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A visit to the Omega Center for Sustainable Living teaches us more than just green building and sustainability. Find out how the earth’s natural processes help detoxify the planet and how you can benefit from green living.
Sustainability, it’s quite the buzzword these days, but what does it really mean?
Upon reviewing everything from popular culture to academic tomes, sustainability, in a nutshell means: living happy, healthy, productive and economically sound lives in harmony with nature, with a focus on ensuring the same potential for all creatures in the future.
Or more simply put, sustainability means we should all be able to thrive now AND in the distant future when we live in harmony with nature.
If you follow the Body Ecology lifestyle, you may already be aware that we, as humans, are microcosms of the environment in which we live. Inside our bodies, we have a whole ecosystem – just like the earth’s ecosystem – that must remain in balance in order for you to feel your best.
And here’s the miracle of it all...this inner ecosystem in your intestines is full of good bacteria and yeast ...yes, bugs, that keep you healthy, that boost your energy, that improve your immunity and that cleanse your body of toxins.
In essence, these good bacteria and yeast clean you up and help you maintain your health.
And the only way that you can ensure the life and health of these good bugs, is to honor nature...like eating a whole foods Body Ecology diet, consuming traditional fermented foods and drinks and taking good care of your body. Because when the good bacteria thrive, you thrive too.
This whole dilemma about the environment and sustainability may seem like a huge problem...maybe it feels so big that you don’t know where to begin.
But if you start first by recognizing what you need to do for yourself – to keep your own body and those good bugs inside your inner ecosystem healthy – it starts to get a bit easier. Because your body mirrors nature, the more you take good care of yourself by living and eating in harmony with nature, the more you move towards a sustainable lifestyle.
In other words, as you get healthier, the planet gets healthier!
We recently visited Omega Institute For Holistic Studies, a renowned learning center for wellness and personal growth, located on 195 beautiful acres in Hudson Valley’s Rhinebeck, NY.
As Omega Institute became the retreat center of choice for over 23,000 people per year, CEO Skip Backus and the Omega team began culling wisdom of great thinkers in environmental sustainability, like Al Gore, Jane Godall, Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Dr. John Todd (the father of modern water reclamation) were consulted .
Having become a leader in creating health in mind, body and spirit, Omega is also serious about being a leader in sustainability…so much so that they created the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL).
The OCSL is a state-of-the art, zero-carbon footprint environmental center designed by Kansas City-based BNIM Architects and is expected to be the first certified “Living Building” in the United States.
Constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status (the highest green building standards of the trade), the OCSL was built with toxin free, natural and recycled materials, uses clean energy (geothermal and solar) and incorporates wastewater recycling in what is one of the most intriguing learning centers of our time.
At the heart of OCSL is a 4,500 square foot green house containing an Eco Machine™, an energy-efficient, self-sustaining wastewater treatment process, designed by award-winning ecological engineer, Dr. John Todd.
And when you walk into the OCSL, you’d never know that wastewater was being treated there (approximately 5 million gallons per year!). This beautiful $3.5 million labor of love is more like a modern oasis, with classrooms full of natural light and elements of nature. So while we might think of waste as, well…yucky…The Eco Machine™ proves that waste is in fact so natural that nature can take care of it. There is no wastewater smell…only the beauty of nature.
The Eco Machine™ mimics the earth’s natural process of cleaning wastewater. Because in nature, waste actually gets cleaned up as it goes over rocks, through sand and essentially becomes food for fish, algae, snails, microorganisms and plants.
A critical component of the wastewater treatment is also a constructed wetland containing 8,000 plants outside the OCSL, which was planted by Omega’s 185-person staff. We also learned that Omega carefully evaluated the center’s impact on surrounding flora and fauna, ensuring that there was no negative impact on any living creature.
The OCSL will provide a model for green architecture and sustainability globally and serve to educate students, visitors, policy makers, professionals and developers.
Here’s How You Can Learn to Detoxify to Look and Feel Your Best! If you missed Body Ecology’s Detoxification Training offered over the summer to rave reviews, you can still learn the little-known detoxification secrets that will help you create your best health. In this day and age, we all need to detoxify and now, Donna Gates and her team of top medical and natural health experts show you how. You can learn in the comfort of your own home with this easily downloadable program that includes over 11 hours of class recordings, over 270 pages of class transcripts and over 37 pages of class handouts that allow you to listen and learn at your own pace. Find out more and receive your Body Ecology Detoxification Training package today!
Walking around the OCSL is like a lesson in natural, toxin-free living. Hanging on the wall is a reminder that the OCSL is free of toxins that commonly taint indoor air quality, like cadmium, lead, mercury, chlorinated polyethylene, chlorosulfonated polyethylene, chlorofluorocarbons, neoprene, formaldehyde and halogenated flame retardants.
As we spoke about the Eco Machine™ to Omega’s CEO, Skip Backus, we wanted to know how it dealt with the toxins in personal care products that many of the 23,000 visitors might use in a given year. His response caused us to stop and think: “While we are educating our visitors about toxins, we have found that there are bacteria to handle every poison.” In other words, the Eco Machine™ takes advantage of what already exists in nature to detoxify the water…even when we tax nature with toxic personal care products.
Keep in mind that the goal is to reduce or eliminate toxins so that we don’t tax nature in cleaning up our world. But the profound statement made by Backus reminds us that nature in the form of bacteria, can help us detoxify.
Body Ecology’s founder, Donna Gates, has been teaching the same profound message for decades. In fact, our bodies have an Eco Machine™ of sorts in the form of what Gates calls your “inner ecosystem.” Your inner ecosystem is the balance of microflora (good bacteria and yeast) in your intestines that help clean up any toxins in your body, so that your energy, immunity and digestion are in top form.
However, the 24/7 stressful lifestyles, poor diets and exposure to toxins can kill the good bacteria and yeast, leaving your inner ecosystem imbalanced and your digestion, energy and immunity suppressed. This is where illness begins.
But the message here is a positive one. As we move towards green building and greener, sustainable lifestyles, we come closer to nature. We build, teach, live and eat closer to nature. This is what the Body Ecology program is all about and we applaud Omega Institute for being leaders in creating healthier people and a healthier planet.
We highly recommend that you take a trip to Omega Institute to visit the OCSL and see it for yourself. And while you’re there, take part in a retreat. You will surely walk away transformed.
To learn more about the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, visit: www.eomega.org/omega/omegaliving/6/
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