Every April 7, the World Health Organization chooses to highlight a special theme current in the wellness and medical world. The value of good health is comprised of physical, mental, and emotional well-being and is celebrated all over the world on this day. The theme sets the tone for what’s to come in the world stage. This year’s World Health Day will shine a light on "Our planet, Our Health". A healthy environment equals healthy people.
Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health writes "Every day we depend on biodiversity (the sheer variety of life found on Earth) to keep us alive and healthy. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat and the medications we take are all by-products of a healthy planet...When we damage the Earth, we damage our own health. Human beings are as susceptible as any other species."
United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development "The Future We Want: A Healthier Planet" points out that we have an important opportunity to both acknowledge, and benefit from the inextricable links between human health and sustainable development.
The Pan America Health Organization writes in a document A Healthier Planet: The Future We Want that "A healthy environment is a prerequisite for good health. Reductions in air, water and chemical pollution can prevent up to one quarter of the overall global burden of disease. Cleaner energy policies could halve the number of childhood deaths from pneumonia and substantially reduce the one million people who die each year from chronic lung disease caused by indoor air pollution."
World organizations talk about how to address the issues on a global scale, but what can we as individuals do? Take this day to reflect on things you can do to make the planet and your community healthier:
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle
- Conserve water and protect other natural resources
- Choose sustainable and consume with care
- Energy efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Bike, take a walk, use public transportation or ride with a group when possible
- Prioritize mental well-being and make healthy connections