In my professional association’s journal, there was an article recently about the ethics and ecology of the essential oils we buy.
When it comes to ecology and ethics, this is an important topic as if we don’t pay attention to it, some of the oils we buy and use at present may not be available in a few years time.
In this brief piece I will argue that we should be looking at more than just the oils we buy for our practice. I welcome comments on this as it will help me hone what I write for, “In Essence.”
One of the things I would like to be able to source is unbleached couch roll. I have tried many suppliers and so far have not come up with one. I have contacted Suma, a workers cooperative based in Leeds who do provide unbleached kitchen roll and loo paper as well as a whole raft of whole foods mostly if not all organic.
There is also the matter of disposal of said couch roll. I use it for things like cleaning out our chicken’s hut, wiping spills on kitchen floor and whatever it is used for it goes into the compost heap afterwards. However unbleached it would have a considerably lower environmental impact.
Other areas of environmental impact include the heat sources we use for heating our treatment rooms. Sadly many of us don’t have much choice about this due to renting rooms for clinics but do be prepared to speak to clinic owners as they may be prepared to invest in renewable energy solutions which are dropping in price as they become more mainstream. I really like the idea of heat pump technology combined with renewable electricity however, most heat pump technology does not have the ability to heat a room up quickly so it may be necessary to have a second form of heating for this or look at the environmental impact of keeping the room at a warmer base temperature using the heat pump compared with using another source when rapid heating is needed.
When I see clients at home, I use a wood stove but even with a modern high efficiency one there is particulate pollution associated with this and if everyone in an area used this form of heating, the level of pollution would become unacceptable.
We should also be thinking about our carrier oils and where they come from. Most almond oil comes from vast monocultures in the United States. These are deserts as far as pollinators go because there is only a nectar source for a few weeks a year so bees are brought in on trucks carrying thousands of hives. (Those who know me will recognise this as one of my pet peeves as a bee-keeper.
Overall, my message is not one of do this or don’t do that but to be mindful in what we do. (I am sure most if not all practitioners would acknowledge the importance of this in their work with clients. I am asking that we consider the impacts on the environment in our purchasing and other decisions in every part of our practice. In this way I believe we can significantly reduce our impact on the environment and reduce the chances of some of the species we rely on from disappearing.