Our Health Equals The Health of the Planet
Here at Pink Goes Green, we've discussed ways to live healthier lives, from healthy eating to exercise to knowing where your food comes from. Did you ever stop to think how your health can have an impact on the health of the Earth?
We're hearing a lot these days about "GMOs" (genetically modified organisms), which are experimental plants or animals that have been engineered and or grown in a lab. Avoiding genetically-modified food is not only healthy for us, but for Earth as well, as GMOs are capable of destroying the DNA of the planet.
Buying organic and/or at farmer's markets, growing your own food, and preparing your own food (vs. buying processed food) are good ways to avoid GMOs. Although companies in the U.S. are not required to label GMO foods as such, a group of over 80 food processors, farmers and consumer organizations has sent an official letter to Michael Taylor, deputy commission at the FDA, and Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of agriculture at the USDA, protesting the official U.S. position against labeling. Read more here on how to avoid GMOs. And check out our blog on GMOs here.
Pesticides have been proven to affect the human nervous system, can be carcinogenic, and affect hormonal function. Pesticide use raises a number of environmental concerns. Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, including non-target species, air, water and soil. Pesticide drift occurs when pesticides suspended in the air as particles are carried by wind to other areas, potentially contaminating them. Pesticides are one of the causes of water pollution, and some pesticides are persistent organic pollutants and contribute to soil contamination.
In addition, pesticide use reduces biodiversity, reduces nitrogen fixation, contributes to pollinator decline, destroys habitat (especially for birds), and threatens endangered species. Pests can develop a resistance to the pesticide, necessitating a new pesticide. Alternatively a greater dose of the pesticide can be used to counteract the resistance, although this will cause a worsening of the ambient pollution problem. (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticides)
Again, organic or home grown food will ensure that you aren't consuming these toxic chemicals, while at the same time contributing to the health of the planet. It is true that organic substances can be pricier than the conventionally-grown food, but changing just a few staples in your kitchen to organic will help you incorporate healthier options into your lifestyle and supporting the farmers who grow organic (and, ideally, local) foods. Read more at the Pink Goes Green blog, Pesticide Control on Your Grocery List.
Cooking meals at home is a great way to keep the environment green. Processed food, whether you are eating fast food or buying ready-made food to microwave at home, requires a lot of energy. It must be transported to a factory, processed to some extent in a factory (electricity, packaging, etc.), then shipped long distances nationally or internationally, which uses more energy. In addition, processed food is packaged (cellophane, Styrofoam, etc.), which creates waste. Here are some ways to avoid that waste.
Chemical cleaning products are not only toxic to you, your family and your pets, but to the environment as well. Some people also flush household chemicals down the toilet thinking this is the safer alternative than the drain. Sewerage and other waste water used in the laundry, bathroom and kitchen end up at treatment plants. This is then treated with more chemicals to try and make it cleaner and is then released into our rivers and oceans.
The chemicals contained in common household chemicals, once released into our waterways cause algae to grow on plants. The alga then smothers the plants and their natural growth, causing them to die.
Many household cleaners and aerosols have been found to contain carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). Our homes and their designs continue to develop to ensure they're airtight and energy efficient. This also makes sure dangerous pollutants stay in our immediate environments longer and have nowhere to escape.
An ecosystem is where the environment, including plants, water and animals all interact together in their individual climates and environments. Dangerous household chemicals that are released into our waterways are killing plants and polluting water that animals rely on to feed and live.
Think you need to buy special products for your household cleaning chores to be green? Think again. Many ingredients are as close as your kitchen cupboard, and you'll save money, too, by using these environmentally-friendly and easy-to-find products. Read more here.
Did you know what you eat contributes to the health of the environment?
According to GoVeg.com, eating one meal that contains meat is equivalent to leveling 55 square feet of rain forest, or dumping 2,500 gallons of water down the drain.
Growing all the crops to feed the farmed animals that we eat requires massive amounts of water and land - in fact, nearly half of the water and 80 percent of the agricultural land in the United States are used to raise animals for food. Our hamburgers and steaks are also taking a toll on our supply of fuel and other nonrenewable resources - about one-third of the raw materials used in America each year is consumed by the farmed animal industry.
Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population of the United States, (about 86,000 pounds per second), and since factory farms don't have sewage treatment systems as our cities and towns do, this concentrated slop ends up polluting water, destroying topsoil, and contaminating air.
If you eat only one vegetarian meal a day, you are making a difference to help the environment and improve your health! Read our blog on Eating Green to learn more.
Did you ever think your beauty routine could contribute to environmental damage? Many cosmetics contain toxic chemicals which, if used once or twice, may not cause harm, but used over a period of time could possibly cause problems. Add to that ingredients like mineral oil, which is derived from petroleum, and other ingredients that can pollute the environment, and suddenly my beauty routine wasn't so beautiful anymore! And I wanted to always be sure I was using products that weren't tested on animals. See our blog on green beauty here. And find some great beauty treatments from items that are in your kitchen cupboard!
Remember, taking care of your health isn't just good for you - it's good for the planet, too!
Also, read: Doctors are already seeing links between climate change and their patients’ health