By Lori Simpson
Director, Resident Life
In the years after World War II, Americans became more conscious of the environment. Smokey the Bear taught us: “Only you can prevent forest fires!”—encouraging us to be careful with campfires, matches, and cigarette butts. Building on this momentum, the Bureau of Land Management invented Johnny Horizon to remind us that “This land is your land. Keep it clean!” Even Life magazine put its creativity into their catchy motto: “Don’t forget … Every litter bit hurts. Keep America Beautiful.”
As our science matured, we discovered the importance of clean water and clean air—all to protect “the blue marble,” as the Apollo 17 astronauts called it.
Eventually, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted us that about 20% of our health outcomes may be connected to the environment—an impact from the outside in.
• For example, if one of us grew up with a parent who smoked two packs per day, we could spend years inhaling toxic air.
• Or another, if our family drank well water near crop-dusting farms, we might be swallowing some chemicals from rainwater runoff.
• Or lastly, if our sandwiches were filled with processed meats, maybe we would be chewing on artificial preservatives, animal fat, and hormones too often.
We are in the same boat together: learning about true wellness, discovering that health does not live in one building, recognizing that there may be seven or more dimensions of wellness! Toward this end, Erickson Living Communities have been learning how to be good stewards of energy, water, and waste. In 2018, we estimate that we saved more than 500 trees per Community through new printing practices … over 35 million gallons of water through new HVAC systems … and more than 11 million kilowatt hours of energy through LED lightbulbs.
Whether we are thinking about “the blue marble” (the big planet) or our local Erickson Living Community (the small planet), we all have a positive role to play. After all, if we are kind to our planet, our planet will be kind to us!
Most important, we are here to support one another; we are not alone. If you feel like talking to somebody, please reach out to your medical provider or your Resident Services Coordinator or your friends and neighbors.
Join us in this journey as we “Embrace Wellness” together.