Our environment is forever changing, and we play a huge role in the way that it deviates. The air we breathe and the trees we see outside our window may be the first thing we think of when we hear the word ‘environment’ but the food we eat, the products we use on our skin, and the solutions we use to keep our homes clean all have a profound effect on our external and internal environment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World Health Day in April with a focus this year on “Our Planet, Our Health” because it is imperative that we create a world that is safe to live in. You can read more about their mission here. The WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes, including our current climate crisis. Take myself, for example, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the healthiest humans on the planet (yes, I’ll toot my own horn!), and my doctor said that it was purely environmental. Nothing I did wrong. This prompted me to investigate further the things that are IN my control in my own personal environment to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
There are many things we don’t have control over when it comes to our environment, however, the actions we take every day can make a huge difference in how our overall environment changes over time. Actions such as what we put in our bodies, on our bodies, and how we live our daily lives can directly affect the future of our planet and our personal health. It takes one person to make a difference, and it starts with you!
Here are some things you can do NOW to help reverse our climate emergency and help our planet get healthy.
How you commute
Walk or take your bike as much as you can
Take public transportation when you can
If you have to drive, carpool
If able, try to work flexible hours so you’re not commuting in rush hour or try a hybrid schedule so you’re not commuting every day.
Purchase a climate-friendly car
In your home
Change to a renewable energy provider
Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room
Don’t run water while brushing your teeth
Use energy-efficient lighting
Keep the windows open instead of using AC and keep heating at 68 -70 degrees
Recycle and compost
Use rainwater to water your lawn
Get rid of plastics and use reusable bags when shopping
Use Energy Star appliances
Install a low flow showerhead and take shorter showers
Do laundry less frequently and air dry whenever possible
Purchase eco-friendly cleaning products. Here’s a great list!
In your body
Eat seasonally and locally (support your farmers!)
Stop wasting food. Freeze leftovers!
Select meat and fish from sustainable sources – know where your food comes from!
Try growing your own food when you can
On your body
Use carbon-neutral beauty and skincare products – these products don’t add carbon to the atmosphere during production – win-win!! Here’s a great app we use to help us find some of the cleanest beauty products out there! Think Dirty.
Look at the ingredients in your detergents! Find detergents that don’t have phosphate, chlorine, bleach, brighteners, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, artificial fragrances, and Dichlorobenzene. Some of our favorites are Tru Earth, ECOS Laundry Detergent, Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent, and Seventh Generation.
Use reusable bags, water bottles, and mugs
Limit the number of plastics you purchase and use
Do not litter
As you can see there are so many ways that you can start living a more sustainable lifestyle, which in turn is not only going to help you stay healthy but also help our planet become healthier.
Author: Melissa Dupuis, MPH, CHES