Sometimes it is easy to forget the most important factor in our health; the earth! Without our planet providing the appropriate nutrients, vitamins, minerals, water, and numerous other necessities for life we wouldn’t even be alive to worry about the status of our own health.
Just as it is important to be cognizant and active regarding our own well-being, it is equally important to be aware of the health of our planet and act to improve it as well.
When we neglect our health, it quickly becomes apparent that changes need to be made. It is the same with our planet. Unfortunately, even though the signs of poor health are present, the earth is unable to make positive change on its own. Instead, the responsibility falls on us to keep our planet healthy and functioning for as long as possible. Earth Day falls on April 22nd and is a perfect time to take part in environmental friendly activities that will both aid the planet and your own well-being. The following 5 habits and activities are easy to implement on Earth Day but are certainly doable throughout the year.
Enjoy the Outdoors
One of the best ways to celebrate Earth Day is by simply taking part in fun, heart-healthy activities in nature. This can be as simple as going for a swim at the beach, taking a hike, riding a bike, or taking a walk. Engaging nature in this way not only increases appreciation for the beautiful world around us but it also gets the body moving. Exercising regularly, even if that just means walking for an hour, can improve one’s health. Furthermore, doing physical activity outdoors exposes the body to sunlight, which allows for absorption of Vitamin D. This element promotes proper utilization of necessary minerals and aids in other bodily functions as well. Exercise and being outside is also a notable mood-booster, which can induce sensations of well-being.
Recycle and Avoid Bottled Water
Recycling is not only worthwhile because there is a monetary benefit attached to it. This act is important for our planet’s longevity as well. Because there is a finite amount of resources available on our planet it is critical that we get the most use out of them and reduce waste. Through repurposing and reusing materials such as plastic bottles rather than simply discarding them we reduce stress on our limited resources.
For many, bottled water is an unnecessary luxury and risk. Unfortunately, bottles are frequently not recycled correctly and are over utilized. Plastic bottles and containers are not only bad for the planet but they can impact our health as well. When plastics begin breaking down or are exposed to extreme environments and temperatures they can leech toxins into their contents. One can avoid the risk of exposure by simply upgrading from a single use plastic bottle to a reusable glass one. Glass bottles do not have the same risk of leeching as plastics and don’t need to be recycled or thrown out after a single use.
Reduce the Amount of Meat in Your Diet
A well-balanced diet containing meat is perfectly acceptable for one’s health. Unfortunately, many overconsume meat products which has perhaps played a role in the increased prevalence of heart disease. Temporarily or permanently adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet can help reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health. If you overly consume meat products, altering your diet to include more veggies can be greatly beneficial to your health and the planet’s.
Overconsumption of meat has also caused the meat industry to become a booming economic powerhouse that utilizes many resources to keep up with demand. Chemicals and pesticides used in raising livestock can be harmful to one’s health and certainly has an impact on the environment. Some studies state that, due in part to the use of these chemicals, the meat industry accounts for roughly 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing global consumption of meat, even if that only means skipping it for one day a week, can have a positive impact.
Consuming fresh local produce offers various benefits. Not only do you get to engage with local farmers and the community at large but the quality of the food you buy will likely improve. In general, after three days of being harvested produce loses about one third of its nutritional value. By purchasing your fruits and veggies from local vendors you can enjoy the freshest most nutrient dense products possible. Sourcing locally produced organic foods ensures you get the most value out of what you eat.
Eating fresh can also be done through cultivating and caring for your own garden. Caring for a garden may provide more than fresh food. Some studies have likened the mental impact of gardening to that of yoga. Engaging in carefully tending one’s outdoor garden can have a calming effect on the brain and induce relaxation. Knowing where your food comes from also helps you avoid exposure to harmful pesticides and chemicals.
Get Educated and Involved
Laws and regulations concerning public health, safety, and food have a notable impact on our health. Being aware of potentially harmful legislation and attempts to repeal protective regulations already in place is an important part of helping our planet and safeguarding our health. For example, voicing concerns to your state officials regarding poor water treatment practices or dangerous regulations that allow toxins on produce can positively change the trajectory of such situations. Making your voice heard through signing petitions or raising awareness not only protects the planet but it protects your community too. Taking part in the conversation of public health and planetary wellness benefits everyone’s well-being.
Help the Earth and Your Health
Hopefully, this Earth Day will give you the opportunity to implement some or all the suggestions listed above. Keep in mind, these activities are not limited only to Earth Day and can be practiced all year long. By raising awareness and taking part in planetary conservation we can improve the earth’s health and ours.