The Way to Happiness booklet seeks to improve one’s happiness and quality of life through the application of twenty-one basic, common-sense precepts.  These precepts, however, are not limited to directing one’s actions toward oneself alone, but actually outward toward one’s entire environment and people around them.  If you simply take a moment to consider a time that you were truly and completely happy, you’ll find that it’s unlikely to have been a time when you were in a dark, trashy, loud or otherwise unpleasant space.  It therefore follows that taking care of one’s environment is an important precept for The Way to Happiness.

Precept 12 of The Way to Happiness is entitled “Safeguard and Improve Your Environment,” and it specifically warns that cutting down too many forests, destroying too many waterways and messing up the atmosphere can destroy our planet by heating the surface temperature so much that every living thing simply dies.  It also says that taking care of our environment and planet begins with taking care of our own front yard and directly-contacted environments, such as your school or work, parks and vacation spots.  But how can one go about taking care of their environment?  Quite simply, actually.

Improving Your Quality of Life

A beautiful environment can be very calming and relaxing.  Consider how a stressful day at work can be greatly overcome with a simple walk through a beautiful area, and you can appreciate the benefit of having a beautiful, healthy and natural environment around you.  But the fact is that these types of environments don’t just happen–they have to be created continually.  One of the simplest ways an individual can create and maintain such an environment is to keep it clean–free of litter and other man-made products that are not part of the natural environment.  Many individuals make it a habit to walk by trash they see on the street, especially if there’s quite a bit of it, but the fact is that one individual making a point of stopping to clean up the trash will draw positive attention from others who will do the same.  Keeping the area clean can greatly affect the feeling of a healthy, natural environment, and can make it far more enjoyable.

Another way to improve one’s quality of life through the environment is to plant trees.  This is not only beneficial for one’s pleasure, but indeed it is beneficial for one’s overall physical health and well-being. Even one tree can make a huge difference as they are not only nature’s air conditioning units, they are also able to put valuable water into the air.  The USDA Forest Service has reported that trees placed properly around building and homes can reduce air conditioning needs by as much as thirty percent and heat energy needs by anywhere from twenty to fifty percent.  One young, healthy tree can provide as much of a cooling effect as ten room-size air conditioners operating for twenty hours a day.  In a single day, one large tree can lift as much as one hundred gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air, keeping important moisture in the atmosphere.  Furthermore, for every five percent of tree cover that is added to an area, storm water runoff is reduced by roughly two percent.

With a healthier, natural environment, the individual can enjoy a better quality of physical health and well-being, as well as an improved mental and emotional state.  It can be achieved, and the fact is that even a single individual can make a huge difference.