Sustainability and Your Wellness Journey
Climate change is accelerating, and new studies show that if we don’t take some serious steps within the next decade, the world could be in serious trouble. At the same time, American workers are more sedentary than they ever have been, and other studies tell us we burn an average of 140 fewer calories at work than just a decade ago.
This means that while we are on a journey to save the viability of the planet for our species, we also need to get moving for our own wellness. Is there a way to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak? Can we work both on sustainability and our own wellness?
The answer is a resounding yes. In fact many would argue that both of them go hand in hand. Taking care of yourself both mentally and physically generally involves things that are good for the planet as well.
Here are some simple ways you can apply these principles:
Early man settled down from hunting and gathering to organized farming, and that changed humanity forever. Much of the time now, we as humans are dependent on others to grow our food and provide edible products for us. However, it does not have to be that way.
Even if you do not have space on your property, you can work with those in your neighborhood or even your city to create a community garden if there is not one already nearby. A community garden can have a lot of benefits :
- Including increasing your home’s value, but it also helps your neighborhood or community develop permaculture. Permaculture is not just about gardening and sustainable food sources; it’s also about the connection between the people doing the gardening.
- Besides the cultural and food benefits, gardening is good exercise. Studies show that gardening burns calories and is good for your mental health as well.
- In fact, some consider it to be the ultimate mind and body workout. All in all, gardening is about more than just good for the environment, your community, and your health.
It is about all of the above and healthy personal growth.
Commuting With Nature
No, that is not a typo. Want to be healthy and do things that are good for the environment? Consider your commuting alternatives. Studies show that walking-friendly communities with close access to public transportation have healthier residents. If you live near train or bus hubs, consider walking there every morning instead of driving your car.
Live a little further away? Ride your bike. Many buses have bike racks, and employers provide places to secure them, including indoor bike lockers. If you are even closer to work, you can walk or ride directly to your place of employment.
Better yet, work from home if possible and schedule walking and workout times throughout your day. Remote work is more popular than it ever was, and you can reduce your carbon footprint by nearly 40 percent by working two days a week at home instead of commuting to the office. You’ll be healthier and, in many cases, more productive.
Fruits and Edible Landscaping
Mowing the lawn is a drag, and if you are too busy to do it yourself, hiring someone can be expensive and have even larger ecological impacts (they have to drive a truck and pull a trailer to your house). Even though there are electric mowers and trimmers, charging them still has an environmental effect.
The alternative? Edible landscaping provides a great looking “lawn” that also provides your family with a food source. Fruits that grow on vines such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries have a lot of health benefits including lowering blood pressure, are pretty easy to grow, and give your landscaping a great look when blooming.
Besides that, blooming vegetables, herbs, and other plants can be decorative as well as useful. Mixing flowers will attract the right insects to pollinate your landscape and keep it healthy. You will literally have food growing in your yard.
Honey, I’m Home
Want to “bee” healthy and engage in a sustainable practice too? Become a beekeeper, even if only on a small scale. Bumblebees and other pollinators are at risk in some areas, but with the right plants you can not only attract them, but you can set up box hives and harvest the honey they create. If you have trees or other plants on your property or nearby, their pollen will add to the flavor of the honey and those plants will benefit as well.
Nothing is better for combating colds and allergies than local, raw, unpasteurized honey, and you can have some that came from your own landscape. Even if you are using a community garden, you can set up community beekeeping and honey stations. All the plants will be healthier, and you can all reap the wellness benefits too.
Forage for Fitness
Finally, not only can you garden at home and as a community, but there are probably many seasonal edible plants like huckleberries, wild strawberries, and more in your local forests and landscapes.
There are mushrooms as well, but be careful with these, and be sure to go with an expert before just picking these on your own to eat them. Some mushrooms are poisonous, and others have psychedelic effects that can be undesirable.
Hiking to gather these foods is good for you, and good for the local environment if you gather them properly, so be sure to use sustainable and safe harvesting practices.
Caring for yourself and your wellness can be good for the environment as well — in fact, the two can go hand in hand.