TIP #27: LEARN TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT: using our connectedness with the external world to promote personal health.

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A common misconception is to think that taking care of your personal health — your body and your habits– means you have done all you need to do to be healthy! No! We don’t live in an empty space; we live in a living system — our environment — and we are in a tight relationship and interconnectedness with it. We affect our environment, and our environment affects us. Positively and negatively. In fact, our environment is a reflection of our state of health, and vice versa. A better way to see it is: our environment is an extension of ourselves, of our own very bodies. We are one!

Whatever happens in the air, to the sea, on land, to the animals and plants, invariably happens to us. It affects us. This is a serious matter. Most medical conditions have their cause in the physical and biological environments: cancers, infections, allergies, and accidents. You see?

Protect the environment. Preserve it. And your are, most assuredly, taking care of your personal health — and your family’s health.

Keep your environment clean. Protect water bodies. Use the toilets. Clean drainages. Wash your hands. Dispose waste properly — not by putting them in gutters, drainages, and water bodies. The best place for your saliva or sputum to be is your stomach; stop spitting around!

Cars, motorcycles, and generators are sources of fumes, toxic smokes, seriously polluting our air and our lungs. Trek if you can (say, if it is a short distance), it’s healthy! Start thinking about buying electric cars (amen!) and using clean sources of energy. Advocate for these — wind, solar, geothermal, tidal waves, hydro-electricity, and bio-energy sources. Browse. Read about them. Say “no” to crude oil use! Talk to the government. Youths, arise!

Protect animals. Keep a pet. Avoid tree-felling. Trees are very important for the continuity of human existence! Stop pasting posters on walls and trees. Cut down one tree; plant two. Grow a garden. Keep a fruit farm or orchard. Reduce your use of papers; we are in the 21st century for Heaven’s sake! Pray for an electric cooker and a “microwave”.

Get shopping bags. Stop accumulating these polyethene “leather” bags! May we have potable tap water so we stop “designing” our streets with the so-called pure water satchets! Avoid processed foods and fruits, which come in packages that pollute our land! Avoid indiscriminate burning. Try creating a compost pit — and use the product as fertilizers. Feed your goats with your potatoes peelings.

Instead of dumping, burying, burning, or throwing away your used clothes, bags, shoes, and personal belongings, donate them. Give them away. Someone needs them. If you don’t know anyone to give them to, just give me a call! Wash them, clean them up, and send them to me, I live among thousands who need them! Don’t just consume, contribute.

Think recycling. Think clean and green.

What you do to the Earth, you do to your self.

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Dr. ‘Malik Haruna King is a practicing Nigerian Medical Doctor and Sex Therapist. He helps people with sensitive health issues find answers to questions they are too ashamed to ask!