What is Environmental Health?
Free Earth Day Scavenger Hunt
Welcome to the next installment in the Wellness Basics series – where we chat about the basics of wellness, well-being, and learning how to thrive! And just in time for Earth Day, this week’s topic is Environmental Health.
What is Environmental Health?
Environmental Health connects to being aware of and understanding the impact of your interactions with nature and your personal environment. It also connects to knowing how to take action to preserve and protect our planet.
Simply put, Environmental Health comes down to understanding that we have a dynamic two-way relationship with Earth.
Environmental Health and Its Impact on Total Health
Because of the interconnected nature of health, Environmental Health powerfully connects to each of the dimensions of well-being. Here are a few examples:
- If the air quality is poor, the amount of time that you can and will want to spend outside playing, going to the park, or sitting on the porch will be very limited thus impacting Emotional & Mental, Physical, and Social Health
- Think about how the weather influences emotions - for me sun = happy and months and months on end of gray skies = gloomy thus impacting Emotional & Mental Health
Think: How does the environmental impact you and your well-being???
Environmentally Healthy Habits
Ultimately, I believe being environmentally healthy comes down to two things: 1) actively engaging with nature and 2) taking responsibility for the planet. So with that in mind, here are a few healthy habits we can incorporate into our lives to be more environmentally healthy (these habits also tend to be wallet-friendly):
- Ditch the car and ride your bike, walk or take public transportation instead of driving
- Be a conscious shopper - reuse, recycle, repurpose
- Plant a garden in your backyard and if you don't have a backyard join a community garden
Environmental Health & Your Classroom
So what exactly does this mean for us teachers on a quest to empower our students to thrive?!? By this point, I am sure I sound like a broken record, but if we want to nurture thriving students, we must teach them about each of the dimensions of health and show them how they can actively strengthen all components. This means, Environmental Health needs to be an active element of the classroom routine!
// Check out our Earth Day Unit //
»»» Take your kids outside (and not just for recess), make recycling a requirement, teach them how to conserve, set a water bottle policy, have them design environmental awareness campaigns, plant a class garden...the possibilities are endless!
A gift for you and your students...
As always, I have a freebie for you - an Earth Day photo scavenger hunt. My kiddos loooove this activity. I mean you really can't go wrong when you let kid use their phones in class to take selfies! All you gotta do is download the scavenger hunt and let your kids go photo crazy!
Also, here's an old post with some more Earth Day/Environmental Health ideas. And here's a link to our Earth Day unit on TpT.
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A middle school health teacher turned curriculum developer (and #WAHM). I'm on a mission to share the easiest-to-teach, most impactful health lesson plans on the Internet. Because your time and energy is better spent on teaching and connecting, not on planning and prep.
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