It’s easy to understand why focusing on environmental wellness is good for the planet. But what people don’t realize is how significantly it can help them as well. We’re going to take a deep dive into this aspect of personal health that some people overlook.
What Is Environmental Wellness?
Environmental wellness relates to the health of the planet – and your role in making it a better or worse place to live. It’s about making environmentally friendly choices that can better preserve the planet’s natural resources. The health of the planet impacts you, your loved ones, and those who will come after you’ve left. What you do today affects you, but it’s also the legacy you’ll leave behind you after you die.
Why Does Environmental Wellness Matter?
Our planet only has a limited number of resources, like fresh water, wood, oil, and fresh air.
We’re impacted by every facet of our environment, from Earth’s temperature to the cleanliness of the water we drink and the air we breathe. Some people think their single contributions are so small that it’s almost pointless to do anything unless everyone bands together to make sweeping changes.
But that’s not true. Every little bit you do will help the Earth, even if it’s only your community that sees the benefit. And no act is too small to matter. Planting one tree in your backyard, for instance, may seem inconsequential, but consider this: Experts believe that one big tree can create enough oxygen for four people to breathe for one full day. Plus, it cleans the air by removing carbon dioxide. A fully-grown tree can take over 48 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air in just one year.
So, the next time you think small actions don’t matter, think of what one single tree planting can do.
How Environmental Wellness Affects You?
If you live in a rural area, you might not see the effects of our poor global environmental wellness. From your small corner of the planet, things might be looking pretty good. But there is room – and a need – for major improvements. Here are some ways people are being affected every day by a planet that’s in distress.
- Premature death: Air pollution causes up to eight million premature deaths each year. It’s an epidemic, but it’s one that doesn’t make the headlines as often as coronavirus, heart disease, cancer, and other health hazards.
- Global warming: According to scientists, humans have caused or aggravated the current global warming epidemic by creating excessive greenhouse gases by driving our vehicles, our reliance on electricity, and warming and cooling our homes. Those gases are trapping heat that would usually go into outer space. To make matters worse, we’re cutting down a lot of trees each year, which means less carbon dioxide can be absorbed.
- Breathing issues: Even if poor air quality doesn’t cause premature death for you, you might have other issues from it. It can make your asthma symptoms worse and potentially contribute to SIDS, COPD, and lung cancer.
- Contaminated water: By not placing emphasis on addressing our overreliance on single-use plastics and by not cracking down on industrial pollution, we’re contaminating our water sources.
What Simple Steps Can You Take to Improve Environmental Wellness?
There are hundreds of ways you can help to reduce your carbon footprint, save natural resources, and fight pollution, which will lead to a healthier planet and fewer health issues for you.
- Plant a tree: It may seem simplistic, but by planting a tree in your local park or your yard, you’ll improve the air quality around you. And you’ll be helping future generations too.
- Use green cleaning products: All those harsh chemicals from your cleaning products linger in the air and wash down the drain. Instead, look for safer cleaning products like vinegar, lemon, and special environmentally friendly cleansers.
- Reduce your water usage: There is only so much freshwater to go around. Many people have shortages in the area in which they live. By taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth, and making other small adjustments, you can save dozens of gallons per day easily.
- Turn off electronics when you aren’t using them: There’s no reason to keep your television playing in the background when you’re doing other things. By shutting off electronics that aren’t in use, or unplugging your computer when it’s off, you’ll be conserving energy. That energy takes resources, so you’ll be helping the environment.
- Recycle: This one is easy to implement. Most towns have some form of recycling. Toss those milk jugs and soda cans in the recycling bin to make sure those materials are used again in some form.
- Avoid single-use water bottles: Buy a stainless-steel water bottle that will last you for years and save you money in the long run. If you no longer buy disposable water bottles, you’ll be helping conserve resources and stop pollution. Disposable water bottles are one of the biggest wastes of resources out there.
- Buy locally produced foods: By going to farmer’s markets or butchers in your city, you are supporting your community and the environment. By buying locally raised foods, you are eliminating all the wasted resources it takes to package and transport foods to your city.
- Don’t waste food: Foods take a lot of water and resources to make and grow. According to some figures, a pound of beef requires about 1,800 gallons of water to produce. If you’re wasting even a few bites of that food, you’re wasting the water it took to produce that meat as well as the life of the cow. Going meatless a few meals a week helps even more since fruits and vegetables require less water to produce than meat.
Make the World Around You Better
Even by taking small steps, you can make a meaningful contribution to the health of the planet. Just by saving 20 gallons of water per day, for instance, you can save 7,300 gallons per year. And if nine other people do the same, you’ve collectively saved 73,000 gallons of water in a year. That’s a great start.
Remember, no step is too small. The baby steps made by many will add up to a better environment and improved health for all of us.