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Earth Day is on April 22. A great opportunity to honor the earth as well as all actions related to environmental protection. Fortunately, we are becoming more conscious about the damage we have caused and are causing to our planet and Earth Day continues to be celebrated since 1970. Yet, we don’t have wait for April 22 to lower our carbon footprint and help our planet!

Our Negative Impact

Not only we have neglected to care for our environment, but the way in which we have been living for the past decades has created major havoc.

The list below shows how we are negatively impacting our planet:

  • Overpopulation: Lower mortality rates, advances in medicine, and improvements in our way of living have increased our lifespan as well as population growth. More people living translate into more space being occupied, more natural resources being depleted, and more damage to our ecosystems.
  • Deforestation: We remove trees and forests from the land without sufficient reforestation endangering our oxygen supply and the survival of many species. About 18 million acres of trees are cut down each year to make new developments, wood products, and fuel.
  • Air Pollution: We introduce tons of toxic substances (CO₂ -carbon monoxide, fossil fuels, carbon monoxide, toxic metals, radioactive pollutants, volatile organic compounds) daily into the air contaminating one of our most needed assets, the air. The US alone produces 147 million metric tons of air pollution each year, which takes years to purify.
  • Global Warming: Respiration of millions of people, the burning of fossil fuels, and deforestation have increased CO₂ levels in the atmosphere. Our current level of CO₂ is about 400 parts per million while in 1950 was 300 PPM; this has contributed to the rise of the planet’s average temperature almost a whole degree. As a result, more glaciers and Arctic land ice are melting, which causes the ocean levels to rise at a rate of 3.42mm per year and affect multiple ecosystems.
  • Climate Change: Warmer temperatures and rising oceans disrupt weather patterns, which creates more heat waves, more intense and frequent hurricanes, and more droughts. All these lead to changes in the weather.
  • Water Pollution: Garbage, fertilizers, and over 8 millions tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. This threatens half of the world’s oxygen, which is produced via phytoplankton photosynthesis. Phytoplankton needs the sun and nutrients from the water for its photosynthesis, which releases oxygen into the water.
  • Ocean Acidification: The high levels of CO₂ dissolve into the ocean and create carbonic acid, which reduces pH levels and acidifies sea water. In the last 200 years, ocean acidity has increased by 30%, in turn depleting calcium concentrations. More acidic waters damage crustaceans’ shells and coral reefs. These reefs are rich ecosystems, nutrient providers, and homes to many fish and organisms responsible for filtrating water.
  • Acid rain: The burning of coal oxides sulfur dioxide and nitrogen, which rise up into the atmosphere and accumulate in the clouds. When rain takes place, it’s not the same clean rain but acidic rain. The acid rain falls and accumulates in lakes and other bodies of water, depleting the soil of nutrients, damaging the vegetation, and even wiping out animal species which wreak havoc in ecosystems.
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): These DNA-altered organisms are designed to sustain colder temperatures, yield more product, and can even require less water. Genetic modification in organisms has also taken place due to the use of glyphosate, a herbicide created to kill weeds. Some weeds now have become herbicide-resistant and are damaging more farming lands.
  • Ozone Depletion: The ozone layer, located in the stratosphere, absorbs harmful UV rays that can be detrimental to us, animals, plants, and the land. The ozone layer is being tarnished by the ozone’s depletion of oxygen caused by ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Some notorious ODS are foam-blowing agents, solvents, propellants, and halocarbon refrigerants. Ozone depletion increases the rates of sunburn, cancer, and cataracts.
  • Water Depletion: Overpopulation, overconsumption, climate change, irresponsible urbanization, and land degradation are exhausting water supplies. Consequently, it’s believed that more than 1 billion people lack access to clean water currently.

If the earth was a human being, she would be diagnosed with mental illness and all kinds of degenerative disease. Damaging our planet not only harms the only home we have but decreases our quality of life and increases our rates of respiratory, gastrointestinal, renal, neurological, reproductive, hematological, and dermatological problems, and cancer.

Let’s Help Mother Earth

Human imprint on our planet hasn’t been a very positive one and the current picture is not a pretty one. Yet, it’s not too late which is why we need everyone’s assistance. Let’s start making changes today to help our health, our future generations, and mother earth.

These are some tips so you can start having a positive impact:

  • Recycle: Don’t throw paper, cardboard, plastic bags, or products made of plastic, glass, or metal on conventional waste disposals. Place them in recycling bins.
  • Eat Organic: This eliminates your endorsement for pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers and allows you to promote organic farming which is sustainable and ecologically balanced.
  • Eat Less Meat: Meat production is associated with fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption, which pollute the environment. Plus, regular meat consumption increases the risk of cancer. If you eat meat, always choose organic grass-fed meat and try not to eat it more than a few times a week.
  • Conserve Energy: Turn off the lights when you don’t need them.
  • Save Water: Turn faucets off as much as possible.
  • Eat Locally Grown Food: It reduces CO2 emissions and helps preserve green spaces in your area.
  • Plant Trees and Vegetation: They provide 50% of our oxygen.
  • Start Composting: Avoid throwing away food waste, put it in a separate bucket instead. Composting reduces your carbon footprint and compost is a great fertilizer. Find out if your city has compost pick-up programs.
  • Drive Slower: Driving slower helps you to save gas and tires. Even though they are needed, they are not environmentally friendly. Plus, you can avoid more accidents that way.
  • Avoid Conspicuous Consumerism: Be more conscious and avoid compulsive buying and the unnecessary accumulation of things that you’ll end throwing away.
  • Take Action Globally: Join a pro-green movement, donate to a cause, and spread the word. You can participate in the Earth Day Network or any other local organization.

The evidence is mounting the planet is in a poor condition. We must take responsibility for our habitat and understand that everything that happens to the earth has an effect on our lives. Destroying our natural resources and our environment not only harms the earth, but it also harms us! Let’s aim to behave in ways that decrease our carbon footprint and help nurse mother earth back to health!

To a Healthier Fitter You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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