Your health is tied to the health of our planet in more ways than one. When the planet is suffering and sick, the people who live in it are also going to struggle. The earth depends on us, just as we depend on the earth.
From the time you were a child, you've probably heard about the golden rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. While we most often see this applied to our relationships with other people, it also applies to our relationship with the planet and its environment. Sometimes it's hard to remember but our neighbors aren't all people.
The environment around us may not attend community meetings and it certainly doesn't vote in local elections, but that doesn't make it any less of a part of the community. Treat the environment around you with all the same respect and care that you give to yourself, your family and your friends.
For example, if a friend was constantly asking you for favors, raiding your fridge and taking your possessions, you probably wouldn't stay friends with them very long. If you work yourself constantly and give your time, money and resources without thought for the cost to yourself, you will find yourself burned out and unable to give anymore. Both of these practices are unsustainable long-term.
In exactly the same way, but on a much grander scale and in a much longer timeframe, many of our environmental practices are equally unsustainable. To take resources at the rate we do without thought for replenishing or restoring them is just as unsustainable as working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so consider ways that you can create more sustainable practices in your life, whether through installing a solar power system or buying an electric car or just remembering to take the recycling out.
Respect goes in every direction. You can treat yourself disrespectfully by denying yourself the time and attention you know you need to be healthy, and you can do the same to the people and the environment around you. Treat yourself with respect by practicing sustainable habits and make sure that you have everything you need to live a happy and healthy life. Treat your friends with respect by offering help when you can and helping them figure out what they need even if they don't know themselves. Treat your environment with respect by keeping things clean and educating yourself about what you can do to make sure you are being a good friend to the earth.
Part of this will be powered by an open, growing mindset. Listen to what the experts say about best practices, and if what was previously thought to be best practice changes, then you need to change and grow with it. This is especially important for environmental issues because they can feel like an insurmountably large challenge. However, if you let your anxiety about these issues get the better of you and give up hope, then no progress can ever be made. If you find yourself at a dead end in your personal or professional life, you don't just give up. You look for new solutions, set aside the things that didn't work, and keep going. The same applies to environmental issues.
The best part is that many of the practices that can best help keep you healthy and happy are also exactly the things you should be doing to keep your home planet healthy and happy. That said, the most important thing you can do to defend your planet is to stay informed. It's good for your mind to stay engaged with the world around you and keep learning new things, so take the time to make sure that some of the things you learn are about your planet and what's best for both it and you. Get engaged in local efforts to protect the environment and grow your community in a healthy, sustainable and wonderful way.
This article was kindly written and contributed by Lewis Robinson.