A Healthier Planet

//A Healthier Planet

A Healthier Planet

Ah summer. It’s finally here! Long days, pleasant breezes. A couple of national birthdays to celebrate. With fireworks: “Oh Canada!” And flag-waving: “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?”

Oh man. There was nothing like snatching the NBA championship with our beloved – and only NBA team – Toronto Raptors, earlier this month huh? The 6ix in six! Watching that parade in Toronto, with more than 2 million people in attendance? How ‘bout that for some Canadian pride?

Well, except that most players are American. Oh and there’s Gasol from Spain, Spicy P Siakam from Cameroon and Ibaka from the Congo. Head coach Nick Nurse is a good ol’ boy from Iowa, just like my husband B! And president Masai Ujiri is English born Nigerian.

Okay, so maybe a Raptors victory was good for some World Wide pride?! And why the hell not, eh? Okay, there’s been a tiny-wee-bit of divisiveness emanating from that, ahem, leader south of the border, but us Canadians (and I’d bet many Americans) are not interested in that!

Has it actually occurred to anyone on the planet that it’s far too late for divisiveness? If humankind does not get its shit together soon? We’re doomed.

Says Zach Bush, MD, expert in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Hospice/Palliative care, “If we don’t reconnect with nature, we will just destroy it again.”

Athlete and best-selling author Rich Roll, who interviewed Bush on a podcast I highly recommend (it’s life-affirming and life-changing) January 8, 2019, puts it bluntly: “It’s 2019 people. It’s time to stop screwing around. It’s time to get educated. And it’s time to once-and-for-all take control of our personal health and that of the planet we inhabit.”

Sorry. In 0 to 60 I’ve gone from celebrating Canada Day, July 4thand a humongous sports win to lecturing you on health, both personal and planetary. But, if not now? When?

On the health of the planet? Let’s look at some recent headlines:

“‘Climate apartheid’ to push 120 million into poverty by 2030, UN Says”
“This week’s heat wave in Europe is a preview of what the climate crisis has in store”
“India’s sixth biggest city is almost entirely out of water”

Sometimes I find it all so overwhelming, I just want to throw my hands in the air, give up. I mean, what can one individual do in the face of disaster for the 7.6 billion people living on the planet?

Fortunately, Canadian environmental guru David Suzuki has some suggestions. Here’s his “Top Ten”:

  • Endorse Renewables. Renewables are energy sources that are not depleted when used, like solar, wind, and hydroelectricity. “With costs dropping every day, renewable energy is the best choice for the environment and the economy,” says Suzuki. Message your country’s leaders to get on board.
  • Green Commuting: use public transit, bicycle, car-share, buy an electric or hybrid vehicle, fly less. “In Canada, transportation accounts for 24% of climate-polluting emissions, a close second to the oil and gas industry,” says Suzuki.
  • Be Energy Smart, Save $. Per capita, Canada is a top energy-consuming country! Small changes youcan make – use energy-efficient light bulbs, unplug electronics when not in use, wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water, hang clothes and use dryer balls when you can’t, install a programmable thermostat, look for Energy Star label when buying new appliances, winterize your home, get a home or workplace energy audit
  • Eat for a Healthier Planet. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” says American author and activist Michael Pollan. Four simple changes: eat meat-free meals, buy organic and local when possible, don’t waste food, grow your own
  • Less = More. “We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” From The Story of Stuff, a short animated documentary
  • Divest from Fossil Fuels, like petroleum, coal, natural gas, kerosene, and propane. We need to figure out how to do without these nonrenewable energy sources that are so polluting to the environment. One way is to ensure, through your financial advisor, that your investment plans do not include them.
  • Invest in Renewables. Can’t install solar panels or a wind turbine? Join a co-op and/or add them to your investment portfolio.
  • Put a Price on Carbon. Says The World Bank in an article from Jun 11/14, “A price on carbon helps shift the burden for the damage back to those who are responsible for it, and who can reduce it.” Which is exactly why Americans should be outraged at President Trump’s recent decision to reduce Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy rule, effectively weakening environmental regulations and potentially increasing carbon emissions. Governments need your support on this!
  • Vote. “Candidates often hold a wide range of positions on climate change, so your vote really matters,” says Suzuki.
  • Tell your Story, Listen to Others. “People are more often influenced by friends than by experts, so make sure to talk about climate change with friends and family,” says Suzuki.

You could talk about climate change around the campfire . . . oops, I guess campfires are pretty bad for the environment, releasing a “surprisingly large number of compounds, including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulate matters, benzene and many other potentially toxic volatile organic compounds”, according to thoughtco.com. Maybe it will be too hot this weekend anyway?

Discuss the small changes you can make for a healthier planet and let’s talk about a healthier you next time.

Happy Canada Day and July the 4th!






  1. Hilary June 27, 2019 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    YES! Great topic!
    And I learned a few new things there too :))
    I think we can all choose a ‘pet peeve’ about the environment and share our findings on FB etc.. so that we all take on a specific focus..
    Mine is toxic farming.. watching them spray the crops while the bees are in the fields pollinating for the farmers..
    So I say: don’t buy non-organic.. the modern fertilizers and sprays are oil-based chemicals too!
    Potato chips are the worst. Easy to switch to organic rice cakes!

    • Rita Hartley June 28, 2019 at 7:11 am - Reply

      Thx Hilary. Where you guys live, surrounded by potato fields, spraying has got to be most upsetting! Rich Roll did a podcast with Ara Katz and Raja Dhir about the microbiome. It’s a challenging – and long – listen. An exciting, important thing I learned is that they created something to put in beehives that reverses the effects of illness. Worth a listen!

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