Tom Ballard, ND's blog

Changing the Ecology of Health Care: Green Medicine (pt 2)

Economic Failure to Thrive

You’re the same person that knows that consumerism – buying stuff as a type of therapy – is bad for the environment. At the same time you live in a country that consumes more “health care” – that is, drugs and devices – than any country in the world, even other industrialized countries where people are healthier and live longer. Americans line up for White Castle medicine as if on a shopping spree, in spite of statistics showing that cities with the highest medical utilization have the poorest health outcomes. (Dartmouth Report)

Retail therapy, whether it’s for clothes or drugs, provides a short-term high that is not only bad for you, but crippling for the economy. It is a medical model that, barely 130 years old (aspirin was synthesized in 1880) drains money from more fertile fields such as education and infrastructure. Economically, whether talking Medicare, Medicaid or general healthcare access, the current medical model, costing three trillion dollars a year, has been pronounced unsustainable.

Additional White Castle Costs: pollution

Besides its astronomical costs and general ineffectiveness, the medical-industrial-complex is one of the most polluting industries; manufacturing chemicals, packaging waste, discarded pills down the sink and into the water table. White Castle medicine is another reason the pond became a toxic blight.

Green Medicine

Medicine that is supported by scientific principles and works sustainably with the environment is Green Medicine. It follows the principles of ecological balance rather than corporate chemistry. Green Medicine, also known as naturopathic or holistic medicine, is the amalgamation of thousands of years of native healing traditions. It fuses scientific knowledge, employing the best of folk medicine, nutrition, biochemistry, organic farming, and other disciplines that are part of the greater web of scientific understanding. This whole-science web supports health, of you and the pond.

Green Medicine is environmentally friendly. It produces less chemical waste, has fewer side effects, counters the consumer mentality of White Castle medicine, and is less expensive. In the broadest sense of the term, it supports ecological balance – both of the outer environment and our inner ecology. And, unlike petrochemical medicine, it has a proven record of long-term effectiveness against chronic disease.

Pouring chemicals into the pond may reduce the smell, but not the putrefaction. Symptoms, whether the overgrowth of toxic algae in a pond or rising blood pressure, are not the problem, but warnings of deeper imbalances. Poisoning the algae or artificially lowering blood pressure contributes to economic and environmental waste while ignoring the underlying causes.

We now understand the application of whole-system, ecologically-sound solutions to the environment. It’s time we applied the same science to our health care needs.

You recycle. You’ve become an informed consumer. You’re part of the solution. Now treat your health as you would the pond. Go Green Medicine.

Tom Ballard, RN, ND


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