Making connections between sustainability, transportation and health

Making connections between sustainability, transportation and health

People often ask us whether there is a connection between sustainability and health. What does public health have to do with sustainability? As it turns out, the answer is: a lot!

Lloyd EcoDistrict’s mission is to make the Lloyd District the most sustainable living and working district in North America. Our work primarily focuses on energy efficiency, waste management, water management and small business support. We partner with Go Lloyd on alternative transportation projects, where we promote walking, biking, and public transit to reduce vehicle miles traveled in the district, especially when there is only one driver in a car (otherwise known as a single occupant vehicle, in the planning parlance).

These alternative transportation methods are all forms of active transportation, which promote a stronger connection between healthy, active living and our transportation choices. As the Portland Bureau of Transportation says, “By choosing to walk, bike, take transit, and carpool Portlanders increase fitness, save money, reduce traffic congestion, and help maintain a livable environment.” (See PBOT’s website for more information about their active transportation programs.) This is exactly what we want to promote in the Lloyd District.

Active transportation is also a key component of public health. Nationally, 95% of healthcare costs are medical costs, which is money spent on someone who is already sick. Only 5% is spent on preventative measures. However, experts suggest that our environment and behavior are responsible for 70% of our health outcomes, which means that a healthy lifestyle and healthy environment will make big difference on our own health and medical costs. Active transportation means more fitness and better health for individuals, and a more livable environment for all. That leads to a highly sustainable living and working Lloyd District.

Active transportation is just one of the connections between health and sustainability. On November 13th, staff from Lloyd EcoDistrict and Go Lloyd will be attending the Oregon Healthiest State kick-off conference at the University of Portland’s Chiles Center. This new program is a partnership that engages and inspires Oregonians to create and sustain healthy environments to support healthy lifestyles. We’ll be attending to better understand what opportunities exist to support our work in the Lloyd District to build the most sustainable (and healthy!) ecodistrict in North America. We will report on what kind of program or funding opportunities we can develop in the months to come.

 

Alison Hopcroft is the Program Manager at Lloyd EcoDistrict. You can reach her at alison@ecolloyd.org.

 

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