World Health Day: Taking care of the planet is taking care of our health
The planet and health go hand in hand
world health day has been observed worldwide on April 7 since 1950 to raise awareness of deadly global diseases and encourage healthy lifestyles. Each year has a specific theme, and the motto for 2022 is “Our planet, our health.” It highlights the close connection between the planet, the place where we live and the way we interact with it and live there. The big question that every government, community, organization and individual should be asking is, “What am I doing to protect ‘my’ planet and ‘my’ health?” »
The million dollar question
For many, this question is difficult to answer. The inertia and way of life of this time do not allow us to stop, observe and rethink the customs and ways of life that are gradually impoverishing and deteriorating the environment and, therefore, our quality of life, our health and well-being. If we took a little time to reflect, we would surely come to the conclusion that taking small (or big) steps in our daily lives would help to slow down the irrepressible race towards the destruction of the scarce natural resources, all to live and feel safe. healthy.
While the leading causes of death worldwide include cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (many of which are closely linked to our way of life), premature deaths caused by known preventable diseases environmental hazards are estimated at several million. Air pollution, wasted water, dangerous chemical hazards, lack of sanitation and climate change have become major environmental threats to our health.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits that are making the planet sick
Some unhealthy lifestyles (like excessive consumption of certain foods or pollution) impact the planet, and we need to be aware of this to act and change this trend.
Let’s take a significant example: the tobacco. We all know the negative effects of tobacco consumption on our health, but what do we know about its impact on the environment? Tobacco cultivation requires intensive use of land and water, and it releases harmful substances into the waters of the rivers. Its consumption, manufacture and disposal all result in major environmental degradation. But that’s not all. Cigarette butts are the most abundant plastic waste in the world. Millions of these butts are thrown away inappropriately (on beaches, in forests, etc.), and it is not uncommon to find them inside land and sea animals. Maybe knowing that cigarette butts are basically plastic and a cigarette releases more than 7,000 toxic substances in the environment – affecting our collective health – can help us understand how the impact this and other unhealthy daily habits have is undermining something as precious as our health, as well as that of the planet.
We are all part of the solution
Building a world that breathes clean air, where drinking water and healthy food are accessible without exception, is a mission that concerns us all. In the business world, getting organizations to focus on the health and well-being of their employees wherever they are is a non-negotiable obligation, and it has an effect that extends beyond the workplace. In this context, health promotion means enabling people to have more control over their health by creating conditions that ensure the greatest well-being for all.
Encourage changes in the workplace promoting and protecting health through specific policies, as well as guaranteeing access to health services, will help us to prevent physical and mental illness. This is where we could talk about global well-being, which allows individuals to face each day by acquiring skills, knowledge and tools to lead a balanced life in different areas.
Let’s be smart and think long term. By taking care of our health when we are young, we are more likely to live longer with a better quality of life. By taking care of the health of the planet, we will create a better world for generations to come. The future remains to be written. What we do today will make a difference.