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Antoniadou, M. Green Dental Environmentalism. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/46038 (accessed on 20 June 2024).
Antoniadou M. Green Dental Environmentalism. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/46038. Accessed June 20, 2024.
Antoniadou, Maria. "Green Dental Environmentalism" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/46038 (accessed June 20, 2024).
Antoniadou, M. (2023, June 26). Green Dental Environmentalism. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/46038
Antoniadou, Maria. "Green Dental Environmentalism." Encyclopedia. Web. 26 June, 2023.
Green Dental Environmentalism
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In every workplace, human sustainability is closely connected to the quality of establishments, the accessibility of green and blue spaces, and safety In dentistry, as in other fields, the physical setting is linked to an employee’s ability to physically engage with the workplace. A healthy dental workplace atmosphere positively influences individual employees’ behavior, enthusiasm, creativity, motivation, and efficiency, and, on the other hand, their desire to quit.

green dental environmentalism theories of environmentalism green dentistry green dental office

1. Introduction

In every workplace, human sustainability is closely connected to the quality of establishments, the accessibility of green and blue spaces, and safety [1]. Incorporating natural environments into human work settings with innovative architectural designs and sustainable construction materials and energy resources plays a serious direct and indirect role in health and wellbeing [2][3]. Although it has long been understood that green work settings play an important role in both human [4][5][6] and ecosystem health [3], it is only recently that these relationships have been specifically investigated to adapt sustainable planning and land use [6][7][8] to several social and environmental challenges [9], such as urban deprivation, biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change [10][11][12][13]. Furthermore, human-centric designs for building environments enhance their occupants’ satisfaction and health and emphasize sustainable lifestyles [3][14][15].
It is well-documented that energy and material resources are diminishing in all aspects of human activities, or that they are consumed at a faster rate than they can be replenished [3][11]. Actions have already been taken to address issues related to green establishments that connect a physical setting with the smart use of construction materials and esthetics to provide sustainable workplace environments that support human and natural resources [4][5]. Since the beginning of this century, stakeholders and governments worldwide have been discussing using a circular flow of energy instead of a linear one to sustain resources [7]. The UN environment program describes the “Environmental rule of law” that combines essential legislation with environmental needs. It provides the basis for improving environmental strategies at the governmental level. Under this initiative, environmental sustainability reflects universal moral values and ethical norms of behavior and relates to fundamental human rights and obligations [16]. Furthermore, the “Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe” provides a critical approach to the use of resources for environmental reasons but also for resource efficiency and security, employment, competitiveness, and human development [8]. It was additionally highlighted that functional, safe, and high-quality products should be more efficient, affordable, and long-lasting. They should be further designed for reuse, repair, or high-quality recycling. The philosophy of the four Rs (reuse, repair, rethink, recycle), or the “waste hierarchy” as it is known, is incorporated in various ways in CE national legislations [8]. In March 2020, the European Commission adopted the new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). This is part of the European Green Deal, Europe’s new agenda for sustainable growth [9]. This deal will assist the transition to a circular economy (CE). The consequences of this transition will reduce the pressure on natural resources and provide sustainability to all stakeholders [9].
In this context, the design and construction of green buildings is a new research focus motivated by the need for human wellbeing and sustainable resources in the health sector [2][3][10]. The circular philosophy of dentistry is currently emerging as a theme in the research literature, providing knowledge and tools for information sharing and enhancing environmental actions [10][17][18][19]. A significant aspect of this field-specific discussion concerns providing better quality and sustainable dental services by using new processes and slow dentistry workflows in an esthetic, naturally designed environment; it also aims to offer digital solutions, provide innovative resource analysis and building constructions that guarantee less waste [6], improve skills and current knowledge related to this theme, [18][19][20] and, ultimately, provide better quality of life for all, up to 2050 [13]. In dentistry, as in other fields, the physical setting is linked to an employee’s ability to physically engage with the workplace [12]. A healthy dental workplace atmosphere positively influences individual employees’ behavior, enthusiasm, creativity, motivation, and efficiency [15][20], and, on the other hand, their desire to quit [21].
The World Green Building Council defines a green building as a building that “in its design, construction or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts, on our climate and natural environment” [10]. Stakeholders in the construction industry are focusing on making modern buildings and their internal systems more sustainable by saving energy [3][19][20][21][22][23], water [24], human working hours [25], costs [26][27][28][29], and resources [3][30]. This attitude has positive impacts for a building, such as reduced carbon emissions [23], water and energy efficiency, the use of natural sunlight, exposure to nature, clean air circulation [31], reduced noise impact [32][33], higher returns in operating costs over five years, and higher investment returns with an asset value that can reach approximately 7% [26][27][28][29][30]. As a consequence, these constructions can facilitate sustainable dental practices that focus on indoor air and water quality, employees’ ability to socialize in a relaxing environment made from recycled materials, employees’ ability to exercise in the building due to long hours of continuous work, lighting and acoustic quality, safe waste disposal, and security issues [2][3][11][33].

2. Pro-Environmental Behaviors

Environmental problems correlate with human choices and behavior. Therefore, changes in behavior are necessary to improve the current status of environmental ethics. Pro-environmental behavior is behavior that minimizes the negative impact of individuals’ behavior on the environment [34]. It plays an important role in controlling energy resources and carbon footprints and protecting environmental sustainability [35]. In the literature, there are many labels similar to the term “pro-environmental behavior”, such as “environmental behavior”, “ecological behavior”, “environmentally friendly behavior”, “eco-friendly behavior”, “sustainable behavior”, “green behavior”, “conservation behavior”, “environmental action”, “responsible environmental behavior”, “ecological responsible behavior”, “environmentally responsible behavior”, “pro-ecological behaviors”, and “environmentally conscious behavior” [36]. All of these different terms have some common ground. They all essentially involve reducing resource use [37], recycling [38], or environmental volunteering [35]. They are also affected by personal values and ethics. They are further explained by psychological theories [35]. Understanding pro-environmental behaviors in healthcare has recently become a hotspot in research. Since 2012, the number of relevant studies has increased significantly [35]. Interest in pro-environmental behavior has mainly focused on the following aspects: (a) the definition and explanation of the influencing factors or results of pro-environmental behavior [39][40], (b) the relationship between pro-environmental behaviors and social norms [41], (c) the connection between pro-environmental behaviors and employees’ wellbeing [42], and (d) the design of models of pro-environmental behavior to introduce voluntary pro-environmental behaviors to employees [43]. The research conducted so far is of great significance to our systematic understanding of the tools and methodologies used to study pro-environmental ideas. However, academic research on pro-environmental behaviors in healthcare settings and especially in dental practices is in an active development stage and needs further exploration.

3. Theories of Pro-Environmental Behavior

The following theories are those most commonly applied in the study of pro-environmental behavior:
(A) Psychological theories. These involve the internal psychological processes undergone by individuals before they take action. The most representative ones are: (a) the theory of planned behavior [44][45], which investigates the impact of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control on individuals’ intention to engage in pro-environmental behavior [46][47][48], and (b) the norm activation theory [47]. According to this theory, personal norms such as awareness of consequences and responsibility [48] may control behaviors [49][50][51]. As such, an individual who believes that he has a moral obligation to protect the environment will undertake the corresponding actions [48][52].
(B) Sociological theories. These theories suggest that social situational factors may influence individual behaviors [53]. Members of a social network, such as dentists, inevitably interact with other members of the same network, influencing one another when making decisions or taking actions [54]. Through various kinds of social interaction, individuals obtain useful information [55], improve their understanding of environmental protection issues, and promote environmental sustainability [35].
(C) Economic theories. In this case, more attention is paid to the influence of external factors such as prices, costs, and income when studying the pro-environmental behavior of individuals. These theories provide a more realistic perspective on behaviors and choices [56]. They further suggest that people are rational and pursue their best interests. Thus, economic incentives are an effective way to promote sustainable pro-environmental behaviors [57][58].
Despite the research that has so far considered pro-environmental behaviors in many scientific fields, none of the extant literature adequately explains human attitudes towards environmentalism and sustainability. Thus, interpreting pro-environmental behaviors using a single theoretical or ethical approach should be limited [35][47]. All theories should provide complementary explanations and be revised for specific fields and practical situations. People should also keep in mind that individuals are not always rational when taking decisions. They often deviate from the hypothesis of rational choice [58]. This brings us to the hypothesis that a combined theoretical approach should be used in relevant research methodologies to acquire the greatest amount of information without bias.

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