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We humans are often attuned to improving our personal health, and we may also ponder how to live more environmentally-friendly, sustainable lives. But many of us may not consider how we can do both at the same time. 

Combining these efforts is not as hard as you might think it is. With three easy steps, you can have the dual satisfaction of bettering your health and the health of our world.

  1. Eliminate Beef and Lamb from Your Family’s Diet

Meat consumption leaves a heavy carbon footprint, accounting for 26% of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Beef, veal, mutton, and lamb, in particular, have an outsized effect because they emit methane when cows and sheep belch, pass gas, and when their manure is collected in large pools. This methane contributes a surprising amount to greenhouse gas emissions. Consuming less of these meats will therefore make great strides in reducing your impact on climate change.

Eating less red meat—including pork and other game meats—will also do wonders for your physical health. Research has shown that red meat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and various forms of cancer. By not consuming red meat, you’ll lessen your chance of these adverse health conditions, too.

2. Use Your Feet for Transportation

One of the biggest contributors to the average American’s carbon footprint is the use of a personal vehicle. Almost 30% of U.S. household greenhouse gas emissions are due to transportation.

What can you use to commute instead of your car? Your feet! Walk to public transportation, jump on a bike, take a skateboard—whatever inspires you to be physically active instead of getting in your car. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults obtain 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, which includes a mix of both aerobic activity and strength training. Using your feet to travel will allow you to not only work toward that 150-minute weekly goal, but will also reduce your carbon footprint.

3. Ditch Household and Personal Care Products That Contain Chemical Toxins

One less frequently considered but equally important action you can take to improve your health and the health of the environment is to avoid chemical toxins like endocrine disruptors, which can harm you as well as our ecosystem.

Endocrine disruptors consist of a long list of chemical toxins found in plastics, cleaning products, cosmetics, pesticides, and more that can adversely affect human immunity, metabolic, and reproductive health. Moreover, not only do these chemicals affect humans, they negatively affect the reproductive health of wildlife, decreasing their lifetime fertility. 

Do yourself and the environment a favor and avoid as many chemical toxins as possible by not purchasing products that contain them. Instead, opt for household and personal care products made with only natural ingredients. The Environmental Working Group’s consumer guides are great resources to help you steer clear of chemical toxins. 

Bottom Line

Taken together, changes to your diet, transportation, and household and personal care products can have incredibly positive effects on your health and our environment. And to maximize your likelihood of successfully modifying your habits, work on one step at a time and recruit others to help guide your journey and keep you accountable. With motivation and collective action, you can create the more sustainable environment and healthier life you’ve been dreaming about.

Sara Zellner Bio

Sara Zellner is an entrepreneur on a mission to help individuals and businesses align their priorities with their values to create positive change. She is the founder and owner of Saz Healthy Living, which provides sustainable living, health, and wellness coaching services. She is also the principal CEO of Lynz Consulting LLC, which specializes in corporate responsibility; environmental, social, and governance (ESG); and sustainability consulting. PhD-trained, Sara uses her research and coaching skills to delve into her clients’ vexing issues and assist them in reaching their goals.

Connect with Sara via Social Media:

Saz Healthy Living

Lynz Consulting LLC

LinkedIn

Twitter

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on Meet 2021 Annual Photo Contest Finalist: Rima Wahab

“Nurturing the Eco-Citizens of the Future” Co- Founder Ana led with a deep enthusiasm a group of volunteers, especially children, who got very motivated and excited to utilize iNaturalist, identify and learn about our local ecosystem in DC, and participate in a major annual citizen science project.

This past summer, we held our annual EcoWomen Photo Contest in honor of Earth Day. Thank you all who participated and submitted photos. We were thrilled to receive so many stunning submissions that highlight your visual stories about women, the environment, and the DC community. Congrats to one of our finalist Rima! The questionnaire below introduces her personal story to share.

1. Where are you originally from and what city/state do you live in?

I am Lebanese-American currently residing in Washington DC, and working on setting roots in the city.

2. How did you find out about DC Ecowomen?

I have been a member of DC Ecowomen since 2019. I have a life-long passion for environmental activism, and it is extremely important to me to volunteer in whatever city I am in. After I moved to DC, I was very happy to find DC-Ecowomen, connect with other kindred women with similar passions and commitment to environmental issues, and overall, be a part of a local organization that provides an empowering and supporting space for women in the environmental field.

3. What aspect/part of the environment are you most passionate about?

I have earned my master’s in GIScience, and a BS in Agriculture Science. Therefore, my passions and concerns in the environmental field extend over a couple of axes: On the one hand, I am very passionate about the applications of remote sensing and GIS in disasters and environmental and ecological consequences, and on the other hand, I am also interested in issues regarding food (in)security and environmental justice.

4. What (do you believe) is our biggest environmental problem today?

This depends on the scale of the environmental problem and location, and these vary significantly from one country to another. If we are addressing the issues from an Earth perspective, climate change is a major concern at a large scale, in addition to the need for an active and fully involved local participation in devising nature-based approaches that seek to achieve win-win solutions.

5. What is your favorite activity in your spare time?

I have two young children and one of my parenting philosophies is raising them to value the spirit of volunteering, mostly with local environmental organizations here in DC, and educating them to be future eco-citizens. I am also a member of the DC-Master Naturalist Program, and I enjoy spending volunteer hours, and feel fulfilled to be a part of various local conservation efforts in our city.  In addition, I am passionate about gardening, and I equally enjoy salsa dancing.

posted by | on , , | Comments Off on Meet 2021 Annual Photo Contest Winner: Emma Jagoz

Farmer Emma and her 9 year old daughter Anisa are digging in the soil to check on their potato crop! They grow over 12 varieties of specialty potatoes, including purple, red, yellow and white potatoes as well as fingerlings! 

This past summer, we held our annual EcoWomen Photo Contest in honor of Earth Day. Thank you all who participated and submitted photos. We were thrilled to receive so many stunning submissions that highlight your visual stories about women, the environment, and the DC community. Congrats to one of our winner Emma! The questionnaire below introduces her personal story to share.

1. Where are you originally from and what city/state do you live in?

I’m from Cockeysville, Maryland and now live and farm in Woodsboro, Maryland in Frederick County.

2. How did you find out about DC Ecowomen?

I went to school at the University of Maryland in College Park and majored in American Studies and Women’s Studies. I found out about DC Ecowomen a few years after I graduated when I was seeking work in DC. 

3. What aspect/part of the environment are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about land use in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. I know that we can greatly improve the health of the largest estuary in the US by being better stewards of the land, and to me that means – growing more perennials, no longer spraying grass & growing less of it, decreasing pesticide and herbicide use among homeowners and farmers, encouraging biodiversity by growing more than just corn and soy, giving land back to Indigenous peoples and BIPOC farmers, supporting regenerative and organic farmers, preserving woods and waterways.

4. What (do you believe) is our biggest environmental problem today?

I believe that poor land management combined with poor eating habits/choices and the total loss of connection with our food nationwide is a huge environmental problem. We can tackle this one meal at a time by connecting with the farmers who grow our food and shorten the chain of our food. By eating local and organic food, we’re supporting soil organic matter, our community members and their labor AND our own personal health. By eating local and organic, we’re refusing food grown in monocultures + CAFOS (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) that have not been grown responsibly and then have been shipped across the country or world sometimes several times over before getting to our plate — and making us sick anyway. Poor land management and our broken food systems are major environmental problems we can each do something about with every single meal we eat.

5. What place/country/city have you traveled to with the best aesthetic view of the environment and would recommend to others?

Since it can be difficult or impossible to travel far in the world today, I’ll recommend a close place that I love: Old Rag Mountain in Sperryville, Virginia. It is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has the most fun rock scrambles to hike up and brings you to a stunning exposed summit. Fall is my favorite time of year to climb up it when you are surrounded by exceptional fall foliage and crisp cool air. 

6. What is your favorite activity in your spare time?

I love to kayak on the Monocacy River here in Frederick County. The river is beautiful and is home to a huge diversity of wildlife that is a joy to paddle alongside. 

posted by | on , , , | Comments Off on Meet 2021 Annual Photo Contest Finalist: Charlotte M.

In this picture, taken by her partner, Charlotte is heading up to set some anchors for climbing at Carderock!

This past summer, we held our annual EcoWomen Photo Contest in honor of Earth Day. Thank you to all who participated and submitted photos. We were thrilled to receive so many stunning submissions that highlighted your visual stories about women, the environment, and the DC community. Congrats to one of our finalists Charlotte! The questionnaire below introduces her personal story to share.

1. Where are you originally from and what city/state do you live in?

I’m from Cockeysville, Maryland and now live and farm in Woodsboro, Maryland in Frederick County.

2. How did you find out about DC Ecowomen?

I went to school at the University of Maryland in College Park and majored in American Studies and Women’s Studies. I found out about DC Ecowomen a few years after I graduated when I was seeking work in DC. 

3. What aspect/part of the environment are you most passionate about?

I’m most passionate about land use in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. I know that we can greatly improve the health of the largest estuary in the US by being better stewards of the land, and to me that means – growing more perennials, no longer spraying grass & growing less of it, decreasing pesticide and herbicide use among homeowners and farmers, encouraging biodiversity by growing more than just corn and soy, giving land back to Indigenous peoples and BIPOC farmers, supporting regenerative and organic farmers, preserving woods and waterways.

4. What (do you believe) is our biggest environmental problem today?

I believe that poor land management combined with poor eating habits/choices and the total loss of connection with our food nationwide is a huge environmental problem. We can tackle this one meal at a time by connecting with the farmers who grow our food and shorten the chain of our food. By eating local and organic food, we’re supporting soil organic matter, our community members and their labor AND our own personal health. By eating local and organic, we’re refusing food grown in monocultures + CAFOS (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) that have not been grown responsibly and then have been shipped across the country or world sometimes several times over before getting to our plate — and making us sick anyway. Poor land management and our broken food systems are major environmental problems we can each do something about with every single meal we eat.

5. What place/country/city have you traveled to with the best aesthetic view of the environment and would recommend to others?

Since it can be difficult or impossible to travel far in the world today, I’ll recommend a close place that I love: Old Rag Mountain in Sperryville, Virginia. It is a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has the most fun rock scrambles to hike up and brings you to a stunning exposed summit. Fall is my favorite time of year to climb up it when you are surrounded by exceptional fall foliage and crisp cool air. 

6. What is your favorite activity in your spare time?

I love to kayak on the Monocacy River here in Frederick County. The river is beautiful and is home to a huge diversity of wildlife that is a joy to paddle alongside.