Today is Earth Day, a day to celebrate the planet that gives us life and a home. A day to think about the planet we are born on, live on, and eventually die on, that we (and by we, I mean most of us) actually tend to never really think about.
Earth Day is also a day to think about how we contribute in the health or sickness of our planet. And according to this Ted article, we’ve been abusing our poor planet and hitting 4 of the 9 limits it has to sustain life.
So, why should you care about the earth, when you’re concerned about your health? Because as the earth changes and becomes less predictable, it poses a risk on your health and well-being, too. Here are reasons why you should care about the earth, if you care about your health.
1) Unpredictable climates spell trouble for your health
It really is getting too damn hot. And what that means for us is:
- Climate change is real and happening. Warmer weather means more heat-related illnesses and deaths, as well as easier spread of certain diseases.
- In the aftermath of an extreme weather event caused by climate change, there can be an increase in stomach and intestinal health issues. Mental health can also be affected, severely.
2) Compromised biodiversity disrupts ecosystems that indirectly affect your health
Less potassium in my banana? I want my money back!
- Biodiversity has dropped 84% in parts of the world. A loss of biodiversity means our ecosystems are going out of whack. The systems that provide us clean water, food, and fuel sources are at risk, with increasing threats to biodiversity. According to WHO, “Biodiversity loss also means that we are losing, before discovery, many of nature’s chemicals and genes, of the kind that have already provided humankind with enormous health benefits.”
- Disturbances in biodiversity also compromise the interactions of organisms and infectious diseases can be sensitive to these disturbances. That means your paranoia of “Contagion” coming to life, might become too real.
3) The effects of deforestation go further than what you might think
The trees are talking, and they’re mad.
- Deforestation contributes to compromised biodiversity by putting species at risk for extinction. It also “creates conditions for vectors to breed and spread infectious diseases” such as malaria, which are carried by mosquitos, according to the Journal of Global Health. When trees are cut down, they provide a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos and other parasites to spread diseases.
4) What do toxic oceans mean for you?
Say goodbye to Spongebob and Squidward.
- Did you know that globally, fish represent about 6 percent of the protein that people consume? So what does it mean if oceans are becoming more toxic due to the strains we’re putting on our planet? It means less sea creatures and an overall strain on the entire ocean food chain. Another pro to keeping the sea healthy? It keeps coral reefs healthy which protect the land we live in and provide protection from tsunami waves.
5) We’re drinking more water but destroying the systems we have in place to keep them clean
This baby knows what’s up.
- Water ecosystems both replenish and purify water resources but the ecosystems become compromised with land development. That means less clean water for us to drink. I don’t think I need to explain how beneficial drinking a lot of water can be for your body. Water is important, guys.
These are just some of the reasons to keep our planet healthy. If our earth is healthy, we as inhabitants can only benefit from it.
Just as we have a responsibility to take care of our health, we also have a responsibility to our planet.
Yumhee Park is a former content producer for HealthCentral.com.