Environmentally Friendly Wellness Tips

Ming Wei, Staff Writer

Recently, it seems like the state of the planet has only been getting worse. Human activity continues to rapidly produce carbon dioxide emissions that fill the atmosphere, causing climate change and many additional consequences. These include, but are not limited to, rising sea levels, heavy air pollution and the destruction of animal habitats. This is why now, just two weeks after Earth Day, everyone should dedicate some time and effort toward saving the environment. 

Sonja Price, ‘24, provided some suggestions for ways MHS students can help the planet while also staying healthy. The environment means a lot to Price. 

“It affects the entire planet, not just certain groups of people,” she said. “It’s a really big problem and it’s just super important.” 

When asked if and why the state of the Earth should matter to students, she said, “We’re the younger generation. We can have some of the biggest impact on the environment because we have more access to the Internet and technology. It’s going to impact us the most.” 

She also said that she is aware the environment’s current condition does not affect her own everyday life in any spectacular way, but she also said that it does have an effect on friends and family that live in the city. The poor air quality that can result from pollution is what worries her the most. Since people she cares about are directly in harm’s way, her frustration over the idleness of big companies and world leaders was apparent. 

“They need to take steps fast,” said Price. “It’s a speedy process, so you’re going to have to step up your game.” 

She went on to list some things she would like to see happen to improve the current situation: the development of more parks and wildlife reserves, companies being held accountable for the emissions they have caused and newer worldwide collaborations similar to the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, albeit with a more effective impact. 

In addition to sharing these ideas, Price emphasized the importance of choosing “realistic and achievable goals” to follow. 

Just as much as she cares for the environment’s health, Price also considers her own health, both mental and physical, deeply important. She explained that refusing one’s body the adequate attention it needs when it’s unwell can have long-term effects. 

“I try to just rest and do what is possible for me to do,” she said, when asked what steps she typically takes to care for her health. “I’ll try my best but I won’t put as much pressure on myself.” 

She recommended moving around a bit and setting smaller goals, encouraging students to make things more manageable for their energy level. Since so much of her time every day is spent staring at a screen and stuck inside a building, Price finds many of her reinvigorating activities outdoors. To help out the environment while she’s there, she has quite a few habits that she recommends to Minnetonka students. 

Her favorite environmentally friendly tips include going for a walk, going on a bike ride, or taking the dog outside. Not only are these activities fun, refreshing, and mind-clearing, but they can also reduce your carbon footprint each time one chooses them over driving. Additionally, even just opening a window to let in fresh air can be incredibly helpful for a mind or body that is not currently in the best shape. 

Additionally, one of Price’s top suggestions is to take care of a plant. A small cactus, some flowers in a pot or even a vegetable garden are all great for the environment. They produce oxygen and improve air quality, as well as contribute to the number of fresh plants in the world. Taking care of a plant can also be a peaceful hobby that is good for de-stressing. 

According to Rob Jordan, a journalist for the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, “Global fossil-fuel carbon dioxide emissions will reach yet another record high. Driven by rising natural gas and oil consumption, levels of CO2 are expected to hit 36.8 billion metric tons (40.6 billion U.S. tons) this year.” 

It’s clear that the environment is in critical condition at the moment. The people responsible for this are not only large companies and factories, but also ordinary people, who pollute in more ways than they care to realize in their day-to-day lives. This is why every small contribution helps. MHS students can help the planet while also taking care of their well-being, which can feel especially pressured with AP and final exams in progress. There are infinite ways students can help both our own health and the environment’s.