When the concept of “sustainable living” first became trendy, many people thought of it as a kind of sacrifice. The general feeling was that you had to give up your comforts and conveniences to protect the planet. While it’s true that going green might mean you have to give up your plastic wrap, sustainable living is actually a win-win.
Today, we know just how much the world around us affects our health. When the planet is healthy, it supports our health and well-being. When it’s suffering, we suffer. Sustainable living is all about supporting a healthy body, mind, and planet.
We (and future generations) only have one Earth, and we’re seeing it burn before our eyes due to climate change. But by shifting the narrative and realizing that a sustainable lifestyle can actually help improve our health and quality of life, we might be able to create widespread support and change. Here’s how.
Why it is Important to Optimize Environmental Health
Environmental factors like pollution, water quality, new diseases, and poor crop yields are all linked to climate change. These factors have a huge impact on the health and well-being of communities all over the world, causing problems ranging from respiratory problems to malnutrition to preventable deaths. In fact, around 23% of all deaths are caused by environmental health problems that are entirely preventable!
Let that sink in. We could prevent almost a quarter of unnecessary deaths globally simply by improving environmental health! Our bodies are impacted by the world around us: the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. We need safe spaces to move and exercise. We need to live in a safe environment for our mental health.
So much of what impacts our health has to do with our environment. It’s essential that we create a healthier and more sustainable environment from a public health perspective.
How Environmental Factors Can Impact Personal Health
Think about the environment around you. Do you have access to nutritious, sustainably-produced food? Are there problems with air pollution or smoke from wildfires? Can you exercise outdoors safely?
If you said “yes” to those questions, then you’re lucky. But many people can’t say the same. Heatstroke, asthma and other respiratory issues, pathogens, diseases caused by poor water quality and sanitation, malnutrition, and emerging diseases are all growing concerns for many communities.
Even if your personal health isn’t currently being impacted, it’s important to think about those who do not live in a safe environment. And eventually, just about every human being will be affected by one of these issues if we don’t make an effort to live more sustainably right away.
A More Sustainable Diet Is Richer in Certain Nutrients
Once you make an effort to live more sustainably, you’ll start seeing lots of silver linings. For instance, reducing your meat intake or going completely vegan also has major health benefits. In addition to reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll also get more nutrients from your food and reduce your risk of developing certain diseases. A healthier life and a healthier planet is the best win-win there is!
How to Live Green on a Budget
Lots of people have this idea that living sustainably is expensive. That’s not necessarily true! You can actually save money by going green in some areas of life, like conserving energy. Plus, a little upfront investment (like healthy food or solar power for your house) can save you money down the road in areas like medical bills and energy.
Depending on your circumstances, you might not be able to change everything about your lifestyle all at once. Sustainability on a budget means prioritizing and looking to the most cost-effective and beneficial changes first.
Creating New Habits
Many cultures intuitively follow a sustainable lifestyle. But in other areas, such as fast-paced Western cultures built on heavy consumption, changing minds and habits is harder. It’s always challenging to give up unhealthy lifestyle habits, and overconsumption is no exception!
We need to be purposeful about making change and work together to support sustainability. As more companies are seeing the demand for eco-friendly products rise, it’s easier than ever to reduce your impact. But it still requires that you put in the work and change your heart and mind in pursuit of a healthier, more sustainable planet.
Guest Author Bio
With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.