There is a
strong relationship between human health and environmental health. From the air we breathe to the water we drink
and use, life here on Earth depends on the natural resources and the
environment around us. Sustainability is
the ability to meet our present needs without compromising future generations
to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission 1987), and it has three
components: environmental conservation, social responsibility, and economic
development. By definition,
sustainability aims to promote healthy, viable, and equitable communities.
In the same
way the healthcare industry promotes healthy behaviors such as eating right and
exercising; it should encourage environmental stewardship since the health of
our environment affects public health. For example, many health issues are directly related to the quality of
our water and air. According to the
World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.3 million deaths occur each year as a
result of urban air pollution (reference). Furthermore, the healthcare industry is a
significant consumer of energy and water and generates considerable amounts of
waste. The industry has a responsibility
to adopt sustainable practices in order to efficiently use its resources and minimize
healthcare professionals and leaders to consider include (see publications and resources for more information related to these topics):
- Incorporating sustainable practices in hospitals
and healthcare facilities that are good for people, good for our
environment, and good for business.
- Using sustainable design and development techniques
in hospitals and healthcare facilities to promote healthier, safer, and more
- Growing global population and the production and
demand of food.
- Human health risks associated with climate change.