What it means to be environmentally sustainable

October is Campus Sustainability Month, and over the past week, the ASDA Council on Professional Issues has presented a blog series exploring various aspects of sustainability. So far, we’ve discussed clinic sustainability and personal sustainability, and provided a printable PDF flier to help you spark ideas for your school’s clinic. In the final blog post in the series, we will be discussing environmental sustainability.

This umbrella term refers to the idea of protecting and maintaining environmental resources for future generations, without compromising way or quality of life. In 2005, the World Summit on Social Development identified three goals of sustainable development:

1. Economic development: Providing incentives for businesses to adhere to sustainability guidelines beyond normal requirements. Encouraging the average person to use their consumer demands to push for eco-friendly economic supply. 

2. Social development: Awareness and legislation protection of the health of people from pollution and other harmful activities of businesses. Educating communities about the effects of environmental protection and warning of the dangers if societies cannot achieve these goals.

3. Environmental protection: Studying and protecting ecosystems, air quality, integrity and sustainability of our resources, and focusing on the elements that place stress on the environment. Creating technologies that drive a greener future and protect the environment from potential damage.

Developments in these institutions impact all aspects of future human, plant and animal life, and we can all start by making sustainable decisions today. Some individual action ideas that promote environmental sustainability include: 

  • Research and vote for county, state and national representatives who prioritize environmental sustainability and will take real action to protect our planet.
  • Participate in trail or park clean-ups, creating cleaner natural spaces for all to enjoy.
  • Volunteer in a local community garden, using shared food resources to minimize ground use.

As October Campus Sustainability Month comes to a close, we encourage dental students to start with these ideas and brainstorm ways to participate in ASDA’s annual Week of Service. In the spirit of a challenging year, our call to action is “Serving Together, 6 Feet Apart” and will take place Jan. 25–31, 2021. We invite dental students to participate in community service on their individual terms, then share how they will help build up their communities and inspire those around them. Complete details will be available this winter.

~Joell Chen, Roseman ’21, ASDA Council on Professional Issues Chair

Joell Chen

Joell Chen serves as chair of ASDA’s Council on Professional Issues and is a D4 student at Roseman College of Dental Medicine. She is pursuing a General Practice Residency upon graduation and looks forward to serving as a future National Health Service Corps provider. Major personal interests include hiking, camping and making the most of Utah’s great outdoors.

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