The “outdoors” is a great place to enjoy many natural resources. For example, soaking up a little sun for vitamin D or enjoying the beauty of nature to rejuvenate your mind all come highly recommended by outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you love hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, sightseeing, etc., these are all outdoor activities many people enjoy. For some, they’re mainly outdoors running errands or traveling to and from work. Today, the environment has had a major impact on the health of humanity with emerging pollution and as a result of climate change. Keep reading more details below to discover how the environment affects our health.
Environment: Healthy or Unhealthy?
According to Health.gov, “12 million Americans are living and/or working in an unhealthy environment.” Again, pollution has had the greatest impact on the environment. Overall, when you live in a polluted environment it can have a mild to severe impact on an individual’s health.
More importantly, the environment is impacting both children and adults around the world. In some instances, environmental issues can be life-threatening and result in the possible evacuation of the affected area. Let’s discuss the ways the environment has been affected. Can environmental damage be reversed?
What Is Damaging Our Environment?
A natural Impact on the environment can include drought or wildfires which are known for depleting our natural resources and affecting our health. For example, a wildfire can release toxins in the air and take weeks to contain.
If an area is experiencing a drought, water and food supplies can leave regions of people without food or water which can lead to major health problems like starvation or even death. In fact, because drought is a natural environmental disaster, there is very little humanity can do to remedy or reverse the issue.
The intentional Impact being perpetrated on the Earth as a result of humans is defined as a “carbon footprint.” A carbon footprint is a result of a buildup of greenhouse gases by human action. The things we do and use all contribute to our individual carbon footprint.
Statistics from the Nature Conservancy online reported, “Americans have the highest carbon footprint per person in the world” with an estimated 16 tons per person. This is contributing to a number of environmental effects having an impact on our health. Many environmental activists are advocating for a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
What Does An Unhealthy Environment Look Like?
Healthline online says, “1/4 of all deaths around the world are a result of environmental issues.” Many of these deaths are because of air pollution. The cars we drive, public transportation, manufacturing, smoking, food production, etc., are all releasing dangerous greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are airborne contaminants known to cause many cancer and respiratory issues.
Bad water including high levels of lead and arsenic is an environmental concern impacting the growth and development of many of our children around the world. Our water is making our children sick and leading to reduce life expectancy into adulthood.
Take a look at the short video clip below to learn more about the danger of air pollution on our health:
Environmental Health Symptoms
Let’s take a closer look at the health problems associated with an unhealthy environment.
Respiratory disease is one of the major health effects impacting both children and adults as a result of air pollution. Many people can develop lung disease from inhaling harmful mists, vapors, particles, or gases (i.e. greenhouse) that get trapped in the lungs from the environmental impact of air pollution.
Did you know living in a poor environment can have an impact on your mental health? That’s right, the dangers surrounding us from our environment can cause depression, anxiety, or sleep deprivation.
Researchers are currently researching the link between major mental health issues like schizophrenia. The things in and around your environment can have an impact on your mental health including poor sanitation, drugs, crime, poor nutrition, poverty, and more. Your environment consists of everything surrounding you and can have a major impact on your physical and mental health. Talk to your doctor if you believe you’re suffering from mental health issues as a result of your environment.
According to Cancer Research UK, “1 in 4 diagnosed cases of lung cancer are a result of air pollution.” Other environmental cancers include:
- breast cancer
Environmental effects can also alter your DNA.
Your health can also be impacted by the quality of your indoor air quality too. For example, second-hand smoke can lead to cancer and mold can lead to asthma. The best way to combat your environmental concerns is by understanding how your region is or can be affected. Keep reading to learn how you can fight against ecological harm.
What Can I Do To Stay Healthy In A Poor Environment?
If you live in an area with a poor environment, there’s no need to avoid the outdoors altogether, but there are a few precautions you should take.
- Avoid overexposure to the sun (use sunscreen when applicable)
- Drink plenty of water
- Improve your diet
- Relocate if necessary
- Talk to your doctor
More importantly, we must actively take steps to improve our health and impact the environment by reducing our personal carbon footprint. For example, walk as much as possible instead of driving, recycle, avoid one-use products, reduce our meat consumption, and more.
The effect the environment has on our health didn’t happen overnight. There is no simple solution to eradicate poor environmental health and it’s unlikely that it can be reversed. However, if we work together and make small changes, we can improve the lives of millions of people going forward.
In fact, it’s important to really understand that we’re having issues with the environment contributing to major health concerns. Check with your local conservationists to learn more about the environment in your area. Discover the environment you’re surrounded by today!