Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | November 29, 2011

If I Could Change my Family, I Could Change the World

A message from the EDA Co-Founder

At our home on the West Coast, it is de rigueur to compost food scraps, set the table with washable cloth napkins, and walk out the door with a stainless steel coffee mug.  But for my family in South Florida, it’s another story.  My own Mother, God love her, still uses virgin paper napkins, still buys Styrofoam coffee cups, and still chooses bottled water, no matter how many times we’vehad “the conversation”.

No, not the conversation about the birds and the bees: the one where I say these habits are destroying our planet and are bad, bad, bad, and the one where she says, “Oh come on, I throw my trash down the shoot and it’s out of sight, out of mind.”  Because it is my beloved Mother and for the sake of family harmony, I eventually demur, putting the pile of chlorinated white paper napkins on the table, using one myself and ending the meal feeling fraught with guilt.  If I can’t convince my own Mother, I think to myself, maybe humankind is actually doomed.

This got me thinking about how these kinds of conversations can go in the dental office.  The one where Eco-Eleanor tries to convince her colleagues to buy bulk prophy paste, switch surface disinfectants, or recycle aluminum cans and Landfill-Larry says he’s not changing anything because “this is how we’ve always done it.” Now I know that a dental team is a lot like a family and if you’re an Eco-Eleanor maybe you’ve found a way to bring Landfill-Larry around, other than by acceding to his request to continue the status quo.  Maybe there’s a way to have a respectful, dare I say, non-emotional conversation, where the focus shifts to something everybody can agree on, like saving money.

If you’ve had success with these conversations, please share.  I’m set to visit my Mom again soon and I’d like to test drive your ideas.

Be well,

Ina Pockrass

EDA Co-Founder

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