A message from Stephen H. Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., Sutter Health Chief Medical Officer and Executive Sponsor of Sutter Health’s Environmental Stewardship Program
With fewer cars on the road and less traffic in the skies, some news outlets have reported a climate benefit. While none of us wanted this short-term positive effect at such high health and economic costs, we are getting a peek at an environment with less human interference — a brief glimpse at what could be possible if we took steps to reduce waste and advance alternative energy solutions in the years ahead.
As champions of health, we know that nature holds a special place in our lives, supporting our mental and physical wellbeing. It’s never been more important to take a walk outside, take a deep breath, enjoy the sunshine and wave at our neighbors — all while staying 6 feet apart, of course. Nature lifts our spirits and helps restore our hope.
Please join our Sutter team in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Mobilizing to care for our planet over the long term is one more way we’re showing our love for our communities and one another.
Here are a few ways you and your family can get involved with Sutter’s sustainability efforts:
1. Plant a garden. Digging your hands in the soil is good for your health. Welcome spring by planting native plants, fruits and vegetables. Take it a step further by starting a compost pile. Composting food waste reduces the amount of waste you send to a landfill, and once it fully decomposes, you’re left with a fertilizer for your garden. Check out some simple tips on composting from the EPA.
2. Donate clothing. While spring cleaning, consider donating unwanted items rather than throwing them away. Each year, nearly 40,000 gallons of water are used in the production and transport of new clothes bought by the average American household.
3. Watch creativity grow. Promote your kids’ love for our planet by encouraging them to create art from natural or recycled materials.
4. Conserve water. Install a low-flow shower head to reduce water use. In one year, a family of four can save up to 18,200 gallons of water.
5. Carry a reusable water bottle. Lessen your environmental impact by replacing your single-use plastic bottles with a stainless-steel water bottle or travel mug.
6. Calculate your carbon footprint. Simply reducing the amount of time we spend running errands, driving to work and to other activities plays a significant role in reducing our carbon footprint. Check out the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.
7. Learn about sustainability efforts at Sutter Health. Did you know that Sutter completed five solar-power projects; launched a pilot program to reduce the amount of harmful anesthetic gasses released into the atmosphere during surgeries; and increased plant-based meals by 20% in our 24 hospital cafeterias? You can find out more here.