5 Ways to Care for the Planet: Do right by yourself and by the earth with these 5 simple ways to care for your health and the planet’s health — all whilst saving money.
Dr Maria Neira from the World Health Organisation, states that ‘when we damage the Earth, we damage our own health’.
That isn’t revolutionary or hard to believe. Put dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere, and you breathe them back in. Cut down trees, and you get less fresh air. Eat heavily processed food, and you don’t get the natural nutrients you need. Ultimately, if you damage an eco-system everything in it is affected — including ourselves.
The fact that scientists and health experts continually have to remind us of this suggests it’s a message we’re avoiding. But instead of feeling helpless we can reverse the statement and put ourselves in a more proactive position: what’s good for the earth is good for us too.
Looking after the planet is an ultimate act of self-care, as well as compassion for every other living being. And it doesn’t mean you need to walk around barefoot and eat berries from the trees; a couple of simple changes to the things you’re doing already can have a huge impact on your health, and contribute to the eco-friendly movement.
And an added bonus? It’s often easier on the bank account. Don’t let the commercialised ‘wellness’ and ‘sustainability’ world let you think this is an expensive endeavour when the essence of both is stripping back and simplifying your life. It’s about using less, stressing less, and buying less, rather than scheduling in more, and consuming more.
5 Ways to Care for the Planet, While also Caring for Yourself
Being good to your body, planet, and bank account is really easy; here are 5 ‘triple threat’ actions you can try this week:
1. Walk, run, or cycle
I’ve always found it a bit illogical when people drive to the gym, only to go on a stationary bike, or walk and run on a machine that’s getting you nowhere.
Why not replace the driving you’re doing with those activities and combine your commute with your exercise? If you walk or cycle to where you need to be, you’re getting your recommended hour of activity a day, without it cutting too much into your free time.
You’ll also reduce the CO2 you’re emitting, and save on the cost of travel!
2. Eat More (Seasonal) Veg
I don’t think you need to be told that eating fruit and veg is good for your health — we’ve been told that since our parents forced us to eat our greens every dinner time. And whilst we fill ourselves up on veg, it’s easier to cut down on meat and dairy. This can reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, and increase your fibre and nutrient intake.
Eating plant-based more often has been shown to be ‘the single biggest way to reduce your impact on earth’. Without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced to more than 75% (an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined) and still feed the world! Even the most environmentally friendly animal products do more harm than the least environmentally friendly vegetable production.
And one step further than eating more veg, is eating seasonal and locally grown veg. Not only will it taste fresher, but it will also produce fewer gas emissions from its importation and support the local economy. And, you guessed it, seasonal produce is often much cheaper too!
3. Write a Shopping List
The number one rule of doing a weekly food shop: don’t do it when you’re hungry. You’ll either come home with a mountain of snacks, a collection of microwave meals, or a random assortment of ingredients you can’t cook anything with.
If you write down what you want to cook that week, and only buy those ingredients, you’re more likely to stick to healthy eating. In essence, you can’t eat a pile of chips when you’ve not got a pile of chips to eat.
This reduces food waste: you’re not buying things you don’t end up using and have to chuck. It also is more cost-effective, as you know how much you’re going to spend rather than waiting till you reach the check out to get a nasty shock.
4. Cook in Bulk
If you don’t have time to cook something your options are either see what you have in the freezer or order a takeaway. And whilst we all love a takeaway (and I would be a massive hypocrite for saying anything against getting them) no one is under the illusion that they’re healthy, cost-effective, or eco-friendly. They just taste good.
If you buy ingredients in bulk — dried pasta and rice, lentils, tins of chickpeas — you’ll end up spending less. And you can spend a free day batch cooking and freezing leftover portions, that way you have something cheaper and healthier to eat on the days where you really don’t want to cook
And by cooking a lot at once you’re saving energy, as well as reducing the CO2 emissions from food deliveries.
5. Bring a Water Bottle
Although drinking more water is great for you, bottled water can actually be really harmful to your health. You are exposed to toxins from the plastic, especially if the bottle has been left somewhere hot for a long period of time. And when plastic toxins make their way into your bloodstream, they can contribute to many problems like cancers and liver and kidney damage. In addition to this, bottled water is often described as ‘pure’, but that means the necessary nutrients have been taken out in the process.
Also, when so many places have access to free tap water, bottled water is super cost-ineffective. Tap water has already been through a filtration process so when you buy water all you are paying for is an unnecessarily longer process, transportation, and a piece of thin plastic. It’s not worth it.
And the environment? We all know plastic bottles are a big plastic polluter.
Bringing your own water bottle means you can track how much water you’re drinking, reuse it to avoid plastic pollution, and save on the cost of buying something you can get for free.
We’re connected to an eco-system, and how we treat it goes hand-in-hand with how we treat ourselves. Let’s work with the planet, instead of against it, and reap the rewards in all areas of our lives.