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Earth Day, Nature, and Mental Health

Date published: April 19, 2022

Spring is in the air, and most of us are itching to emerge from winter's hibernation and enjoy warmer weather outside. Breathing fresh air, enjoying nature, or just taking a walk around the block are all great ways to shed the winter blues and help to lighten your mood. From improved cognitive function to reduced depression, more and more studies find that being outside has mental health benefits1.

Davin Healthcare has made mental health a focus in 2022, but for years, many team members have taken to the outdoors to get nature's many benefits. You can often find us playing golf, taking our pets for jaunts outside, and taking hikes to get back to nature. You may even catch Davin Healthcare CEO and Owner David Theobald, MS, RN, CSP, out climbing one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks (follow his journey here).

Unfortunately, due to the climate crisis, the world is changing, and it is possible that in the near future, not everyone will be able to get outside and enjoy nature in the same way.

With Earth Day on April 22nd, we wanted to share some ideas and resources on how you can help Invest In Our Planet to ensure that everyone can enjoy the outdoors for many, many years to come.

Clean Up Your Community
No one likes litter, but nature especially hates it. Improperly discarded trash can profoundly affect the environment, especially when it finds its way into waterways and animals' stomachs.

Either by yourself, with your family, or even with an organization, going out into your local community to help clean up litter is a great, low-cost way to make an impact. There is even the "Great Global Cleanup®," which is a worldwide campaign. If you head to the Earth Day website has all the resources you need to find a cleanup or register your own.

Plant a Tree or a Forest
Take a moment and look around you. It doesn't matter where you are; more than likely, something made from a tree is within your eye-line. It could be as simple as a piece of paper or as complicated as a house. These things enrich our lives, but they come with a price.

Deforestation has a direct impact on the environment. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen (what we need to survive). As we remove more and more trees, less and less carbon dioxide is absorbed, and less oxygen is produced.

Help to combat this by planting a tree or helping to plant entire forests. Make sure to research your area's native trees and where you can them or see if a local organization is sponsoring an event to plant trees. In the city of our home office, Saratoga Springs, some members of the Davin team are volunteering for one such event at the end of the month (if you're in the area and want to help out, learn more here).

And if you can't get out and plant a tree but still want to help, the Canopy Project lets you donate as little as a dollar to help plant trees worldwide. Learn more here.

Small Steps with Big Impact
Every journey begins with a single step. You don't have to run out and buy an electric car (though that's a great option if you can do it). Not everyone can throw a bunch of solar panels on their roof. But that doesn't mean you can't help. There are numerous small actions that, over time, will have an enormous impact.

Skip disposable and think reusable. 
You can pick up a pack of reusable straws for pretty much the same price as disposable, and you won't be contributing to plastic waste. Use this same thinking with take-out. Instead of using plastic cutlery, bring your own. And when you go shopping, bring your own bags. Every little bit helps.

Think twice before impulse clothes shopping. 
Did you know that about 40 million tons of textiles are sent to landfills or incinerated EVERY YEAR2? That's a massive amount of fabric. Trying to buy less clothing, shopping from sustainable clothing manufacturers, buying secondhand clothes, and even learning to repair your damaged clothes will go a long way to helping to reduce the textile waste produced every year.

Go vegetarian—sort of... 
It takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. And that's just the impact on water3. The land needed and the greenhouse gas emissions produced for raising meat to eat is huge. We understand that not everyone can or wants to live a vegetarian lifestyle, but if you make an effort to replace a few meals a week with meatless options, this will not only help the planet, but studies found that diets that avoid meat can actually make you healthier4. Head over to the Earth Day website to find some tasty recipes.

As we said above, every journey starts with a single step. Make an effort this Earth Day to start your journey towards fighting the climate crisis and helping to ensure that you can head outside and feel the mental health benefits of getting in touch with nature.

Citations

  1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature
  2. https://www.earthday.org/campaign/sustainable-fashion/
  3. https://www.earthday.org/actions/make-your-next-meal-plant-based/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-not-eating-meat

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