Every year World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th with a specific theme. This year’s theme is: ‘Our Planet, Our Health’. Being a Nature/Earth Lover, I was quite excited to find out this is the theme for this year.
It is no coincidence that the state of our planet can affect our health. After all, there are multiple studies, such as this one here, that show when we spend time in nature, it has multiple positive effects on our health. For example, if you suffer from anxiety, spending some time in “green spaces” such as local parks and gardens can help reduce that feeling. Getting that fresh air and taking deep breaths can help (more on that here). However, if there is a disruption or lack of these spaces, it makes it more difficult to help address our health on multiple levels.
Ultimately, we take care of our planet and in return, Earth takes care of us. I will go over the different aspects of how our health is affected by the state of our planet and ways we can improve/maintain our good health.
There are three ways I have noticed we have a symbiotic relationship between our health and Earth’s health; Soil, Air and Water.
Soil & Our Food
This may seem like one of the most obvious things when we think of Earth. After all, we get our food from the ground, no matter if it is processed or not. Ultimately all that we eat gets some form of nutrient from the Earth. If you are vegan/plant-based, it is obvious you eat from plants, trees, etc. Even if you are an omnivore (eat veggies, fruits and animals), follow what the animals you eat down the food chain and you most likely will end up at a plant.
Because all of our food comes from some sort of farming practice it is concerning when the methods used can poison or deplete the soil. For example, certain use of pesticides has caused a lot of harm to many people to where we have seen some class action lawsuits of individuals diagnosed with cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
In regard to nutrient depletion in the soil it has been a growing issue. According to this study here, 33% of the land in the world isn’t good enough to grow food. This has a major effect on our ability to get all of our micronutrients. This is a serious issue as it is already presented from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2013-2016), stated here, that at least 47% of U.S. citizens alone are deficient in magnesium, an important micronutrient responsible for over 300 processes in the body. If the trajectory of worsening soil health is downward, then imagine what the numbers are today!
Soil & Our Food Remedies
- Self-Sufficient Farming – Farmers who implement proper crop rotation or utilizing compatible crops that “feed” each other certain nutrients can help to increase the health of the soil. Check out your local and urban farmers for some fresh fruits and veggies. If you get nutrition assistance/food stamps, sometimes you can get vouchers for farmer’s markets.
- Home Garden – Growing your own food is such a rewarding feeling! To see something grow from a tiny seed to something big, fresh and ready to eat is a beautiful testimony to the relationship we have with our Earth. It may even help you to save money. If you don’t know where to start, you can look up some tutorials or join groups in your local area as they may be more familiar with the weather and optimal times for planting. Window/Kitchen gardening is also an option for smaller crops such as peppers and herbs.
- Composting – Certain fruits and vegetables require a certain number of macronutrients, micronutrients and more such as phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, potassium, etc. Also, composting (decomposing organic matter) can help create what is called fulvic and humic acid which is important for plant growth. Lots of us throw out food scraps that can be perfectly fit to be utilized in our home gardens that helps the crops get what they need. Composting involves saving those scraps in a tightly closed container. When ready, you can use it in your garden. You can make your own or purchase one.
Air & Our Breath
Experience with corona showed us the importance of having clean, healthy air on a personal level as we all know someone who has been affected by the virus. Yet, we know it’s not just viruses in the air we have to worry about. Pollution from production industries and gas vehicles make their fair share of contribution to unhealthy air. There are studies that point to environmental toxins as one of the major reasons for asthma, autoimmune and other chronic conditions, especially in heavily dense cities.
Air & Our Breath Remedies
- * Masks– I know we are so tired of using masks and just want things to be over. Certain forms like N95 can help reduce pollutant particles from getting into your respiratory system. They are great to wear in situations where pollution may be at an all-time high. Certain cities have warnings they put out on local news about air pollution. Follow the advice of your doctor when using masks, especially if you have a health condition.
- Green Transportation – Ideally cities and public transportation should be planned so that there is a big reduction in pollution producing sources. Here in the U.S., we are SLOWLY working on this process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants in the air. This may seem cliche but walking, bicycling and using green transport (electric/hybrid buses, cars, etc.) where this is the predominant mode of transport can help reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals in the atmosphere.
Water & Our Hydration
It is a known fact that humans cannot go more than a few days without water in some form. Our bodies are made up of mostly water so it would only make sense that to help maintain that by constantly replenishing it. Unfortunately, many water supplies are polluted around the world. The cause can be from industrial waste, trash, excrement, and many other nasty things. However, we do have a few ways we can make sure we have clean drinking water.
Water & Our Hydration Remedies
- Boiling – The fact that we can boil our water to kill some harmful bacteria that may be lurking is a good way to get some water in for the day. You can boil it, wait for it to cool down and if you so choose to store it in the fridge for drinking.
Bottled Water – How often has the conversation come up about which bottled water is the best? It really depends on your personal preference as some waters are fortified with electrolytes and nutrients.
- Filters – There are many types of filters that allow you to get clean water without having to boil or constantly buy new bottles of water. Filters you can put directly on your sink is one option. Pitchers with filters that you can fill with water from your sink and use it as your daily drinking is another option you can use to get clean drinking water. There are also straws with filters for those who don’t have access to running water that can be used for certain types of pollution. It is vitally important that you follow the directions of these filters and what they filter and do not filter out as all are not the same.
It is evident that the relationship of the health of our Earth is so intertwined with our health. Essentially, we reflect the state of the Earth. We can all take various steps to help improve our health through the way we interact with the Earth in our daily lives. Be it having accessible green spaces, taking precautions with what we consume such as not using herbicides, pesticides and using water filters can help until changes are made on a much bigger level.
Remember to stay active in your self-care!