Connections between personal health and health of the world
Northwest Earth Institute, a Portland-based sustainability education and action nonprofit, has introduced a new discussion-based program that examines the connections between our personal health and the health of our natural and physical environments, and how we can sustain both.
NWEI’s hallmark program is a series of discussion courses available for small groups anywhere in North America. The courses provide an enjoyable, supportive setting in which to examine personal values and habits, engage in stimulating conversation, create meaningful community, and consider ways to take action towards creating a more sustainable future.
NWEI discussion course study guides are manuals for a self-facilitated course experience, taken informally by small groups in a home, at your workplace, your center of faith or any place where people naturally gather. Course guides range from $20 to $35.
An estimated 5,000 are expected to participated in A World of Health curriculum over the coming year. The curriculum is part of an on-going effort by NWEI to educate and inspire people to make small lifestyle changes that have a long-term, positive benefit for themselves and the planet. Since its launch in 1993, more than 125,000 people in all 50 states have participated in NWEI discussion courses.
The discussion-based curriculum for personal health is called A World of Health: Connecting People, Place and Planet and consists of six sessions, including videos, readings, assignments and group discussion questions.
While the course is not prescriptive in nature these are a few of the actions that come up for consideration:
- Examine your food products for packaging that contains bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical with harmful health consequences.
- Map the accessibility of your neighborhood via walking and biking to encourage to a healthier lifestyle while also reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Consider the broader health impacts brought about by a consumer-based culture.
- Make your own household cleaners. They cost much less, are just as effective and are a safer alternative to relying on harsh, toxic commercial products. Effective cleaning products can be made with borax, washing soda, distilled white vinegar, baking soda, salt, club soda, cooking oil and lemons. On their own or combined together, you can make scouring powder, furniture polish, an all-purpose cleaner and more!
- Use a reusable bag to haul groceries—plastic bags aren’t biodegradable and, when discarded, become problematic for people and wildlife alike. And shop smart—the stuff in the bag has a larger impact than the bag itself.