Heal the planet, heal yourself
Take charge of planetary health today.
Our environment is everything around us, including the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the places we live and work, and the natural world. It is important for our wellbeing because it provides us with the resources we need to survive and thrive. A healthy environment can help us to feel better physically and emotionally. It can also help us to connect with others and to feel a sense of belonging. A polluted environment, on the other hand, can lead to health problems, such as respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and cancer. It can also lead to
stress, anxiety, and depression.
Here are some of the ways that the environment can affect our wellbeing:
A healthy environment can help us to stay healthy by providing us with clean air, water, and food. It can also help us to get regular exercise by providing us with access to parks, trails, and other green spaces.
A healthy environment can help us to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help us to improve our mood and our overall sense of well-being. It is found that people who spend time in nature are more likely to feel happy and relaxed.
A healthy environment can help us to connect with others and to build strong relationships. It can also help us to feel a sense of belonging and community. People who live in walkable neighborhoods are more likely to know their neighbors and to feel connected to their community.
A healthy environment can help us to feel calm, relaxed, and at peace. It can also help us to appreciate the beauty of the natural world.
The above aspects are aggravated due to the current climate crisis. Climate change has caused weather to be more unpredictable which is found to cause stress, anxiety and even affects physical health due to extreme temperatures. If we dive a little deeper, climate change can have the following impact on human health:
- Food supply: Changes in weather and temperature conditions will result in growth of crops being altered. This directly affects food supply since many crops cannot survive in conditions outside of their ideal one.
- Changes in vector ecology: Climate change is found to promote the creation and survival of resilient species of microorganisms. As weather becomes more extreme, microorganisms tend to evolve to be able to survive the conditions they live in. In this process, they become more resistant, which makes them harder to destroy thus causing more fatalities.
- Air pollution: Heat catalyzes the formation of Ozone which is very unhealthy for humans. Extreme weather conditions also promotes the use of air conditioning and other forms of temperature regulation which releases pollutants into the atmosphere. This can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and asthma.
The built environment around us is responsible for over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. Although it is a significant contributor to climate change, it plays a significant role in our wellbeing. Bike-able roads, sidewalks and built green spaces have shown to promote healthier lifestyles. Promoting sustainable built environments would reduce emissions in the long run.
By making small changes in our daily lives, we can make a big difference for our planet and for our own health and happiness.
Try 7 tips to Improve your Environment and Wellbeing
Recycle and compost.
Recycling and composting help to reduce the amount of waste we produce, which helps to protect our environment.
Reduce our energy use
We can reduce our energy use by turning off lights when we leave a room, unplugging appliances when we're not using them, and weatherizing our homes.
We can conserve water by taking shorter showers, fixing leaky faucets, and watering our lawns less often.
Support businesses that are committed to sustainability. When we support such businesses, we are helping to create a more sustainable world.
Get involved in our community.
We can get involved in our community by volunteering for environmental organizations, attending city council meetings, and writing to our elected officials about environmental issues.
Maintain plants in your home or yard
This is known to help calm the mind and is also found to combat loneliness while also helping counter climate change.
Keeping your surroundings neat
Ensuring that the space around you is clean and free of clutter will make you feel lively and productive while elevating your mood.
- Environment & Well-Being Lab. University of Washington
- How Environmental Quality Affects Our Happiness. World Happiness Report. https://worldhappiness.report/ed/2020/how-environmental-quality-affects…
- What is Environmental Wellbeing. Boston University. https://www.bu.edu/studentwellbeing/what-is-wellbeing/environmental-wel…
- Environment, Health and Wellbeing: A Systemic Approach. EEA. https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/environment-health-and-wellbeing-a
- Well-being and the Environment. New Economics Foundation. https://neweconomics.org/uploads/files/88cb2c4314731314d0_gxm6bq37b.pdf
- Liu, F., Yan, L., Meng, X., & Zhang, C. (2022). A review on indoor green plants employed to improve indoor environment. Journal of Building Engineering, 53, 104542.
- Project drawdown. https://drawdown.org/sites/default/files/Project%20Drawdown%20Annual%20…
- Cameron, R. W., Brindley, P., Mears, M., McEwan, K., Ferguson, F., Sheffield, D., ... & Richardson, M. (2020). Where the wild things are! Do urban green spaces with greater avian biodiversity promote more positive emotions in humans?. Urban ecosystems, 23, 301-317.