The natural world hosts an abundance of relationships. Nature rewards healthy cooperation and punishes egoism. But there’s a balance—in this age of rampant extraction and undermanaged waste, the earth is no longer able to repair herself at the pace we are damaging her.
Human health depends on the health of our ecosystems, and the way we are currently treating our ecosystems is negatively impacting us. The water, air, and food we eat are sources that can nurture or harm our bodies. When we pollute the air, the rivers, and the soil of our planet, we hurt our own hearts, our own lungs, and the systems within our own bodies necessary for life. Scientists are now turning their attention to the correlation between climate change and human health for the sake of new regulation policies. Working against the environment is no longer working for us; we need to make a serious shift to join as partners with the environment.
Cooperation is a healthy behavior to mimic from nature, and we can do this in many ways to support our health. Local agriculture is a great place to start. By getting involved with local agriculture efforts, we support our bodies and our communities while easing the carbon footprint on food miles.
Systems work when they are built within the confines of available resources. When we acknowledge what is available within our own communities, we tap into an abundance of available resources, wisdom, and relationships. The more we come into cooperation with nature and each other the more we can survive and thrive.
- Sign up for a CSA. Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a network of local farms that deliver fresh and in-season foods to community members, who pay ahead of time for a share in the crop. It’s a great way to get to know your farmers and community, and become healthy eating the best of the best, local and in season.
- Join a community garden. Get your hands dirty for fun and health! Community gardening offers all the benefits of joining a CSA, with the added benefit of greening your thumb and engaging your body. It’s also a great way to teach children about the rewards of “reaping what you sow.”
- Go local. Most areas have local growers, whole food purveyors, and products, if you know where to look. Check out your farmer’s market and local shops to find what’s special and in season. Buying local also reduces the carbon footprint of food travel (picture a truck carrying blueberries from South America in the wintertime!) and puts money back into your community’s economy.