From climate change to pollution, deforestation, and extinction of entire animal species, humankind is radically changing the planet. Many people are trying to be more conscious of daily activities and habits and how those affect the world. However, true environmental wellness isn’t just thinking about the health of our planet on a global scale. While this is important, it often includes many things that are outside of our individual control. Fortunately, there is a way to approach environmental wellness by first focusing on those things that we can improve in meaningful ways.
Environmental wellness includes maintaining a healthy, clean, and organized local environment, all the way down to how you keep your home and office. Working on your environmental wellness can help you find clarity and direction in your life, as well. Be mindful of your environment. Pay attention to organization and reduce clutter, and focus on simple, effective steps that mitigate your environmental impact while simultaneously helping you live a happier, healthier life. Start with simple morning rituals to improve your home environment, such as making your bed. You might be surprised at how starting with a simple task can give you a feeling of accomplishment as you move into the rest of your day.
- Environmental Wellness 101: Energy Conservation
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Save Water
- Choose Beneficial Products
- Get Out in Nature
- Environmental Wellness: The Big Picture
Environmental Wellness 101: Energy Conservation
Are you ready to move beyond the things you can do to improve your home environment? If you really want to make an impact on the world, then consider incorporating some conservation into your lifestyle. Don’t try to force others to make the same choices—that can be a source of stress when you meet with disagreement. Instead, lead by example and encourage others to make smart choices, too. One way to begin is with energy conservation.
Electricity—it powers the modern world. From your laptop and smartphone to your refrigerator and television, you expect the devices in your life to work at the touch of a button or the flip of a switch. That requires energy in the form of electricity.
Electricity doesn’t come from nowhere, though. It must be generated, often by burning fossil fuels in the form of coal. Hydropower and nuclear reactors also provide electricity to homes and businesses. All types of energy generation have an impact on environmental wellness. Burning coal releases CO2 into the atmosphere, for instance. However, even seemingly benign power generation methods, such as hydropower, can have environmental impacts.
Improving energy conservation at home and work can help reduce demand for power, thereby mitigating your environmental impact. Some quick tips to help with energy conservation include the following.
- Adjust the AC to 78 while you’re at home and 85 when you’re out.
- Ditch the clothes dryer and use a clothesline to dry your laundry.
- Unplug devices you’re not using to avoid standby power consumption.
- Wash your clothes in cold water, not hot water.
- Switch your lights to LED bulbs instead of incandescent or CFL bulbs.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Another key element in the drive to improve environmental wellness is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. What does that mean, though? Actually, this includes an incredibly broad range of simple yet effective steps.
- Recycle: From cardboard boxes to glass bottles and aluminum cans, recycling helps to reclaim materials and put them to use once more. This limits the demand for raw materials and your impact on the environment.
- Reuse: Find ways to reuse items in your home and office. For instance, margarine tubs make great impromptu food storage containers. Coffee cans might be used to hold nuts and bolts. Gently used clothing can be handed down to growing children.
- Reduce: Consider composting your food waste and using it to fertilize your own plants (produce or decorative). Reduce waste by donating unwanted clothing and appliances to organizations like Goodwill rather than throwing them out. Donate used electronics instead of tossing them.
Of all the resources available to humanity, freshwater is one of the scarcest. Many nations in the world suffer from an extreme lack of clean, potable water, and lack of access to water is a growing international crisis. Saving water at home and work can help ensure others have plenty of freshwater for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Here are some quick tips to help you save water as you focus on environmental wellness.
- Take shorter showers. The average shower uses up to 10 gallons of water per minute.
- Cut off the water while brushing your teeth.
- Don’t run the water while shaving.
- Wash full loads of dishes in your dishwasher rather than partial loads. A single load can use up to 35 gallons of water.
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucets in your home. This can save up to seven gallons of water per minute.
- Repair leaking taps and toilets. These can be hidden sources of waste that use a surprising amount of water over time in homes and businesses.
Choose Beneficial Products
Everyone has go-to products that they use in their lives. For instance, you probably have a favorite coffee mug, or perhaps you use straws when drinking hot or cold beverages because your teeth are sensitive. These items can have a profound impact on environmental wellness, so consider a few alternatives.
- Instead of plastic straws, consider a bamboo straw—they’re natural and reusable, and bamboo is a renewable resource.
- Ditch the plastic water bottles. These are huge sources of resource use and are prime contributors to pollution and plastic waste. Instead, go for a reusable water bottle. Want something that will stand up to the rigors of the outdoors and adventure travel? The LifeStraw Go is a good option.
- Use the right sun protection. Many commercial sunscreen formulations contain chemicals that are dangerous not just to you, but to marine creatures, including live corals.
- Use the Wellness Wheel to help bring everything together and improve your life while also improving environmental wellness.
Get Out in Nature
Nothing makes you appreciate the natural world as much as getting out in it. For example, going for a run or just strolling through the woods can help provide stress relief, help with depression, decrease your anxiety, improve mental focus. It can even help with short-term memory loss.
Plus, getting out in nature can also help you see firsthand just how much your everyday activities affect the world around you. This will allow you to make some hands-on improvements. Grab a bag and clean up litter, look for plastics to remove from the environment, or do something else that benefits the planet.
Environmental Wellness: The Big Picture
Really making a positive change in the world begins in your personal and professional life. Whether it’s replacing your detergent with something more eco-friendly, carpooling to the office, or tidying up and finding ways to reduce waste, change begins with you in small ways. It’s that simple.