Why You Should Make Environmental Wellness a Priority
Our purpose on earth deserves focus.
In the midst of our busy lives we rarely stop to think about the world around us, especially the planet we live on. It’s easy to take for granted the air we breathe, the trees that create that air and the fact that we are grounded to this earth by the grace of gravity.
It’s important not only to take a moment every now and then to appreciate the earth, but to also be mindful of the way we treat our planet through our daily habits. Ideally, we should all strive to achieve what’s called environmental wellness, which is really a fancy term for striving to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly life.
Working toward environmental wellness is a worthy endeavor: Protecting natural resources and living sustainably in our natural environment gives you a sense of pride, helps preserve the Earth for future generations and helps counteract the many effects of climate change.
Prioritizing social wellness is important, sure. The same goes for holistic wellness as well as the simple, general concept of wellness. Here’s why you should make environmental wellness a priority in your life, and how you can get started today.
What is environmental wellness?
Environmental wellness encompasses a number of earth-centric priorities. Planet conscious terms like eco-friendly, environmentally friendly, go green and sustainable living are all different ways of saying environmental wellness.
The guiding principle is to keep the earth clean and healthy, minimizing our negative impact as much as possible. We are to focus on our relationship with the plant, not just our relationship with others.
To achieve environmental wellness, a person should be aware that the planet’s natural resources have limits, honor nature whenever they can and be accountable for their part in making the world a better place from an environmental perspective.
As a community, focusing on environmental wellness connects people to each other and to the planet. When we all work together on this common goal, we can feel a sense of pride about the work we are doing to literally make the world a better place for all.
Why is environmental wellness important?
Of course, environmental wellness is important to the planet. But it’s also good for us, too. There are a number of reasons why being more environmentally aware is important on the individual level, in our communities and to society at large.
These are just a few of the ways that environmental wellness can impact people—and the world—for the better.
Connects us with nature
Being in community with nature is inherently good for us. Studies have shown that being outside among trees can calm people’s nervous systems and alleviate anxiety. People who exercise outdoors even burn more calories than people who exercise inside.
We are meant to be among nature because we are part of it. It can be hard to remember this amid the demands of daily life with our obligations (and devices) competing for our time. But remembering our natural roots is an important element of honoring the planet and achieving environmental wellness. We can’t breathe poor quality air, and we can’t afford to waste Earth’s natural resources.
Impacts our health
A healthy Earth creates healthy plants and animals, us included. It should go without saying that working to make sure the air we breathe and the water we drink is clean and safe should be a major priority for all of us. When the planet is sick, people get sick. Limiting our interaction with potentially harmful substances takes a long-term, large-scale effort.
Creates less anxiety about climate change
Climate change is a real concern. It’s easy to feel powerless when yet another headline describes how we’re basically all doomed if we keep heading in the direction we’re going. But in such an environment, recognizing that we can make a difference is half the battle. Making changes in your daily habits, even small ones, can help quell those worries when you know that you’re doing your part. Your influence on your family and community can make a difference.
Preserves the earth for future generations
While we may not feel all of the effects of climate change in our lifetimes, those who come after use surely will. If you need motivation for living a life that’s focused on environmental wellness, think of your children and grandchildren and all of the people who will inherit the earth when our time has passed. What we do today will impact these people.
Supports small businesses
Working toward environmental wellness can impact your local community . When you put into practice habits like buying in-season produce or not shopping online to avoid the environmental toll that shipping packages takes, you can shop locally at local farmers markets and boutique stores, which can have a positive financial impact on the people around you.
Sends a clear message to big business
When more people collectively care about our environment and the natural world we can spark real change. Supporting local businesses, as well as big brands that care about the planet, allow you to vote with your wallet, causing businesses that aren’t eco-friendly to reevaluate their policies.
Environmental wellness examples to incorporate into your life
When it comes to working toward living a sustainable lifestyle, focus on the little things you can do that can add up to big change. Your daily habits affect the planet and, collectively as a community, when we put environmentally friendly habits into place we can turn the tides of climate change.
The following ideas are a good place to start if you’re unsure on what to do to achieve environmental wellness. Choose one or two to get started and then build more habits into your day to day.
Spend more time in nature
Shift your mindset toward environmental wellness by appreciating the natural world. When you spend time outdoors in nature, you get really clear on why your environmental well being matters. Being outside also helps you live a more balanced lifestyle and allows you to get in touch with the roots of your human nature.
Be respectful to your surroundings
When you’re out in nature be respectful and mindful of the area around you. If you see litter, pick it up (and of course don’t ever litter yourself). Call the water company if you see a burst pipe and report the damage. Keep animals’ natural habitats intact, whether you’re at the beach or at the park. Treat the earth like your home. (It is, after all.)
Limit car use
Whenever you can, try to walk or ride your bike to get where you need to go. If your city just isn’t walkable or bikeable, consider using public transit, ridesharing or carpooling. Even if you only do it one day a week, taking a break from your car can go a long way toward keeping harmful gasses out of our air.
There are a number of ways you can reduce the waste you produce each day. Purchase products in bulk to reduce packaging waste and choose products contained in glass or aluminum so they can actually be recycled when you’re done with them. Swap out single use items for environmentally friendly reusable items (like coffee cups, lunch containers and water bottles). Every little bit counts.
Conserve energy by using energy efficient products
When your light bulbs and appliances need to be replaced, make sure you buy energy efficient products that conserve natural resources. This can not only save you money on your utility bills, doing so also ensures that we have enough power to go around without excessively harming the planet.
Water is another natural resource in need of protection and conservation. Turn off the water whenever you don’t really need to have it on, like when you’re brushing your teeth or doing the dishes. Install a recirculation line for your shower so you don’t need to leave the water running for a few minutes before it gets hot. Put out buckets in your yard to catch rainwater. There are many things you can do to ensure that you’re not wasting water (and methods for using it more wisely).
Stop using harmful cleaners and chemicals
To achieve environmental wellness, try eliminating pollutants in your home (and in your outdoor space). Look for natural cleaning products, bug sprays and plant fertilizers that aren’t made with harmful chemicals. (Sprays and aerosols are the top offenders but even topical products applied with a sponge can release chemicals into the air around you.) This not only impacts your immediate space from toxins, it helps the planet at large by reducing the amount of contaminants and pollutants in the air.
Finding environmental wellbeing
Working toward environmental wellness will ultimately give you a greater sense of purpose as a human being. As you live a more environmentally aware, balanced lifestyle this helps the future health of the planet.
Taking small steps every day to protect natural resources, be mindful of your community and be aware of your personal surroundings ensures that the planet can be a viable home to people, plants and animals for millennia to come.