As the end of the month approaches, you may hear the familiar two words: “Earth Day.” You nod in understanding because you already know what celebrating Earth Day means. You make sure you recycle. You condemn climate change on your social media. You hug a tree. In the flurry of exams and essays, this is something so simple and so easy to understand — celebrating our earth means protecting the environment.
But in reality, it’s not that simple. Protecting the earth and our environment also means protecting our health.
The link between environmental health and human health goes beyond the extreme, external effects of climate change. Of course, people will drown if the polar ice caps continue to melt and sea levels keep rising. Citizens across the world will suffer crop deficiencies and severe storms, triggered by the changing temperature.
However, adopting more sustainable lifestyle habits not only helps improve our environment and combat climate change, but also changes the way our bodies function.
For example, eating less meat is viewed as a sustainable action, as the factory farms that produce meat consume high amounts of energy and water. The Huffington Post reports that it takes 1,248 gallons to produce a single pound of beef and 518 gallons for a pound of chicken. Eating less of these foods not only offsets those numbers, but it lowers health risks as well. According to an article from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), meats like bacon have high fat contents, and people who over indulge in red meat are at a higher risk of developing severe heart disease and terminal cancer.
Another sustainable habit to adopt is filtering out plastic products for reusable alternatives. The use of plastic containers, cups and water bottles allows for the possibility of the chemical Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, to seep into beverages and food. National Geographic reports that the research on this chemical indicates that it behaves like a disruptive hormone, damaging the endocrine system and affecting fetal development. By limiting your use of these kinds of plastics, you benefit by negating the effects of BPA and aid the environment by keeping extra plastic waste out of landfills and the ocean.
Therefore, sustainability in our lifestyles is linked to helping both the planet and ourselves. The choices we make not only spread pollution through the air, forests, and oceans, but also pollute our bodies as well. Wellness is an aspect of environmentalism that cannot be separated from its goals or impact.
To highlight the importance of environmental wellness, the Eco Reps and Office of Sustainability will be basing our Earth Day event on this concept. The celebration will be observed on April 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We will be on the campus mall with tips on making healthier snacks, free yoga, reusable water bottles and much more.
So when we invite you to join us in celebrating this day, just remember that it’s about more than hugging trees and recycling. Earth Day is not just a celebration of preserving the planet, but of preserving our health as well.
The official date of Earth Day is April 22. The Eco Reps’ event will be observing the day on April 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the campus mall, with a rain location in the Student Recreation Center atrium.
Lawrenceville Eco Rep
Printed in the 4/19/17 issue.