David holds a Masters Degree in Animal Behavior and is currently obtaining a Global, Social and Sustainable MBA at CSU, where he currently works as a marketing instructor. For more information on his work, visit www.arrcconsulting.com.
We all understand the need to address current global health challenges that we face, but not all of us understand how we can truly make a positive impact on the health of our planet at an individual level.
. We seek to be part of positive change, but don't exactly understand how to adopt our lifestyles to benefits ourselves and the larger world.
According to David Enden of ARR Consulting, there are minimal modifications we can make to our lifestyle to improve individual and global sustainability. Here are his ten tips:
Corporate Social Responsibility, abbreviated as CSR and often deemed "corporate citizenship," refers to businesses actively involved in sustainable practices that have positive impacts on environmental and social wellbeing. The term CSR typically applies to efforts that go beyond what may be required by regulators or evironmental protection groups. When buying your products, choose retailers that engage in CSR practices. Some of these top-rated CSR companies might surprise you, as they're not limited to the health and wellness sectors and are big brand names we might already purchase from: like Apple or BMW.
2. Know your labels
Although the term "organic" has become an umbrella term to desribe healthfully sourced products, the term isn't actually all encompassing. For instance, just because a product is labeled as organic, it doesn't mean that's also natural or cage free. Familiarize yourself with the various terms the FDA uses to identify the sourcing, treatment of quality of products, and make purchasing decisions based upon how your personal values identify with those demonstrated by the product.
3. Remember that water is life
Current events at Standing Rock have demonstrated the importance of preserving our fresh drinking water. During this time, we have seen many pipeline leaks, like the Flint Water Crisis, that have devastated local communities and wildlife. Making a positive impact on water conservation is actually relevatively simple. One of the biggest wastes of fresh water occurs in the beverage industry. However, through CSR many companies are now producing beverages using sustainable water practices. New Belgium Brewery, for instance, treats and recycles 100% of the water they use to brew their beer. Bottom line: you can still indulge healthfully and consciously.
4. Something may be fishy around here
Marine biodiversity is decreasing faster than ever before. The primary cause of this is overfishing: the water ecosystem does not have enough time to recover between harvests. The good news is that technologies at our fingertips allow us to garner the status of the fish we purchase, like the Seafood Watch app. As a consumer, you can look to websites, like Fish Choice, to determine the sustainable practices of fish distributors that sell to your local supermarkets.
5. Watch where you buy your supplements
The fitness supplement world has been slow to adopt CSR, which has become increasingly concerning given that sustainable practices ensure these products are both safe and beneficial when ingested by our bodies. While not all brands engage in sustainable practices, some distrubtors, like the Vitamin Shoppe, focus on selling more sustainable product lines, with the goal of reducing carbon footprints and energy use, reusing and recycling materials, and getting greener products into consumer hands.
Rarely do us health and fitness junkies waste food, as we carefully plan out our meals. However, sometimes last minute appointments and dates result in prep meals gone bad, creating compost. The good news is: compost provides us with free, premium soil for planting. If you live an apartment and still want to make use of the compost, check out these DIY tips.
7. But what do I do with the soil?
Health and wellness is impossible to achieve without clean air to breathe. Luckily, nature always provides for us and there are various types of plants (like palms, bamboos and ferns) that you can include in your home or apartment to extract pollutants from the air. Aside from filtering the air in your house, these toxin-removing plants add beautiful aesthetic appeal.
8. Harvest plants for medicine
74% of all medicines are derived from plant compounds, but many of major medications available to us are also filled with chemicals and shelf-stabilizers that can do more harm to our bodies than good (like unprecendented side effects.) Harvesting your own medicine can decrease your eco-footprint. And you might be surprised by the breadth of health benefits offered by plants! White Pine Trees from New York, for instance, have more immune boosting properties than ingredients found in shelved products like Airborne. You can brew these needles for tea, saving you money, improving your health and lowering our adverse impact on the planet.
Two important disclaimers:
1) Only engage in harvesting in areas where the toxins from pesticides, fertilizers and air pollution aren't absorbed by the surrounding plants. This requires you to do your own research.
2) Know your plants before ingesting, as some plants are poisionous. Black Cherry Tree Bark, for instance, can be used to make cough syrup, but its leaves contain cyanide. Consult with a professional before harvesting your own medicine, and remember that quality, balanced food, too, is the best preventative medicine at your fingertips.
9. Travel by foot
Eliminate Co2 emissions and pollution as a result of driving everwhere. Major metropolitan areas continue to add options for bikers and walkers. Beyond the global benefits of traveling by foot, there are obvious personal ones: like getting exercise that improves your mood and level of phsyical fitness.
10. Shop smarter
We know that our landfills are overflowing and that plastic is a major contributor. If you haven't already, join the movement from using plastic bags offered by retailers to BYOB (bringing your own bags.) You'll not only make a positive impact on the environment, you'll also make your next shopping trip easier. Bags made from durable, eco-friendly materials are less likely to rip and often give you more room to pack your goods.