Environmental Wellness

What is Environmental Wellness?

Environmental wellness is the ability and capacity to live, work, and study in a sanitary, safe environment where clean air and water, quality food, adequate shelter, and personal safety is maintained and encouraged. It focuses on leading a model lifestyle that values the relationship and harmony between the individual, our community, and the environment as a whole. This includes caring for the needs of your home and workspaces, as well as participating in larger global and environmental sustainability initiatives such as reusable mugs and water bottles, recycling, reducing waste, conserving water, compositing, reducing toxic emissions, and environmental clean-up programs.

Environmental wellness includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sanitary and safe home/work/study space
  • Maintaining sustainable development
  • Functional learning space
  • Community space for social activities and hobbies
  • Recycling/appropriate waste management
  • Access to abundant and clean resources (air and water)
  • Making mindful decisions about pollution and waste
  • Positive, psychologically safe space


Looking to enhance your environmental Wellness? Below are some resources both on and off campus, as well as general information related to environmental Wellness.


Off-Campus Resources

General Resources

Tips on Managing Environmental Wellness

  1. Practice hygiene: regularly practising both personal and environmental hygiene can help prevent the spread of pathogens and maintain mental wellbeing. Some examples of hygiene practices include washing hands regularly, wiping flat surfaces with a cleaning solution, and managing waste properly.
  2. De-clutter your home and workspace: Keeping your home and work environment may seem like a low priority chore, but there is evidence that a well ordered and tidy home is a contributor to less stress, and in doing so the mind has more resources to invest in goal achievement, performance, and self-regulation (Elsevier). The KonMari Method is an effective method of tidying your environment. Rather than following a "discard it" mindset, the KonMari method asks you to choose and keep the things that "spark joy" in your life. This way, you are surrounded by the things that matter to you. This method is also based on sorting through things by category instead of by room or location, making the process of tidying a lot more efficient and with more meaningful results.
  3. Manage waste responsibly: throw trash away accordingly and don't litter (organics in the organics bin, recycling in the recycling bin). As improperly discarded trash accumulates, it can harm water supplies, local fauna and flora, and interfere with city operations such as sewage treatment and recycling plants; there is a reason why you should not throw things into recycling with organic waste in it! The university has also supported a student-led Composting Cow project since 2013, aimed at promoting low-waste practices at UW Campus and composting organic waste produced on-campus.
  4. Practice sustainability: everything that has been done, made, grown, bought, and eaten has an environmental impact, big or small. Practising sustainability does not have to be perfect immediately: some of the easiest ways to practice sustainability is to switch to reusable items, such as reusable grocery bags, bringing your own bottle/mug to coffee/tea shops, or even using your empty glass pasta sauce jars to store food items. Consuming responsibly such as shopping at thrift stores instead of buying brand new clothes, turning off the lights when not in use, and buying local and seasonal produce are also easy, economic, and immediate ways to practice sustainability. For more tips and ways on practising sustainability and responsible consumption, check out this YouMatter Article on responsible consumption.
  5. Spend Time in Nature: There is substantial evidence that spending time in nature (parks, beaches, forests, lakes) can help improve health outcomes through reducing anxiety and stress, improving cognitive function, and reducing depression symptoms (Nature) (Liebertpub). In addition to all these health benefits of spending time with nature, activities associated with spending time in nature, like going on a walk/hike or swimming, are not ecologically damaging and allow you to appreciate what the world has to offer (Silvotherapy).