World Health Day, April 7th, is a day to celebrate the concurrent health of the environment and people. Every year a different theme is picked to highlight an area of priority concern for the World Health Organization. In an ideal world, the environment is lively, strong, and able, which encourages and benefits the health of humankind. We got a taste of this world during the pandemic. As the world came to a screeching halt, the environment was given a vital chance for a green and healthy recovery. This opportunity of recovery shifts focus to the health of individuals. A polluted planet only increases the incidence of diseases. For World Health Day 2022, the theme is Our Planet, Our Health.
A clean environment is essential for human health, and yet the local environment can be a major source of pollutants. Not taking care of our local environments can result in air pollution, contaminated water, noise, hazardous chemicals, and inadequate sanitation. These threats to surrounding ecosystems are also threats to us, as the WHO estimates more than 13 million deaths around the globe every year due to avoidable environmental risks. These health threats are only exaggerated by weak governance practices and limited leadership, expertise, and resources in the health sector.
Recently, as changes have been made towards environmental protection, health services, economic development, and other factors, health in people in the region has improved. The goal being a world where people can live longer and happier. To keep humans happy and the planet healthy, it is essential to create societies focused on well-being. In a broader image, we need to face the climate crisis as the biggest health threat facing humanity. The climate crisis not only results in unhealthy air from burning fossil fuels, but the extreme weather encourages land degradation, water scarcity, and the spread of diseases through mosquitoes. In addition, plastic pollution has become immersed in society as it has traveled to the unlikeliest of places and become abundant within our own food chain. The production of the very junk food that obliterates health, generates a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is a never ending cycle between the destruction of our planet and the destruction of humankind. The pandemic, in all its horror, unveiled the healing power of the pause of human life, and subsequently revealed the weaknesses in society and the urgency of sustainability. Moving forward, it is critical to rupture this conformity and complacency of the current self destructive system.
What can you do to contribute to environmental health?
For starters, it is crucial to limit what you take from the earth. If it’s an option, it is always preferable to walk, bike, carpool, or use public transit in place of driving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When you’re not home or not using them, turn off lights and computers, and replace regular bulbs with energy-saving fluorescents. Reduce heating and cooling in your home, and recycle all that you can. Limit the use of toxic substances in the clothing you buy, the pest control you use, and the cleaners, soaps, and laundry detergents used. Drink out of reusable containers and compost yard material and food scraps to minimize waste. Support sustainable agriculture, and conserve water using low flow faucets. Ultimately, do your best to respect and protect the earth, and the earth will do its best to protect you back.
 European Environmental Agency. (2020, November 23). Environment and health. European Environment Agency. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/human/intro
 What you can do for Global Environmental Health. Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. (2016). Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/environment/our-global-environment/what-you-can-do-global-environmental-healt
 World Health Organization. (2022). Virtual Commemoration: World Health Day – april 7th 2022 "Our planet, our health''. PAHO/WHO | Pan American Health Organization. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.paho.org/en/events/virtual-commemoration-world-health-day-april-7th-2022-our-planet-our-health
 World Health Organization. (2022). World Health Day 2022. World Health Organization. Retrieved April 3, 2022, from https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2022