By: MYRA MAGALETTA
How sustainability and well-being connect in South Florida.
Connecting the dots on sustainability of the environment and its link to our health is becoming increasingly obvious. It’s no secret that consuming clean products in skincare, supplements, and provisions has a direct physiological impact on our bodies and our minds. The choices we make in our quest for health also affect the wellness of our environment. Good news is, from macro to micro, Florida is making waves on all fronts.
There is a friendly competition underway between Floridian cities called The Florida Race to Zero. Mayors of Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Miami have made ambitious pledges to make their cities carbon neutral, achieved by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal. Announced on Earth Day last year, this coalition aims to footprint the experience for other cities inspired by the UN Net Zero coalition. In the Sunshine State, there is a lot at stake. “In Florida, extreme weather temperatures, increased flooding, severe weather and sea level rises have significant implications for human health including exposure to diseases, disruptions in food and water systems, and breakdowns in recovery structures,” according to University of Florida’s Office of Sustainability.
The realm of thoughtful consumption has trickled down to restaurants and lately, thanks to educated consumers, the expectation on delivery of a “wow factor” from environmentally friendly farm-to-table sourcing is through the roof. From Michael’s Genuine in Miami Design District, to Essensia in the Palms Hotel on Miami Beach, a great amount of attention is paid to the origin of offerings. In some cases, the lettuce in your Cobb Salad may be growing on the roof of the restaurant you are dining in. If these fresh antics are unattainable, restaurateurs and green living enthusiasts turn to Paradise Farms in Homestead which practices regenerative farming. As owner Karla Dascal explains, the focus of “sustainable practices centered on soil health, nutrient restoration, ecosystem diversity, and carbon capture allows us to produce an astounding array of beautiful, sustainably grown, locally focused produce while combating climate change. The best possible thing for the Earth.” Apparently, the 67 varieties of edible flowers are the stuff of culinary legend and worth the long drive down south. Another fabled Floridian epicenter of health and sustainability is Hippocrates Health Institute in Palm Beach, where the focus is on the Life Transformation. “Unfired food saves energy, affords the body the most energy and nutrition, and at the same time reduces the carbon footprint. What is right on a biological level is equally good for the mind, the planet, and humanity,” says Brian Clement, the institute’s director. When we connect the dots on how creating a healthy and sustainable future impacts our health and tune into the environment, we find the wellness journey can have a positive global impact. Caring for our environmental well-being gives us so much more than a healthy planet. It provides protection against disease and improves our quality of life. In the end, it is a win-win.