Happy Fourth of July.  Hopefully, this holiday will be a fun day spent with friends and family, relaxing and celebrating our wonderful country.  Also, hopefully this day will be a green day.  I have several tips to make the 4th a wonderful green day.

First of all, let’s talk about fireworks.  They are not green.  All polytechnic applications are significant polluters of the environment.  I know it is hard to imagine celebrating the 4th without fireworks.  So let’s compromise here and leave this part of the celebration to the experts.  Plan to go to a community event rather than staging a backyard event.  This way it will be done with more control, alleviating the risk of accidents that occur every year, and plus you get to celebrate in grand style.

Also, for picnics and barbecues, it is important to use biodegradable or reusable plates and plastics.  The picnic will still be fun and you will be doing your part to reduce the piles at the landfills.  Pay attention to the food served at your picnic or barbecue.  Hot dogs and hamburgers are staples at cookouts and barbecues, but be mindful of the environmental impact of the production of such products.  Make sure you incorporate healthy and possibly organic fruits and salads into your menu.  You will be doing a favor to yourself, your family and friends and the environment.

Think green when you crank up the grill.  Propane is three times as efficient as charcoal.  If you opt for charcoal, make sure it is wood briquettes.  They are more sustainable.  Also, do not overcook or char  food on the grill.  This is toxic to the body and the environment.  

Try to incorporate some exercise into the day.  The Fourth of July is a great time to organize a friendly game of baseball, volleyball, dodgeball, etc.  Exercise is great for the health of friends and family.  

As you can see, the Fourth of July is a wonderful day to celebrate our nation and green.  Let’s live green, be green!

Earlier today, the Supreme Court submitted its ruling that upholds the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act or as we have come to know it, “Obamacare”.  The overall costs of this act in terms of dollars will be hotly debated for years to come, especially in regards to individual mandates and expansion of Medicaid to cover unemployed and uninsured people.  While there is some disagreement about some of the terms of Obamacare, one positive lies in the mandatory provision of preventive services, especially for women and children.  This definitely fits into the category of a green initiative.  

With this provision, many people, young and old,will get the opportunity to get medical services in a physician’s office rather than in the emergency room.  This experience is important because an established doctor-patient relationship in an office carries with it an educational component.  People with established relationships with medical professionals can attest to the availability of reading material available in the doctor’s waiting rooms regarding nutrition, exercise, hygiene, etc., as well as the videos that often are playing on the televisions.  The wait time in the physician’s office is a dedicated learning experience.  Also, the scheduled block of time for each patient provides opportunities to ask the physician or the assistants general health questions and to get referrals for ancillary services, such as counseling, support groups, etc.  On the other hand, appearances in area hospital emergency rooms are often rushed due to the sheer number of people waiting to be seen.

Preventive services are very important because they incorporate a holistic approach to good health.  They encourage us to make the connection between positive changes afforded by clean air, clean water, healthy diet, environmental changes and other green initiatives that help us to avoid health problems.  

We also can expect to see hospitals and medical practices adopt practices to control the increased flow of visitors to their facilities.  These initiatives include the increased use of visiting nurse practitioners and physicians to homes to treat chronically ill patients, the use of computers and video conferencing to maintain remote contact with patients to discuss their conditions and the introduction of more community counseling, lecture series and classes for patients to address health issues.  

Obamacare definitely is a step in the right direction to educating citizens to live green, be green!