Planetary Wellbeing for Personal Wellbeing
Greta Thunberg, the face of the climate change movement, pledged to give up flights to help fight the climate crisis. To reach the climate summits in the U.S. and Chile, she crossed the Atlantic by boat, each journey taking almost half a month. Giving up flying entirely seems like an impossible task and a radical one for most of us. Not everyone is ready for that level of commitment to the cause.
To enjoy life wholistically, one must lead a balanced existence. My mission is to show that by reducing our carbon footprint, at least to some extent, we can help the planet while also helping ourselves. We can also improve our financial, mental, and physical wellbeing, thriving as a result.
Calculating your footprint will help you better understand the types of daily activities you can restrict if you want to lead a more sustainable life. What factors should you take into account? First, how many miles you travel by car, bus, train, and plane. Second, your energy usage at home. Third, your eating habits. Fourth, how much you spend on shopping. The goal, in my opinion, is not to reduce these to a minimum, but to create a balanced and sustainable framework for living.
Being mindful of your footprint can enhance many aspects of your life. Small steps like walking or running to work (if your office has a shower) will not only save you money, but will also increase your Physical Wellbeing. So many of us are forced to sit at desks in cubicles for eight or more hours a day. Taking a daily morning walk can help our overall fitness.
Other small changes can make a big difference. Buying water in plastic bottles, for instance, is not only bad for the environment but also for your wallet, and even your health. According to National Geographic, plastic items release a tiny amount of chemicals into the beverages under high temperatures, and although the FDA has been claiming these are too small to cause health problems, the long-term, cumulative effects of this exposure is not studied well, and may contain risks. It won’t hurt if you invest in a good quality metal bottle and carry it with you. I’ve done that for a while now, and I’m still amazed by how much plastic we can save by implementing that one small change in our daily routine.
A third example of simple, mindful sustainable practices is to eat locally. If you buy fruits and vegetables which are pre-packaged, naturally, the overall cost will include the cost of packaging. Not only will it be bad for the environment, but it will also be more expensive. I also believe in supporting the local economy, especially as we recover from the pandemic.
A final way in which you can help the planet is by avoiding fast fashion: cheap, trendy items go out of style quickly and end up in landfills. If you enjoy shopping, try to buy vintage, or high-quality clothes that will serve you for years to come, rather than for a few months. I understand that not everyone has an option of saving up large amounts of money for a new sustainable jacket, for instance, but just doing as much as we can will have an impact. I often say that perfection is the enemy of progress.
Being mindful of your carbon footprint works in tandem with your wellbeing: it helps you live life more harmoniously. Caring about the planet will make you a healthier, calmer, and financially more secure person.