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There is a growing body of research surrounding the link between time spent outdoors and your physical, emotional, and spiritual health, but time in the great outdoors can also benefit the planet, too. The more time you spend outside, whether it’s a walk around your neighborhood or a weekend adventure spent camping in the forest, the more you and Mother Nature prosper.
How do outdoor activities help to save the environment? Let’s take a look at some of the ways being outside can make you a more eco-friendly, earth-conscious person.
The more time you spend indoors, the more likely you are to utilize some of the comforts of your home. Particularly those that demand some level of electricity. Even if you’re not sitting on the couch watching tv or playing video games, you likely have your air conditioning or heating on, the lights on or a few appliances plugged in while you read, make dinner, charge your phone, listen to music or play an audiobook over a speaker.
Electricity use is an environmental concern because the generation of power requires fossil fuels or materials that contain fossil fuels to be burned, which depletes the planet’s natural resources and contributes to harmful emissions that further threaten the worsening climate situation. Because of these considerations, it becomes apparent that it’s a far more environmentally-friendly choice to spend time outside playing with a wooden baseball bat over spending time inside playing with a virtual one on a screen or device.
The list of health benefits from spending time outdoors is vast, and includes increased physical activity, lowered blood pressure, improved mental health, increased cognitive function, and a strengthened immune system. These health benefits make you a stronger, healthier person who is less likely to require medical care. While it isn’t instantly clear how this benefits the environment, it becomes obvious when you take a closer look at the environmental impact of the medical industry.
Everything in a doctor’s office or hospital setting must be sterile and new for each patient. Therefore, the medical industry is one of the leading consumers of single-use items. As well, these facilities are highly energy-intensive, as the equipment inside must always be on and functioning in order to sustain healthcare operations. These factors, along with the industry’s usage of toxic chemicals, make the industry a significant threat to the environment.
The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” applies to eco-consciousness in a significant way. When you spend time outside, you become more connected to outdoor spaces. As a result, it can prompt you to take more of a stewardship role with the environment. A hike up in the mountains nearby your house or a visit to a beach in an adjacent town gives you a firsthand look at what is threatened by harmful, earth-ruining practices. This exposure can make the climate crisis feel drier and more apparent.
Recent research reveals that those who spend time in nature are more likely to report feelings of psychological connection. That means a more positive relationship to the natural world. Additionally, they are less likely to engage in behaviors that are harmful to the environment. You don’t have to venture far to reap these benefits of awareness. Even those who go to parks during lunch breaks are more likely to engage in more eco-friendly practices. The more time you spend outside, the more likely you are to engage in greener habits. So spend as much time as you can developing a relationship with the natural world. It will help deepen your understanding and appreciation for the natural world around you.
Author: Finnegan Pierson
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