Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22. Now is a good time to reflect on the choices we make and how they affect the environment. We can also think about this in relation to our own health and our risk for cancer.
Here’s a list of 5 things you can do this Earth Day to reduce your carbon footprint that might help reduce your risk of cancer:
- Plant a vegetable garden
Eating five to nine servings of veggies every day could improve your health! Also, planting your own food means you won’t be consuming harmful pesticides – that’s a win-win. If you live in a city, you could also get involved in a community garden. Just google it! When I was younger, I did this every spring with my mom and it was a lot of fun. If you have kids, get them involved and interested in healthy, home-grown foods. Check out the Better Homes and Gardens website for more information.
- Go for a hike, walk, or bike ride
Physical activity can lower your risk of cancer and help you recover if you’re a survivor or still in treatment. Biking is another great way to get your heartrate up while keeping your car at home. Cars and trucks are responsible for about 1/5 of all U.S. emissions. If possible, pick one day a week to bike to work. The environment and your body will thank you! Be sure to put on sunscreen if you do head outdoors, especially since the weather is starting to warm up. If you are living with cancer or are a survivor, check out our blog post about the Benefits of Exercise during Treatment. This post talks about the benefits of exercise and how you can talk to your doctor to create the best plan for your individual needs.
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products
Traditional cleaning products contain yucky toxins that can harm you and your family. Look for products that are eco-friendly to reduce your loved ones’ exposure to toxic chemicals typically found in household cleaners. Changing to eco-friendly products can also help reduce pollution and minimize your impact on the earth. Choosing green products can help both you and the environment!
- Go meatless for the day
Eating large amount of highly processed meats can increase your risk for certain types of cancer. Go meatless on Earth Day to reduce your carbon footprint! Livestock farming is responsible for about 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Plus, fossil fuels are used to transport animals and produce their food. So, going meatless for a day can reduce your personal carbon footprint, while also positively contributing to your health. There are also healthy and easy vegetarian recipes online. Use this as a way to try something new, while also protecting your body and the environment.
- Use a refillable water bottle
Harmful chemicals can be found in plastic water bottles, and these bottles already take up a lot of space in landfills. Invest in a glass or stainless steel water bottle to help the environment and your health. You could also consider getting one that has a filter attached to it – this way, you know you’re drinking fresh, filtered water every time! Drinking water is also extremely good for your body, skin, muscles, and your kidneys. Hydration also positively impacts your brain function, reduces headaches and regulates your bowels!
Take time today to be mindful of how your daily actions impact your body and the earth. Happy Earth Day from Cancer Support Community! If you want to learn more about specific types of cancers or their risk factors, please go online: Learn More About Cancer Types. This is a great resource that provides information on 50 different types of cancer, symptoms, treatments, and side effects. You can also explore our Frankly Speaking About Cancer series, which provides trusted educational information through our radio show with CEO Kim Thiboldeaux, publications, webinars, workshops, and more.