By Ina Pockrass, EDA Co-Founder
“[W]ith every decision we make, we always keep in mind the Seventh Generation to come. It’s our job to see that the people coming ahead, the generations still unborn, have a world no worse than ours and hopefully better.”
-Oren Lyons, Iroquois tribal leader
Returning from the Sundance Resort after putting on the industry’s firstGreen Dentistry Conference, I’ve been reflecting on all the wonderful things that went right. The setting was beyond spectacular: clear, brilliant blue skies, rushing fresh water, breath-taking mountains. Our speakers were superb: offering evidence-based insights about everything from the burgeoning market of green dentistry consumers to the latest technical tips on CAD-CAM systems. The beds were deliciously comfortable and the food deliciously nourishing.
But what has stayed with me? The images of the children and the pregnant Mothers who were there. The innocence of a child’s delight in seeing a trout swimming free in a stream, the way a four year old easily navigated an iPad and a soccer ball, the hope evidenced by the women brave enough to bring another child into this world, at this time.
Just days ago, our planet passed a milestone: we’ve succeeded for the first time in human history in dumping so much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that it now measures 400 parts per million. This level of saturation of carbon dioxide, the stuff resulting from our continued reliance on petroleum as our primary fuel source, has been called a climate change “tipping point”. It got me asking whether we’re doing enough to stem the tide of dangerous and irreversible climate change so that the world we leave to our children is, in the words of the Iroquois, “no worse than ours.”
Being in the company of everyone who participated in the Green Dentistry Conference gave me hope not only for the children who were there, but for the children yet to come. I experienced a vibrant, collaborative community of like-minded individuals who do not run from challenges. I heard inspiring stories of dental offices installing solar panels, dentists eager to create Eco-Dentistry Association chapters in their local areas, hygienists incorporating water-saving tips into their hygiene instruction, companies innovating environmentally-sound products, and offices willing to embrace change even when it means doing things differently from “how we’ve always done it.”
It will take this kind of commitment from every industry if our planet is to recover from the mess we’ve made. I am filled with gratitude for every person who participated in this conference. YOU are a part of a movement that is helping dentistry lead the way.