Most of the time you think about environmental sustainability or ‘going green’ due to the impact it causes for the future of the planet. Perhaps recycling all of that paper and plastic makes you feel a little better about yourself, but the goal is cutting down on pollution and the size of our landfills. You live cleanly, with a smaller carbon footprint for completely selfless reasons, to hopefully leave the world a better place for your children than how you found it. It’s noble and honorable, but did you ever stop to consider the myriad of personal benefits you enjoy due to your focus on environmental sustainability? In fact, green living may keep you around longer, and in better physical condition than the alternative. Here are just some of the health benefits of adopting a green lifestyle.
One of the most obvious improvements to your health comes from greener eating habits. Sustainability is about cutting down on waste. You focus on organic foods, on shopping locally and serving your family as close to ‘farm-to-table’ as possible. It cuts down on carbon emissions, but just as importantly it reduces the amount of toxins in your system. Your foods will be absent of pesticides, with all of the questionable hazards they bring, as well as hormones or other chemical treatments. A sustainable diet also means focusing on fruits and vegetables and reducing your intake of red meat. Livestock requires an enormous amount of resources to raise, which would be better served going into producing fruits, vegetables and grains. But in your diet less red meat means less fat and cholesterol, and good news when you step on the scale.
It’s not just your eating that’s healthier, but your drinking habits as well. Those who focus on sustainability would never rely on bottled water and disposable plastic containers. The bottles you see in the supermarket are most likely created out of petroleum. It’s unsustainable from a resources perspective, but those chemicals can also end up in the water. If you use a high end filter at home you will rid your water of hard metals and chemicals, while also saving all of that plastic from ending up in our landfills.
What about the work you do around the house? Homeowners looking to support the planet will only use building materials free of harsh chemicals and contaminants. Focusing on natural fibers instead means fewer toxins on your clothes, your skin and in the air you breathe. You probably won’t see the impact of this change in the short term, but in the long run it will make a huge difference.
Chances are you’ve tried your best to lower your carbon footprint by adjusting how you get around. Maybe you carpool more, but perhaps you even strive to ride your bike or walk when you need to get around instead. This is hugely beneficial to your health. You’ll naturally get much more exercise, and walking is one of the best things you can do for your well being. You get more sunlight this way as well, which delivers that all important vitamin D to your system, improving your eyesight, your skin and your overall mood, perhaps even helping you avoid a depression that leads to addiction treatment some day. Even if you can’t walk the entire way from point A to point B and you take public transportation, you’re still getting more exercise before and after you hop on that train or bus.