Today is World Health Day! This year’s theme, designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “Our Planet, Our Health.” The hope is to bring attention to the urgent actions needed to keep humans and our planet healthy. Did you know the WHO estimates more than 13 million deaths occur around the world each year because of avoidable environmental causes?
To celebrate today, we would like to highlight two ways our ministry is putting sustainability into action and working to help the earth. Then, check back in with us on Apr. 22 for Earth Day as we share two more ways our ministry working to be good stewards of the planet.
Sustainability in Action with Land
Our ministry made the decision to financially invest in projects across the country that help the overall health of the planet as part of our overall sustainability plan. These efforts also promote our mission and core values and align with our identity as a Catholic health system.
“Impact investing” is what we call this. These investments are made with the goal of producing a strong, positive social impact.
An example of impact investing is our involvement in a restoration project that’s being completed in Florida. We’ve offered financial support to a 3,100-acre wetland restoration and water supply initiative alongside Ecosystem Investment Partners.
With this initiative, we hope to improve water supply, restore the wetlands and address the “Red Tides” issue that arises from an excess of phosphorus and other nutrients being flooded into Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ve also partnered with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) in this initiative to manage regional flood control, water supply, water quality protection and natural ecosystem restoration management.
Sustainability in Action with Energy
Having nutritious meals available for everyone in our health care facilities is a large and oftentimes overlooked part of providing care. Our dietician and culinary teams work around the clock to deliver a large variety of fresh foods to patients, their visitors and our hospital team members.
Our culinary team needs to have access to lots of fresh food to address the large variety of dietary needs they serve on a daily basis. So, with sustainability in mind, our ministry took a look at our food preparation process. We then realized that food scraps and waste didn’t necessarily need to end up in a landfill.
We contacted a company, Natural Organic Process Enterprises (or N.O.P.E.), to help create a plan for how to reduce our waste when it came to preparing food. Now, culinary teams at our hospitals collect all the food scraps and unusable parts of food, measure it and use specially designed composting trash cans to dispose of it.
We are proud to share that last year one of our hospitals was able to divert more than 3,000 pounds of food scraps and compostable organics from ending up in landfills.