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Being more environmentally friendly or “going green” is an effort that has been around since the 1960s and has continued to become more popular in recent years. Typically, being environmentally friendly could mean recycling, using reusable bags, or limiting water use. We also hear on the news about oil spills, harmful pesticides, climate change, and other environmental issues. It is important to consider how we can adapt our actions to being more eco-friendly.

Older Adults and the Environment

plant going green

The effects of climate change can affect our health and wellbeing (Environmental Protection Agency, n.d.).  Older adults are at higher risk of heat-related illnesses, which may become more prevalent as average temperatures rise. Certain medications can make it harder to regulate body temperature and as we age, our bodies change in ways that make us more susceptible to dehydration (Cleveland Clinic, 2018). In addition to heat-related illness, pollution causes health issues such as asthma, stroke, and cardiovascular disease (Green Journal, 2019).

Often, caring about the environment can have benefits for both the planet and ourselves. For instance, buying locally and supporting sustainable farming practices reduce the amount of pesticides that can end up in our food. We can decrease pollution by using eco-friendly products, using alternative transportation, and recycling. Consumption of pesticides can lead to health issues such as immune suppression, cancer, and hormone disruption (Green Journal, 2019). Being environmentally conscious can also save money. Conserving water and energy can cut down up to 30%, or an average of $627, on electricity each year (Green Journal, 2019). There are countless ways we can be more environmentally friendly to make the world a better place for ourselves as well as our children and grandchildren.

The following are different ways to be eco-friendly:

recycling
Picture from https://foodprint.org/blog/what-to-recycle-and-how/
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There are many ways we can be environmentally friendly. If it seems too overwhelming, start small. We can make changes that benefit ourselves directly, such as buying local, pesticide-free produce. We can also use less water and energy to save money while still helping the environment. We can learn about what is okay to recycle, use reusable shopping bags, and be conscious of the products we use. We can all do our parts by being mindful of what we are doing and how it impacts the environment. What we do now can make the planet a better place for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren. It may take some time to adjust, but being environmentally friendly is a lifestyle choice that has positive benefits for everyone.

Sources

Aging in Place. (n.d.). 5 Ways to Green-Sustainable Aging in Place. Retrieved on July 9, 2020 from https://aginginplace.com/5-ways-to-green-sustainable-aging-in-place/

Cleveland Clinic. (2018). Drink Up: Dehydration is an Often Overlooked Health Risk for Seniors. Retrieved on July 15, 2020 from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/drink-up-dehydration-is-an-often-overlooked-health-risk-for-seniors/

EcoKarma. (n.d.). Bokashi Composting: A Comprehensive Guide. Retrieved on July 15, 2020 from https://www.ecokarma.net/composting/bokashi-composting/#Bokashi_Composting_The_Japanese_Way

Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Climate Change and the Health of Older Adults. Retrieved on July 9, 2020 from https://www.cmu.edu/steinbrenner/EPA%20Factsheets/older-adults-health-climate-change.pdf

Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Frequent Questions on Recycling. Retrieved on July 9, 2020 from https://www.epa.gov/recycle/frequent-questions-recycling#hhwrecycling

FoodPring. (2020). Recycling 101: Figuring Out What to Recycle and How. Retrieved on July 9, 2020 from https://foodprint.org/blog/what-to-recycle-and-how/

Green Journal. The Importance of Green Living in Our Life and Environment. (2019). Retrieved on July 13, 2020 from https://www.greenjournal.co.uk/2019/12/the-importance-of-green-living-in-our-life-and-environment/