And on the 6th day Graham bellowed; “let thee environment be considered among thy seven dimensions of wellness.”  And so, the environment was added to the wheel of physical, social, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, financial and emotional wellness. Although I have to confess, compared to the authors of this week’s blogs; I am fairly green…to the environmentalist thing. I only started recognizing climate change as a problem when I spent my holidays as a kid hiking instead of skiing, and throwing apples at my friend’s heads instead of snowballs. As I grew up, the facts behind these observations started to show up in reputable sources as graphs depicting increasing average global temperatures, headlines stating “rises in global greenhouse gases”, and my Dad yelling at me about the air conditioner bill.

The who’s “WHO” of smart people have labeled climate change as the greatest health risk of the 21st century.  Whether you’re rich, poor, a potbelly pig or a cat riding a Roomba, climate change will impact you in one way or the other; the air your children breathe, the water you drink, or your basic health. Therefore, it is not surprising that the two great Canadian homophones; CAEP and CAPE have come together to be at the vanguard of this important movement.

Homophone: “Noun. a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not, as heir and air.”1  (I just helped in your intellectual wellness).

climate

Yet it is easy to read through this year’s wellness week on climate change and feel…unwell, even helpless. In a way, we have given you the script to your own real-life action role of the movie Armageddon, and if you missed it let me summarize:
climate

Accordingly, I have been asked to champion this environmentally friendly ship towards happiness by giving you “20 things you can do imperfectly well in 2020”, because as we emphasized on day one of this journey, a million people making a change imperfectly, is better than only a few people doing it perfectly.  So in true emergency Rosen’s fashion, let’s make a list:

Number 20 through 12 – what do you know about climate change

(I am putting multiple under the same heading to save precious megabytes):  Get Woke.

You don’t know what you don’t know, and luckily there are amazingly talented people who have summarized this information in hopes of making our future climate better.  In 2019, Project Drawdown in collaboration with the CNN published an interactive 8 part quiz that ranks the most effective climate change solutions at both the individual, industry, and policy level.  What do you know about climate change today?

Number 11 through 9: Try To Fly One Less Time (sorry CAEP conference 2020).

Two percent of the world’s global carbon emissions come from planes.5  If you have to fly, here are a few things you can do to offset your carbon footprint 6:

11) Travel light. The heavier your luggage, the more gas needed to take you into the troposphere.  You don’t need those extra clothes, you look great in anything.

10) Fly direct.  Yes, it can cost more but the majority of fuel is used during take-off and landing. Save those tympanic membranes and only torture your ears twice.

9) Fly Economy. When you fly First or Business class, your emissions are higher since there are fewer people per space for the same amount of fuel.  You might miss out on champagne, but like the nosebleeds at a Blue Jay game, its where the real action is.

Number 8: Avoid One Time Use Plastic

Save those turtles.  If you don’t have a neuromuscular or physical condition that requires this plastic blow dart, don’t use it.  Tell your server that you’re happy with just the glass.  Is the workplace catering a meal during a meeting?  Bring in a Tupperware container and utensils instead of creating a leaning tower of trash.  Even better, give that oven of yours a break and take the leftovers for your next shift meal.  You just won a battle against decision fatigue.

Number 7: Green That Commute

Twenty-four percent of climate polluting emissions come from transportation7.  Take a look at yourself; you don’t need to drive every day, you’re Usain Bolt.  Dust off that knapsack and strut yourself to work on the next sunny day.  Too far of a distance?  Try to bike, carpool or take public transport whenever you can.

Number 6: Elevate Yourself

Next time you step into the elevator, ask yourself, “could I have used the stairs?”  For every round trip an elevator takes, it consumes the same amount of energy that a desktop computer and monitor would need for 30 minutes8.  Okay, that’s not huge, but your thighs and glutes will thank you.

Number 5 through 2: “Let’s Get [Hippy] With It” (courtesy of Big Willie Style)

5) Every day we consume products that can easily be made in our own home. Household staples like hand soap, cleaning products and more.

4) I bet you can’t make your own hummus or yogurt (boom, reverse psychology)

3) Using a clothes dryer can cost as much as $100 a year and that’s based on a 9 cent per kWh example9.  Try hanging your clothes.  If it was good enough for my Papa Joe, it’s good enough for you.  If you need a refresher on heat transfer you can refer to Rosen’s page 1743. We just applied the same knowledge at work to saving the environment.

climate

2) Fifty eight percent of global emissions related to food come from animal products. Whoa, settle down carnivore. I am not saying go 100% vegan, but as suggested by a 2019 UN report11 and re-enforced on Tuesday’s blog by Dr. Bota, if we were to reduce meat consumption and replace meat with a more plant-based diet, there would be less water/land/energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Number 1: Practice What You Preach

Climate change is here.  It is happening now.  You could spend the rest of your career practicing a rescue thoracotomy (page 397 of Rosen’s), and never have those skills utilized, or you could continue the same thing while simply adding any one of these suggestions to your regular routine.  Start with one.  Raise awareness by leading through example.  “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

climate

References

  1. Definition of homophones | Dictionary.com. (2020). Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/homophones?s=t
  2. Himym Lawyered GIF – Himym Lawyered Marshall – Discover & Share GIFs. (2020). Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://tenor.com/view/himym-lawyered-marshall-owned-rekt-gif-4860406
  3. Hot Day GIF – ItIsSoDamnHot HotDay Sun – Discover & Share GIFs. (2020). Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://tenor.com/view/it-is-so-damn-hot-hot-day-sun-sunny-summer-gif-11922804
  4. Kann, D., Houp, W., Jones, J., & O’Key, S. (2020). The most effective ways to curb climate change might surprise you. Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/04/specials/climate-change-solutions-quiz/
  5. IATA. (2020). Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://www.iata.org/
  6. Foster, L. (2020). How to reduce your carbon footprint when you fly. Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-48206946/how-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint-when-you-fly
  7. Top 10 things you can do about climate change – David Suzuki Foundation. (2020). Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/top-10-ways-can-stop-climate-change/
  8. Quinn Wright, T. (2020). Elevators Vs Stairs Trent Wright | Mathematics for Sustainability: Fall 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://sites.psu.edu/math033fa17/2017/10/09/elevators-vs-stairs-trent-wright/
  9. Huffstetler, E. (2020). How Much Does It Cost to Run an Electric Dryer?. Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://www.thespruce.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-run-an-electric-dryer-1387954
  10. Seth Meyers Boom GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers – Find & Share on GIPHY. (2020). Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://media.giphy.com/media/3o7btNa0RUYa5E7iiQ/giphy.gif
  11. World food security increasingly at risk due to ‘unprecedented’ climate change impact, new UN report warns. (2020). Retrieved 22 January 2020, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/08/1043921

 

Graham Wilson

Graham Wilson

Dr. Graham Wilson is a second-year Emergency Medicine resident at the University o Ottawa with a passion for the outdoors, and sustainable environmental change.