Earth, air, water. What do these things have in common? They are all directly related to our wellness and the wellness of our world. Each April, we acknowledge the environmental health connection as we celebrate Earth Day, an occasion recognized in 192 countries across the globe.
One billion people participate in Earth Day yearly. This event, launched in 1970, marked the beginning of a series of ecologically-oriented U.S. government initiatives, such as the Clean Air Act (1970) and the Clean Water Act (1972), that have had a far-reaching impact on our health. In the first twenty years after it was passed, the Clean Air Act alone prevented more than 200,000 premature deaths and 700,000 cases of chronic bronchitis.
Looking for ways to connect the health of the planet to your own personal wellness? Try these simple suggestions:
– Idle Not. Turn your car off when parked for any period of time. Idling cars release carbon monoxide and other lung-noxious gases into the air.
– Commute Another Way to Work. Join your friends and fellow citizens the week of May 16-20 in cycling, walking, carpooling or busing your way to the office, as a means of keeping the atmosphere pristine. Taking advantage of foot power whenever possible enables you to reap numerous health benefits as well, by strengthening your muscles and bones, and kicking your cardiovascular system into a higher gear.
– Let Your Food Go Nude. Populate your plate with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Whole foods typically require less packaging, which keeps clutter out of the landfills, while simultaneously contributing to a better, more nutritious diet for you.
– A Local Buyer Be. When you support local agriculture by buying food raised in your neighborhood, you decrease the distance between the farm and your plate. This practice uses less transportation fuel, keeps the air around you clean, and means your food retains more of its original nutirets.
– Watch Your Water. Take care using chemicals on your lawn and gardens, as they end up in the groundwater, which makes its way to local lakes and streams, and eventually back into your body, in the form of drinking water.
However you chose to recognize Earth Day this April 22, know that your efforts cannot help but be beneficial to your health–and ultimately the health of your fellow earth-dwelling creatures. Any measures you take will likely have a positive effect on the wellness of the world.