We all know we should be good to the environment, but the benefits sometimes don’t seem like enough of a draw when being green is inconvenient. But here’s the thing: Green living is clean living, and every step you take to be kind to the environment pays you back in health benefits. Read on to find out how being good to Mother Earth is good for your mind, body, and soul.
1. Eating less red meat could lengthen your life
A study of more than 120,000 men and women found that the more red and processed meats they ate, the more likely they were to die of any cause, including cancer and heart disease. Subbing beef out for poultry or plant-based protein can help you avoid risks like diabetes and stroke, but it’s also doing your part to reduce greenhouse gases. Cattle use more grains and produce more methane than chickens or pigs, and some experts say that giving up beef would be even better for the Earth than giving up your car.
2. A reusable water bottle could keep your body functioning normally
Humans worldwide create 359 million metric tons of plastic every year, yet only about nine percent of plastic waste has been recycled, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances. Switching to a reusable water bottle will keep that plastic out of landfills (or cut energy that would normally go toward recycling it), but it can also keep your hormones functioning in the way they should. You might have already heard that bisphenol A (BPA) might disrupt oestrogen, but even though manufacturers are shying away from the chemical, some evidence suggests that one of its substitutes, fluorene-9-bisphenol (BHPF) can block hormones too.
3. Local produce could mean more nutrients
You’ve heard all about the perks of buying local – you support small businesses and get food that’s as fresh-from-the-farm as it can be. But is there anything really in it for you except a sense of well-being for doing farmers a favour? You bet! The produce in your supermarkets probably spent days in transit before finally reaching your local grocer, and even then it’s spent a few days on the shelves before you take it home – and all the while it’s been losing nutrients. By picking it up from your farmer’s market, though, it can spend less time just reaching its destination, so it’s still in peak ripeness by the time you buy.
4. Growing a garden gives you tasty, eco-friendly food
If you make space for a garden in your yard, the environment will thank you. A garden provides space where native plants can attract bees – and considering about 35 percent of crops rely on pollinators like bees to help them thrive, helping bees thrive is a big environmental concern – and where you can grow your own produce. Anything that only needs to travel as far as your backyard to your table is using fewer fossil fuels than anything that had to go from a mass-production farm to a supermarket (and then your table). And if those tasty, fresh veggies weren’t enough of a pull, gardening itself torches about 840 to 1770 kilojoules an hour.