Can helping myself aid the environment?
At last week’s global climate summit, Chinese and American diplomats sat down and agreed. Both nations must work together to prevent further climate shifts. Demonstrators in over 2000 sites worldwide agreed. Companies and cities, churches and Communists agree. Many now argue combating global climate change can increase economic growth.
So why not start with your own body?
Regeneration Health and the Environment
Most of the human body is rebuilt in four weeks. Let’s start with:
1. Physical health. The principle is simple – use your body the way it’s built.
To live well we need to move. Humans are walking machines. Sitting is sadly, unhealthy. Sit longer, die earlier.
So how about a double success – improve your health and that of the environment through self-transport. Whenever you can, get going under your own power.
As in walk or bike to work. Or to the grocery store. Your home too far from the grocery store? Think about driving to a spot from which you can then walk.
Walking can cut your risk of heart attacks, of strokes, of colds. It can improve your mood. You meet others. Self transport allows you to see the world up close, not through glass. And reconnecting with nature makes almost everyone feel better.
And if you notice that transportation has become your biggest household cost, think about supporting mass transit. It allows for denser, more economically productive cities. Mass transit usually means people move more, improving public health.
New Yorkers are not living 2.4 years longer than other Americans because of their stress free city life. To get almost anywhere in NYC you have to move under your own power. That includes reaching a subway or bus.
Diet also matters. Eating whole foods is better for you. It’s also better for the environment – at least outside government subsidized monoculture agriculture. For epidemics like Ebola don’t hit just humans. They also destroy plants. Biodiversity is good for our individual health – and our collective survival.
2. Mental Health. The main principle – think in terms of solutions, not just problems. You train the brain to fix things.
Problems are myriad. They are everywhere. They sometimes seem infinite.
That’s why biological life is structured built to solve problems. All regenerating information systems update constantly. We overcome obstacles. We learn or we die. If our immune system does not constantly learn and evolve, viruses and bacteria would quickly wipe us out.
You can adopt a similar approach for yourself.
So when people tell you a problem like global climate change is impossible to fix, ask them how it might be solved. Let them start their answer with themselves, and how they live. What makes them healthier will often help the rest of us, too.
3. Social Health. The more social connections the longer populations live, more free of disease.
More connections means less heart attacks, strokes – even fewer tumors. Humans are social animals. We work and feel better together. Social connection improves health. When we cooperate and collaborate, we can achieve great things.
Improved social health gives us the chance to unite efforts in many arenas. That includes improving our communities, our environments, and how we live together.
Our brains seem built to collaborate. That’s good for individual health. It’s necessary for community health.
Many problems require cooperation between people who don’t agree about everything – or even very much. As we face epidemics, we know we must collaborate to survive.
It works that way with climate change, too.
4. Spiritual Health. People do far better when they have a sense of purpose, a connection to something larger than ourselves. They live longer. They have better moods. They feel better working for a cause.Preserving your home and the future of your friends, children and grandchildren is a very good cause.
About ninety percent of human beings live near coastlines. What would the world be like without Tokyo or St. Petersburg? Rio or Sydney or Bangkok? If people talk about the costs of fixing climate change, ask them how much it costs to move New York City to a safe, landward environment. Saving our great cities, the sites of our greatest civilizational achievements, is a worthy cause.
Physical, mental, social and spiritual health all aid each other. Improve one, and you make the others better.
The same approach helps confronting “overwhelming” issues like climate change. If we use an approach which looks first to solutions, many new options appear.
And we have no alternative.
Floridians are often obsessed with real estate. They jump online to to look up the changing values of their homes.
People should stop worrying. Homes and communities that are under water have the same value – nothing.
Denial is not a river in Africa. The climate problem will not go away. The same actions that make us healthier – that help regenerate every one of us – can regenerate the world we need to live.
You start with yourself.
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