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Why Focusing on the Environment for Change is Not Enough

As you learn more about our store and why we do what do, you’ll notice that environmental protection or zero waste living are not at our core, but are merely a part of it. You won’t hear us leading with discussions about climate or environmental issues. Instead, we strongly advocate holistic wellness, and aim to empower individuals to continually take their personal health (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) to the next level and improve their overall quality of life.

We do acknowledge that environmental issues and climate change are some of the biggest problems the world is facing today, and we don’t discount the need for massive change to happen to reverse the decline of our environment for our future and that of the generations to come.

However, we also acknowledge that there’s another issue that’s just as problematic but is not given the same focus and attention as our environment – the state of our personal health.

Chronic disease is one of the biggest threats to our survival today. The fact is, in spite of the rapid advancement of science and technology in this day and age, we have the most number of chronic disease cases today than we’ve ever had in human history due to the quality of our diet and lifestyle choices and environment.

As we are faced with two issues that require massive action at a global scale, we must not view them as isolated problems. In fact, environmental issues are primarily about health, right? And since everything is connected (as we’ve learned from the 7 Environmental Principles), one issue cannot be addressed without tackling the other. Here are more reasons why:

We are the health of the earth. In fact, we are the earth – just a much smaller version of it, and what we see around us are reflections of what exist within

My former teacher at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Andrea Beaman, recently wrote about this so clearly in her article, saying: “we are intimately connected to the earth whether we choose to see it or not. Our physical body is literally made up of the elements that come from the soil, water, air, vegetation, and animal life.”

She further illustrates:

If someone’s physical body is filled with plastics (phthalates, plasticizers, BPA), they may not notice or care about the plastic around them in the external environment. Including the plastic that washes up on the shore, the plastic that is piled high in the waste sites, and the plastic that is killing the sea creatures and other animals.

If someone is smoking chemicals and/or vaping, they may not care about the various chemicals being spewed into the air by factories. Those factory chemicals contribute to air pollution, displace oxygen, and are linked to a host of human ailments.

If someone is not fully breathing the air and taking deep calming breaths into their lungs and cells on a daily basis, they may not care that the lungs outside of their body (the trees in the Amazon – that are considered the lungs of our planet) are being cut down and/or burned at an alarming rate (83% higher than last year!)

If someone is drinking beverages that are colored with chemicals and infused with artificial flavor, they may not care that the world’s fresh water supply is dwindling with the melting of the glaciers, and/or being contaminated with mountaintop removal for coal.

If someone is spending their days with their face stuck inside a little computer screen, they may not be able to see the bigger picture of what’s happening in the environment around them.

If our own personal emissions that we are putting out into the world, whether they are physical or emotional, are negative and toxic, why would we care about the toxic emissions of big industries and what they are doing to the planet?

We change for what we make personal

As long we see the problem as outside of ourselves, we’ll find it difficult to find leverage to take action. Unless we’re able to find a personal connection to the global health and environmental problems, it’ll be easier to point fingers to others for blame and responsibility, or even worse, ignore and not talk about it at all, than to find the will and motivation to change our behavior to address them.

On the other hand, it’s easier to find leverage to take action about something that’s much closer to ourselves and what we take personally – based on our experiences, values and circumstances (the good and the bad). Ironically, these are often more difficult to accept and talk about.

What’s important is to just start. Start taking action and build your momentum to change for things you care about. Start from within. And trust that as you put energy and action into creating better health or a cleaner environment, your actions will ebb and flow into other areas of your life, and you’ll notice that it’s really impossible to transform your health without changing your environment and vice versa.

We all have different reasons why we care for our health and/or our environment. What drives you to achieve better health and a cleaner environment? Either for yourself, someone or something else.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Roanna Medina

Roanna Medina is the founder of humble market and other wellness & sustainability brands. She an international awardee of the Top 100 Leaders in HealthCare in 2021 as an entrepreneur and Integrative Nutrition and Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. She's been trained in positive psychology, integrative nutrition and functional medicine coaching, which she uses to help clients holistically build strategies and implement behavioral, dietary and lifestyle changes to optimize and increase the quality of their health and environments, and human experience.

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