Prescriptions for the planet

by Christina on March 29, 2010

I liked this week’s New England Journal of Medicine opinion piece about climate change and why medical professionals should care (the rise of infectious diseases being one reason).

The author, Emily Shuman, says, “I believe that it is also our responsibility as members of the health care community to do our part” and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Yes! It’s not enough for the medical community to react to the rise in infectious diseases as a result of climate change, but also to prevent this from happening in the first place.

So what can medical providers do? The article references the EPA’s website with recommendations. Surprisingly, this site has no mention of eating less meat or more locally grown foods. I found this WikiHow site much more useful. It includes the following:

  • Eat locally
  • Bike more
  • Grow your own food 
  • Eat low on the food chain (vegetarian or vegan): “a vegan diet contributes 1.5 fewer tons of CO2 or CO2 equivalents to the atmosphere each year than the average North American diet” 

Seems like these are recommendations physicians should be giving… not only are they good for climate change, but they are also good for our health.

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