Browngirl Going Green

Historic Day for Our Nation’s Health
March 23, 2010, 4:24 pm
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Michelle Obama and friends breaking ground in the White House Garden

Okay, so this isn’t an obviously ‘green’ post topic, per se, but I can’t NOT mention this—and health care (just like our food consumption and the food industry) could and should be a site of great ecological progress and waste reduction, if it were done right. Not to mention that nature is an amazing resource for healing and should be utilized with more respect and care than it currently is. It’s interesting that during this time of heated debate about health care reform, First Lady Michelle Obama has been everywhere talking about how we need to tacklechildhood obesity problem, and has been very vocal about promoting gardening as a way for children to be both in touch with where their food comes from as well as to eat more healthfully.

To me, these are very practical, everyday, accessible steps that many of us can and should take to being more empowered in our health choices—no matter what the state of our health care system is.

I’ve been slowly reading Why Our Health Matters by Dr. Andrew Weil, which is a great treatise on how we need to change the way we think about our health—I love that Dr. Weil calls our current system a ‘disease management’, not ‘health management’ system—and how we all need to take responsibility for our health as individuals, but also how as a society we need to put policies in place that more fully allow people to do so. Dr. Weil also posits that our highly technology-dependent Western medical system is a huge part of the problem, since it drives prices up while also making people over-reliant on pharmaceutical drugs and expensive procedures that are not only not making them well, but may be making them more sick.

As imperfect as the health care reform legislation is, it’s a step in the right direction towards universal coverage and hopefully someday, less of a private monopoly over the health care system. I, for one, am glad to be alive on this historic day, as President Obama signed this unprecedented legislation. But I also know that the real fight for true reform is still ahead—this is just the first big step. We need to make sure that we don’t stop here.