Ways Celebrating Earth Day Can Improve Your Health
The health of Mother Earth and our own health are, naturally, linked; in spite of this, though, few people think of Earth Day celebrations as a day that can, not just improve the planet’s wellbeing, but also our own.
Climate Change and Health
You might not have thought about it, but climate change negatively affects human health. And not only does climate change harm our health, it actually claims lives every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO):
- Climate change affects the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.
- Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress.
- The direct damage costs to health (i.e. excluding costs in health-determining sectors such as agriculture and water and sanitation), is estimated to be between US$ 2-4 billion per year by 2030.
Reading that might just spike your anxiety and harm your mental health, too.
Celebrating Earth Day to Improve Your Health
Take the opportunity this Earth Day to improve your health and the health of the planet. How can this be done? How about these ways of celebrating Earth Day:
- Get your hands dirty: plant a tree or even plant a whole garden. Doing this improves your health and the health of all of us as plants reduce carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and gardening itself promotes a healthy lifestyle. You can change the way you consume food and do away with unnecessary chemicals when you grow it yourself. Plus, food tastes better when you pluck it from the ground with your own hands.
- Change a habit: you can easily change a small habit in your life and contribute to the overall good of the planet. For example, can you recycle? Can you start composting? Can you turn off the air conditioning and lights when you’re not at home? Can you use reusable water bottles and coffee cups? These are all changes you can manage that can help Mother Earth and you get the benefit of feeling better about yourself and maybe reducing some of that nagging anxiety.
- Promote Earth health with your wallet: most of us spend too much money on things we don’t need and if you think this isn’t harming you, you’re wrong. Every one of us feels bad when we look in our closets only to see clothes on hangers still with tags or knickknacks cluttering our shelves. By buying only what we truly need and want, we reduce that and actually make ourselves (and our bank accounts) feel better in the process.
- Walk or cycle to work: cycling or walking to work is a great change you can make for your health and to celebrate Earth Day. If cycling every day is too much, why not create Cycle to Work Fridays or Walk to Work Wednesdays? Use public transit for part of your commute if you need to.
- Create art: art makes the people who create it feel good and art therapy, in and of itself, works wonders for all kinds of mental health conditions. Well, now, that art can also do good for the Earth, too. “Footing the Bill: Art and our Ecological Footprint” is an invitational and crowd-sourced exhibition of artwork addressing the urgent need to live sustainably within the Earth’s finite resources. This art aims to create awareness about climate change. Learn about “Footing the Bill: Art and our Ecological Footprint.”
I’m sure you can come up with many more examples. In short, celebrating Earth Day isn’t just something we do for the greater good, it can also benefit us, and our health, personally, as well.
“This article was written by award-winning mental health writer and speaker, Natasha Tracy.”