Didi Speaks at Vermont Statehouse 2011

On February 3rd, 2011, Didi Pershouse was asked to speak in the Vermont Statehouse on the issue of Global Warming, along with many other leaders. The transcript follows.

“I’m Didi Pershouse from the Center for Sustainable Medicine, and this is one of my allies, Katie Williams, who is a nurse at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital. We’re both working with Transition Town White River Junction’s health-care initiative. We’re standing here together to say: if hospitals are using twice the energy of standard office buildings, if hospital incinerators have been the largest producers of cancer-causing dioxins, and if people are peeing out pharmaceuticals that are ending up in city water supplies and can’t be taken out, then it doesn’t matter if all humans have access to universal health coverage. That only would solve part of the problem. We want to redefine “universal healthcare” to include the whole planet. In our view, universal healthcare means that we treat the natural world as part of our patient base. It deserves to be healthy, and we can’t be healthy if it isn’t.  We need to be caring and thoughtful providers for the earth.

At the Center for Sustainable Medicine we’re developing, practicing and writing about models of medicine that are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. Models of medicine that are not dependent on cheap oil to keep going, that are not contributing to global warming or pollution, and that work to build and strengthen relationships and communities.

One other thing I want to say to the leaders in this room, especially to the young leaders out there: don’t try to lead alone. Gather your allies, grab one of them to stand next to you like I’ve done with Katie, and then say the things that no one else is daring to say. If you’re shaking, don’t worry, that means you’re saying all the right things!”

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