DIYs!
Composting can be a fantastically frugal way to reduce your waste and your impact on the planet. Composting helps divert waste from landfills and creates a highly valuable and nutrient-rich product that can be used in your own garden, or gifted and sold to neighbors, friends, family, etc. There are endless ways to compost, and although most of them are outdoors, composting can be possible indoors as well. This page will list resources for both outdoors and indoors composting, so choose a method you prefer and get experimenting!
Holidays are a blast for many people around the world, no matter their religious affiliation or beliefs. Whether, it’s Easter, Hanukkah, New Years, or Beltane, holidays are a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones and eat plenty of delicious food. However, holidays can be some of the most wasteful days of the year. Between the food waste, the presents, and all of the plastic wrap, holidays can fill a trash can in a matter of minutes if you’re not careful. If you want some tips to reduce your waste during the next family party or holiday, check out this blog post by the Green Jax Project!