Philly takes a lot of flak. In recent years it's been named the Deadliest City, the Fattest City, and even the Ugliest City. Is it possible that Philadelphia could turn in those monikers and instead become The Greenest City?
If Mayor Michael Nutter has his way, it most certainly will.
Philadelphia's newest mayor is a man of great intent, integrity and action. I know a couple of people who have been involved with his campaign and administration, and the word on the street is that he's the real deal.
Mayor Nutter has plans to make Philadelphia a truly Sustainable City. As a part of this initiative he has appointed a Director of Sustainability and a Sustainability Advisory Board with leaders from government, non-profits, and the private sector who will facilitate the development of a coordinated sustainability policy for the City of Philadelphia.
Good stuff. Great stuff, actually.
But I want him to make it one better. And so a couple of weeks ago I sent him a letter...
Dear Mayor Nutter,
It is with great respect and admiration that I follow the progress of your administration and your commitment to Philadelphia as, “The Next Great City”. Your recent appointment of a Sustainability Advisory Board speaks clearly to your forward-thinking direction, and the changes I see happening in our beautiful City make me more proud than ever to call Philadelphia my home.
As a professional Homeopath, writer and consultant, I have spent the last 15 years working in the emerging field of “sustainability” as it relates to the overall health and wellbeing of the individual. My experience has shown that this critical component of wellness is all too often overlooked or separated from sustainability conversations that inevitably focus on energy use and climate change.
The startling statistics stated in your 2007 Plan for a Healthier Philadelphia identify a population that is struggling with chronic illness, obesity, violence and limited (if any) access to quality food and healthcare. But I believe that your proposed solutions can be taken one step further in a way that would dovetail perfectly into your sustainability plan and put Philadelphia at the forefront of this emerging paradigm.
I agree that Philadelphia is a city rich in medical facilities, education and public health resources, however I believe that it suffers like most of America (but not the world) from a myopic viewpoint that sees expensive medical interventions and pharmaceutical cocktails as the answer. As the population continues to grow and chronic diseases exponentially increase, our current system is simply unable to accommodate the increasing demand and skyrocketing costs.
Sustainability in healthcare is about much more than just curing illness. It involves how people eat, learn, move, shop and utilize the medical system. It is about accessibility to high-quality complementary and alternative modalities. It is about sustainable agriculture. It is about lowering the toxic load in our environment—and also in our bodies.
Sustainability in healthcare requires a lifestyle revolution.
I have spent the last two years researching this field and have authored a business plan for an Integrated Wellness Center that seeks to change the medically mandated paradigm of “sick care” into an empowerment zone based on healthy food, therapeutic movement, holistic education, and alternative/complementary healing modalities. What I have learned from this work has given me insight into the critical necessity of including healthcare in the overall sustainability model.
Your plan to make Philadelphia the leader in Sustainability has the catalyzing potential to change the world. I would encourage you to consider this proposed addition to your endeavor and offer I my services however appropriate.
Denise Straiges Warkov CCH, RSHom(NA)