If war, violence, pollution, global warming, animal rights as well as health issues aren’t enough to concern you, confusion over what is healthy and what is not will probably do the trick. A lot of us are anxious and concerned at the seriousness of the health crisis, world hunger and pollution problems plaguing our world.
There are so many disturbing issues that require our immediate attention! How do we choose what we feel will make an impact on our world, to make it a better place for our children, and their children? What can we do to avoid cancer, heart disease, diabetes and all of the other ailments and diseases that are overwhelmingly taking over our country and throwing us into the poorhouse.
Here are some suggestions and solutions:
1. Eliminating plastic bags and bottles from your use would be a great start in trying to remedy some of our biggest ocean pollution problems, and save you money. Ocean life and birds are dying rapidly because of the plastic products dumped into and flowing from landfills and gutters, going straight to our oceans. It is estimated that 330 million tons of plastic was manufactured in 2010, and sadly only seven percent of that amount was recycled. At $2 a pop, you are spending $60 a month if you just buy one bottle a day!
What to do about it: Purchase a water purifier such as Brita instead. The money you save on bottled water will be in the hundreds per year, plus a lot of bottled water are really filtered tap water anyway.
2. Another environmental solution to pollution and the personal costs related to its damage would be to stop contributing to concentrated animal feeding operations, (CAFO’s) also known as factory farms and slaughterhouses. By purchasing these packaged animal products in grocery stores and meat markets, you are contributing to a vast array of environmental issues. Some 35% of rivers and streams in the US are polluted and uninhabitable by wildlife due to the overflow and seepage of what are known as ‘lagoons’ – which contain hundreds of thousands of pounds of animal excrement. There are 10 billion animals killed each year for food – and their faeces are wreaking havoc on our environment.
Factory farming creates more greenhouse gasses than any other infraction caused by human beings. These gasses include Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide. Methane has 23 times the global warming potential (GWP) than Carbon Dioxide, and animal agriculture is responsible for 34-40% of all methane gasses released into our atmosphere. Nitrous Oxide has 300 times the GWP of Carbon Dioxide and farm animal production accounts for 65% of these deadly gasses.
What to do about it: Have simple meals like beans and rice, salad and baked potatoes a couple of times per week. This will seriously cut down the amount of animals we, as a whole, eat and not only will your health benefit, the environment will be saved and you’ll also definitely save some serious coin!
3. Talking about diet… I’m sure you’re aware of the skyrocketing healthcare cost. The old saying “You have nothing if you don’t have your health” is truer today than the past, mostly because of the health crisis we face, and the flood of disease that is rampant in the world. These diseases are costly, and some people have lost everything, including their entire savings accounts, and their homes in the effort to fight them, when prevention can be achieved by eating simply, and healthfully.
Studies have shown that diet is the main cause of disease, and that one in two people will develop some type of cancer; heart disease is the number one killer in Australia and diabetes is out of control… we have to realize that health is a commodity that has to be achieved with some effort – and that it constitutes what we put into our bodies.
There no question about it: The hustle of our country’s busy lives is taking its toll on our health and in the long run, our pocketbooks.
What you can do about it: Always try to eat as close to nature as possible. A simple meal of organic foods could feed and nourish us, and keep us healthy. And if you think cooking takes too long, try being bed-ridden for 10 years when you’re 60.
4. And speaking of organic… Pesticides, herbicides and all of the other chemicals injected into and related to the mass production of animal and vegetable produce are seriously harming us. If you choose to eat meat or dairy, buy organic. Eating organic animals or their products eliminates the harmful antibiotics that are causing antibiotic resistance in humans, among many other factors, such as the common sense idea that if an animal who is being slaughtered is laced with antibiotics, how sick was that animal and how much of that sickness is passed on to us?
Nobody really knows for sure. Organically raised animals have been shown to be significantly healthier than their factory-raised counterparts. Wouldn’t it be logical to consume the healthier version?
Foods grown organically are free of pesticides and fertilizers laced with chemicals such as DDT, PCB, dioxin and other deadly substances, which poison our land, and make their way into the non-organic fruits and vegetables we are consuming. It is no wonder 1 in 2 people contract cancer. After all, the long-term benefits of cutting the statistically certain medical costs of consuming these products would be enormous.
Not to mention the land used to grow organic foods keeps the soil at a healthy balance, improving fertility, instead of ruining the soil with chemicals. Crop rotation is standard practice by responsible organic farmers, among many other conscientious practices.
What you can do about it: And the best thing is, organic foods are not as expensive as once suspected. Most cities here in Australia has a farmers market, or a community supported agriculture (CSA) group where you can purchase fresh, organic foods – for less than or comparable to the price of non-organic grocery store produce. If not, try organizing one with your neighbours! It can be a fun way to bond, save the planet and save money!
5. And if you still think organic is too expensive… Take things into your own hand and plan ahead. Many of the goods you buy in the supermarket go through a series of processes that adds to its original cost.
For example, buy whole chicken instead of just chicken thighs. Butcher the chicken yourself, cook the thighs for your intended meals and plan future meals to use the rest of the chicken. (FYI: Chicken bones makes great chicken broth!)
A friend of mine live on one income even though her family consists of 4 people but they never go out of their way to be frugal. In pursuing her dream to be an organic farmer one day, she supported her husband by making her own soap and shampoo (all organic and it comes to less than $0.30 per bar), cooking everything from scratch (again, all organic and it always amounts to less than conventional store-bought stuff) and growing some herbs and spices in her backyard – all while she was studying full-time.
6. Did you know that in the US, as much as 1/3 of all pollution is from… the exhaust of cars? I’m sure the number is not quite as dramatic here in Australia but there’s no question you can do your part by using less of your car.
What you can do about: Buy a bike for medium distances, walk for short distances. I know this is a simple suggestion but it always amazes me to see people always driving their car even when they go to the local shops to get a bottle of tomato sauce!
7. Last but not least, be aware of where your money is coming from and what is it being used for. Did you know that the big four banks in Australia are some of the biggest investor in coal power stations?
According to a recent Green Peace report, ANZ is the largest of the four, with a whopping $650 million investment in the industry while the CBA is the largest financier of coal export ports. And while they do invest in renewable energy, the percentage is small.
Want to save the world? It can be as easy as banking with another institution. Some credit unions may offer a better deal but most people never knew about them simply because they don’t have the marketing budget of a bank!
Guest Post by Andre Pinantoan who is part of the team that manages Home Loan Finder, a free home loan and mortgage broker comparison service based in Sydney, Australia.