sustainability and health

The environment impacts every aspect of your life, from what you eat to the quality of the air you breathe. Climate change affects our way of living, and your decisions can be detrimental to the environment. Everything we do now will impact future generations.

Here are some of the top ways sustainability and your health are interconnected.

 

1. Consider What You Eat

sustainability and health - food

Researchers highlight the importance of managing the food we eat and how it impacts climate change. According to the USDA, 30%-40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted. Parts of these percentages come from food loss at the consumer, supply chain and retail levels, resulting in 133 billion pounds and $161 billion of food in 2010.

We need water, land, energy and fertilizer to produce food — all coming at an environmental cost.

Food wastage is responsible for about 6% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Moreover, agriculture is the largest contributor to global deforestation. The terrestrial footprint expands due to the growing demand for dairy, meat and crop-based biofuels and increased livestock feed production.

Deforestation contributes to global warming. However, you can live more sustainably by eating more plants and foods local to your area. You could also harvest your own backyard garden.

 

2. Address Cleaner Water

A healthy environment involves the water you drink. Clean water leads to a healthier lifestyle. However, many don’t consider how much water goes to waste.

The more water you utilize, the more sewage you produce. That sewage gets released back into the environment — requiring more energy to treat it. However, you can make a difference by conserving your household water. 

Consider installing water-saving showerheads, using efficient toilets and adding aerators to your sink’s faucet. Instead of buying water bottles, place a filter on your sink and drink more tap water. You can also set up sprinkler systems so water doesn’t land on the sidewalks and driveway.

 

3. Create a Healthy Home Environment

The places you live and work can impact your health. For example, you may have household products that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or toxic chemicals. VOCs are commonly found in building materials, cleaning products and air fresheners and cause indoor air pollution. 

What’s bad for the environment is also bad for you. Long-term exposure to VOCs can damage your central nervous system, lungs, liver and kidneys.

Furthermore, sustainability may encourage you to accumulate fewer material goods. Investing your time in creating more space can bring you joy, productivity and comfort. That’s why many people are adopting a minimalist lifestyle. 

You could consider cutting down on the clothes in your closet and the number of things you’ve collected over the years. That way, you can create a stress-free environment while living clutter-free.

 

4. Find Alternative Modes of Transportation

Living more sustainably means using alternative modes of transportation. Cars release 1.6 billion tons of greenhouse gases each year. However, you can positively change your carbon footprint by minimizing your vehicle and public transportation use. 

Committing to a new method of transportation impacts your physical and mental health and the environment. Jogging, walking and cycling to your destination are all ways to improve your cardiovascular health. 

You could also consider carpooling with your neighbor if non-vehicle transportation isn’t the best option.

 

5. Reconnect to Nature

people in nature

A healthy environment is highly beneficial for your mental well-being. It can reduce stress and help you get in touch with nature. Hiking in a forest and avoiding busy, congested areas can significantly lower your cortisol levels. 

Camping is another great way to improve sustainability. You can go on a refreshing getaway while conserving energy and connecting with nature.

 

6. Build Community Connections

Sustainability doesn’t only contribute to your physical health. It also improves your personal relationships. While finding ways to work toward a sustainable lifestyle, you might:

  • Attend local sustainability events
  • Share news and information with friends
  • Volunteer and establish community connections

You may not realize you’re building a network while attending these activities. The people around you share the same goals and values, and this type of support system contributes to your mental well-being.

 

7. Provide a Place for Mindfulness and Reflection

Making sustainable choices helps you maintain an ecological balance and your sense of comfort. You feel a sense of relief, strengthening your spiritual health. A stronger spiritual orientation keeps you grounded. 

You find more meaning in your everyday life when you feel connected to your environment. Committing to sustainability provides you with a place for more reflection. As you make more healthful choices, you’ll find peace within yourself and establish more certainty if your life and the environment.

 

8. Make Informed Decisions

Information about the state of our environment is more readily available than before. This means you can always find new ways to achieve sustainability. This promotes your intellectual health, whether you’re finding new ways to recycle or attending a meeting on sustainability.

Staying informed helps you make smarter decisions — and it creates an atmosphere where the right changes are in place. 

 

9. Save Money

Adopting a sustainable lifestyle can even improve your savings. Many people think sustainability means spending more. However, there are many ways to positively impact the environment and your financial health.

For instance, you can reduce water consumption and save $35 each year by using an Energy Star-certified dishwasher. Changing your home’s air filter reduces power consumption and saves you money on your heat or electricity bill.

Even little savings go a long way and add up quickly.

 

10. Boost Workplace Morale

team work

Not all companies operate sustainably. However, your employer can create a greener office by participating in sustainable workplace programs and setting up recycling stations. 

Workplaces that pursue a healthier atmosphere can boost individual and team morale. In turn, the company creates a productive environment and reduces workplace stress while doing good for the planet.

 

Maintain a Healthy and Sustainable Lifestyle

As you can see, going green is linked to overall health and has a positive impact on the environment. Consider taking action toward a sustainable lifestyle so you can create a healthier planet in the future.

Jane works as an environmental writer and the editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she gives practical tips for living a greener life.

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