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  • Writer's pictureSean

What Living Sustainably Means for Your Health

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

farmers market foods supporting health and living sustainably

Unlock the secrets to a healthier, happier life with our ultimate guide to healthy sustainable living. Discover surprising health benefits, practical tips for parents, and how each step you take can make a world of difference.

Sustainability is not just about the environment. Living sustainably can also do wonders for your personal health. Don't believe me? Let's dive in and see how.

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The Link Between Sustainability and Health

Our environment has a more significant impact on our health than we usually acknowledge. Have you ever taken a weekend trip to the countryside, and felt revitalized, full of energy? That's not just the break from your routine talking - that's fresh air, unspoiled nature, a healthier environment!

Studies have consistently linked sustainable living to improved health. Imagine a world with cleaner air, purer water, less noise pollution - sounds pretty good, right?

Benefits of Living Sustainably for Health

Cleaner Air

Reduced reliance on fossil fuels can significantly improve our air quality. Let's take Copenhagen as an example. Known as the 'biking capital of the world,' Copenhagen has significantly cut down its greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging residents to cycle or use public transport instead of private cars. With fewer vehicles on the road, the city's air quality has improved dramatically, leading to lower rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Such green commuting choices not only lessen our carbon footprint but also contribute to cleaner, fresher air that our lungs will surely thank us for.

Improved Diet

Eating organic, locally-sourced foods can have substantial health benefits. Over the past few years, I have seen backyard gardens pop up more and more around me, and it makes sense. Home-grown, pesticide-free produce just tastes better than the store-bought version. Kids who are picky eaters may take a liking to vegetables they plant and grow themselves. Consuming organic food can reduce exposure to chemicals and often provides more nutrients, promoting better health.

Increased Physical Activity

couple riding bicycles increasing sustainble physical activity and decreasing emissions

Choosing sustainable transportation methods, such as biking or walking, helps us stay active. When I started replacing my car for bike travel on short trips, the first few days left me with aching muscles I didn't know I had! But within weeks, I noticed a positive shift. I felt less ac

hy, and more energetic and active. According to the American Heart Association, biking can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. So, opting for that bike ride not only helps Mother Earth but also boosts your heart health.

Reduced Exposure to Questionable Chemicals

Many of our homes are filled with dozens of chemicals. These can be found in everyday products like detergents, cleaning supplies, and personal care items. While not chemicals are not inherently bad (water is a chemical), many have not been fully tested, and even when they are, whether or not companies can include them in their products may vary based on State and Federal regulations.

Switching to eco-friendly products can substantially reduce exposure to unknown or harmful substances. When I discovered the absolutely ridiculous number of chemicals while cleaning, I decided to shift to green cleaning products. Not only do they clean just as effectively, but my family also experienced fewer allergies and eczema outbreaks, proving that sustainable living can also mean living free from unnecessary chemicals.

Mental Health

Living sustainably can also do wonders for our mental health. When I embarked on my journey towards a sustainable lifestyle, I noticed a decrease in my stress levels. The extra exercise from more walking, biking, and gardening certainly didn't hurt. But knowing that I was making a difference in the world gave me a sense of purpose and satisfaction. A study from Stanford University also found that people who visited green spaces had decreased levels of stress and depression. So, that small garden you're maintaining? It's making a big difference for your mental health!

Making Sustainable Choices For Our Children

As parents, we want to make the best choices for our children and the world they live in. Sustainable living doesn't have to be complicated or daunting. In fact, it can be a fun and rewarding journey that your whole family can participate in. Here are some ways to incorporate sustainable living into your suburban lifestyle:

Incorporating Sustainable Living

Home Vegetable Garden

craft flag to keep kids engaged with vegetable garden

Starting a home vegetable garden is a fantastic and practical way of introducing sustainability to your children. When my family and I started our small garden, we began with easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini. As we watched our little seeds turn into thriving plants, we found ourselves spending more time outdoors, appreciating nature and the food it provides us. The garden became a natural classroom, teaching us patience, responsibility, and the importance of nourishment. It was a joy to see my kids eating vegetables they had grown with their own hands, appreciating the process from seed to table. And for picky eaters, growing your own food is a great way to generate excitement for trying new foods.

Green Transportation

Opting for green transportation whenever possible is another crucial part of living sustainably. We live in a suburban neighborhood where most amenities are within a couple of miles. So, we made it a rule to cycle or walk for nearby errands. At first, we missed the ease of hopping in the car for a 3-minute drive. But soon, they began to enjoy these little adventures. They noticed things they never had before, like a hidden trail leading to a beautiful park or a new bird's nest in a tree on our street. Does the trip take longer? Yes. But this simple change also meant more family time, more fresh air, and more exercise, leading to healthier and happier us.

Environmentally-friendly Household Products

green cleaning supplies

Switching to environmentally friendly household products was one of the best decisions I made for my family. The skin irritations from laundry detergents? A thing of the past. We learned to make some cleaning supplies at home using simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. We even learned how to make castile soap at home. For everything else, we turn to brands committed to sustainable and cruelty-free products. It was reassuring to know that the surfaces my children touched, the air they breathed in our home are no longer covered in chemicals I can't even begin to pronounce.

Energy-Efficient Practices

Teaching kids about energy efficiency isn't just a lesson in sustainable living but also in responsibility and mindfulness. By setting up little rules like turning off the lights when leaving a room, not leaving the refrigerator door open, and turning off the faucet when we are done we are able to start with small, manageable steps. It was never perfect, and there are still many mistakes and forgetful moments, but we made these moments into lessons, gentle reminders. Slowly but surely, these practices become second nature. Our electricity bills dropped, but more importantly, my kids became more aware of their energy consumption and its impact on the environment.

Impact of Climate Change on Personal Health

You've probably heard the term "climate change" and its variants a lot lately, and unfortunately it will probably only grow in the years to come. Climate change isn't just about warmer temperatures or melting ice caps; it's a significant issue that's impacting our personal health, and it's happening right now.

As our world continues to warm up, we are likely to face a higher risk of heat-related illnesses, especially during the hot summer months. Record-breaking heatwaves are becoming more and more common, and heat-related illnesses and even death are increasing with it.

But it's not just the heat. Climate change can also lead to more potent allergens. Why? Researchers say warmer temperatures and higher carbon dioxide levels cause plants to produce more pollen.

Worse still, climate change can affect our food supply. Changes in temperature and rainfall patterns can make it harder to grow crops. And this can lead to shortages of nutritious food and clean water.

But here's the good news. Every step towards sustainable living is a step towards mitigating these effects. By choosing to live sustainably, we can help slow down climate change and reduce its impact on our health. So while these changes might seem overwhelming, remember that each one of us has the power to make a difference. And for the sake of our health and our children's future, we must.

Wrapping Up

The benefits of sustainable living on our health are numerous. It's not a journey of a day or a month, but little by little, we can make a difference. So, let's start making simple changes for a healthier family and planet. After all, as I have learned, every step towards sustainable living is a step towards better health. Let's make a difference, one sustainable choice at a time.

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