Being environmentally attuned is a two-way street. Enjoying nature and living in a clean environment with adequate sunlight, clean air, having low levels of noise pollution and toxic substances benefits our health. But it is also important to give back to the environment by minimising our impact on it.
Did you know?
The world’s top five meat and dairy corporations may now be responsible for more annual greenhouse gas emissions than Exxon, Shell or BP. The latest figures show that humanity’s footprint was the equivalent of 1.69 earths in 2014, with Australia using the resources of 4.09 planets, the United Kingdom 2.85 and the US 4.97 planets (GFN 2018).
Our environment has a huge effect on our health and wellbeing, some of which include the risk of developing chronic disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress,3 and mental health.5
You would imagine our society to to be more mindful or responsible with how we treat our environment, but unfortunately the current statistics are not good.7
Our disregard for our environment is changing our climate and expecting to have devastating effects on allergies, mosquito and tick-borne disease, chronic diseases like diabetes, premature deaths9 and suicide rates.10
What can we do about it
Eat more whole plant foods and replace animal protein with plant protein (Stehfest et al. 2009, AustGov 2015, Lucas & Horton 2019, Willett et al. 2019)
Determine your ecological footprint at https://www.footprintnetwork.org/ then practice environmentally conscious behaviours.
Immerse yourself in nature.
Join the movement and be environmentally attuned.
1 Grain. 2018. Emissions impossible: How big meat and dairy are heating up the planet Accessed 27/03/18 https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5976-emissions-impossible-how-big-meat-and-dairy-are-heating-up-the-planet
2 GFN. 2018. Country trends. Global Footprint Network. http://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/countryTrends?cn=10&type=earth
3 Twohig-Bennet C, Jones A. The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes. Environmental Research. 2018; 166: 628-37
4 WHO. 2019. How air pollution is destroying our health. Accessed 28/03/2019. https://www.who.int/air-pollution/news-and-events/how-air-pollution-is-destroying-our-health
5 James P, Hart JE, Banay RF, Laden F. Exposure to Greenness and Mortality in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study of Women. Environmental Health Perspective 2016; 124: 1344–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1510363
6 Tilman D, Clark M. Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health. Nature. 2014; 515: 518-22. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13959
7 WWF. 2018. Living Planet Report 2018. Aiming Higher. Grooten, M, Almond REA.(Eds). WWF, Gland, Switzerland. Accessed 27/03/2019 https://www.footprintnetwork.org/content/uploads/2018/10/LPR-2018-full-report.pdf
8 Rockstrom J, Steffen W, Noone K, Persson A, Chapin FS, Lambin EF, Lenton TM, Scheffer M, Folke C, Schellnhuber HJ, Nykvist B, de Wit CA, Hughes T, van der Leeuw S, Rodhe H, Sorlin S, Snyder PK, Costanza R, Svedin U, Falkenmark M, Karlberg L, Corell RW, FabryFJ, Hansen J, Walker B, Liverman D, Richardson K, Crutzen P, Foley JA. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature. 2009; 461: 472-75.
9 Bhargava H. Climate change is a public health issue. Medscape. June 6 2017.
10 Burke M, Gonzalez F, Baylis P, Heft-Neil S, Baysan C, Basu S, Hsiang S. Higher temperatures increase suicide rates in the United States and Mexico. Nature Climate Change. 2018; 8: 723-29.
11 Chen D, Kannan K, Tan H, Zheng Z, Feng Y, Wu Y, Widelka M. Bisphenol Analogues Other Than BPA: Environmental Occurrence,Human Exposure, and ToxicityA Review. Environmental Science and Technology. 2016; 50: 5438-53. DOI:10.1021/acs.est.5b05387
12 Warner GR, flaws JA. Bisphenol A and Phthalates: How Environmental Chemicals Are Reshaping Toxicology. Toxicological Sciences. 2018; 166(2): 246–49, https://doi.org/10.1093/toxsci/kfy232
13 Mostafalou S, Abdollahi M. Pesticides and human chronic diseases: evidence, mechanisms, and perspectives. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2013; 268(2): 157-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2013.01.025. Epub 2013 Feb 9.
14 IARC Monographs – 112. 2018. Glyphosate. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Accessed 8/04/2019. https://monographs.iarc.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/mono112-10.pdf
15 Gasnier C, Dumont C, Benachour N, Clair E, Chagnon MC, Séralini GE. Glyphosate-based herbicides are toxic and endocrine disruptors in human cell lines. Toxicology. 2009; 262(3): 184-91. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Jun 17.
16 Willett W, Rockstrom J, Loken B, Springmann M, Lang T, Vermeulen S, Garnett T, Tilman D, DeClerck F, Wood A, Jonell M, Clark M, Gordon LJ, Fanzo J, Hawkes C, Zurayk R, Rivera JA, De Vries W, Sibanda LM, Afshin A, Chaudhary A, Herrero M, Agustina R, Branca F, Lartey A, Fan S, Crona B, Fox E, Bignet V, Troell M, Lindahl T, Singh S, Cornell SE, Reddy KS, Narain S, Nishtar S, Murray CJL. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet. 2019; 393: 447–92.
17 Stehfest E, Bouwman L, van Vuuren DP, de Elzen MGJ, Eickhout B, Kabat P. Climate benefits of changing diet. Climatic Change (2009) 95:83–102DOI 10.1007/s10584-008-9534-6
18 Stothard ER McHill AW, Depner CM, LeBourgeois MK, Axelsson J, Wright KP Jnr. Circadian Entrainment to the Natural Light-Dark Cycle across Seasons and the Weekend. Current Biology 2017; 27: 508–513.
19 Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Brown R. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Journal of Inflammation Research. 2015; 8: 83–96.
20 Zhang Z, Liu X, Hong X. Effects of home preparation on pesticide residues in cabbage. Food control. 2007; 18(120: 1484-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2006.11.002
21 Yang T, Doherty J, Zhao B, Kinchla AJ, Clark JM, He L. Effectiveness of Commercial and Homemade Washing Agents in Removing Pesticide Residues on and in Apples. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2017; 65(44): 9744–52. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03118
22 UNEP. 2018. SINGLE-USE PLASTICS: A Roadmap for Sustainability Accessed 8/04/2019. United Nations Environment Program. https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
23 Song X, Hansen MC, Stehman SV, Potapov PV, Tyukavina A, Vermote EF, Townshend JR. Global land change from 1982 to 2016. Nature. 2018; 560: 639-43.
24 NASA. 2019. Global climate change - vital signs of the planet. Accessed 27/03/2019 https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/
25 Krol WJ. Removal of Trace Pesticide Residues from Produce. The Connecticut Agriculture Experimentation Station. Accessed 9/04/2019. https://portal.ct.gov/CAES/Fact-Sheets/Analytical-Chemistry/Removal-of-Trace-Pesticide-Residues-from-ProduceLucas T, Horton R. The 21st century great food transformation. Lancet. 2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)33179-9
26 Global Forest Watch. 2019. Accessed 27/03/2019. https://www.globalforestwatch.org/dashboards/global?modalMeta=eyJtZXRha2V5IjoiIiwibWV0YVdoaXRlbGlzdCI6W10sInRhYmxlV2hpdGVsaXN0IjpbXSwiY2l0YXRpb24iOiIifQ%3D%3D
27 Eriksen M, Lebreton LCM, Carson HS, Thiel M, Moore CJ, Borerro JC, Galgani F, Ryan PG, Reisser J. Plastic Pollution in the World's Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea. PloS One. 2014; 9(12): e111913. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111913
28 Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P. Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/291541
ELIA Kitchen takes the guesswork out of making healthy meal choices by showcasing tasty dishes curated by our resident nutritionist.Learn more