Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Biophilia and Eating Less Meat and More Legumes – August 1, 2011

Cornwall ON – Biophilia is the love (philia) of Nature (bio).  E.O. Wilson brought the word to our attention in a book of the same name published in 1984.  We are all inherently biophilic, meaning we long for and search for ways to connect to nature.  This is not something we are always conscience of.  If we take the time to really connect to how we feel in different environments we would no doubt find that natural environments which include water, fields, quiet, trees and flowers to name a few, provide us with the opportunity to rejuvenate and release the tensions of our hectic routines.
When we walk through a park or dig in our flower and vegetable gardens we feel good.  This gives us the opportunity to empty the mind of the events of the day, relieves stress and increases physical activity which has amazing health benefits of lowering blood pressure and improving our physical and spiritual wellbeing.  Spending time in natural surroundings also has the tremendous benefit of allowing us see changes in the environment.  If you can see changes that may require attention one is more likely to take action because of the first hand view of the situation.
So what does this information teach us?  Taking action to preserve, rebuild or build natural spaces into our urban and rural environments is beneficial and one might even say a must.  A must for the environment, for the life forms that we share this planet with and a must for our physical and mental health.  So go ahead, pick a spot, pick an appropriate tree or fruit bearing bush for your space and plant some hope for this 2011 International Year of Forests.  Spring is normally the time for planting however there is still time to plant in the early fall.  Check with your local Garden Center on the best course of action to follow.
So what other steps can we take to move to a healthier self and help the planet in the process?  How about walking and cycling more.  Reducing the use of our cars (especially during our warmer seasons) eliminates using fossil fuels, reduces exhaust in our environment and is desirable for our physical and mental health.  Think of the positive impact our city and citizens could have on their health, their pocket books and our environment just by going into the coffee shop for their beverage instead of using the drive through on sunny days.

Have you thought of eating less meat?  Eating less meat and incorporating more fruits, vegetables and legumes into our diets can have a positive impact on our health, waist lines and the health of our earth.  Reducing meat intake reduces saturated fats from our diets and encourages the intake of dietary fiber.  Take a look at the farmer’s fields around you.  Their fields are growing feed for animals instead of human food.  Eric Mysak, World Wildlife Federation’s Fresh Water Conservation Analyst says that “Meat products are one of the most water intensive” industries.  We can therefore conclude that when we reduce our meat intake we also reduce our water footprint.
Healthful actions sustain us and our environment.
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