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Environmental Degradation and Mental Health

As a civil engineer student, I am concern about the effect of major built construction on the environment. With the construction sector experiencing significant growth, it can contribute to a negative impact on the environment. The majority of construction projects are not responsible for the large quantities of CO2 emissions, in fact, the construction sector contributes to air pollution, water pollution, landfill wastes, and climate change.

I have some friends studying psychology and it’s interesting to see that as human beings, we should not look just into our physical health but also our mental health. Thus, I’m curious about psychology studies because it explains the connection between the mind and behavior. And sometimes I was wondering, is there any chance that these 2 totally different studies – engineering and psychology – study can be correlated?

The answer is yes, learning should not have a limit. As I research further, the environment can negatively impact our mental health. For instance, high rates of pollution affect our mental health because it can be overwhelming, which increases cortisol levels and stress. According to some research, the rates of depression are increased in more polluted areas.

In 2003, the Australian philosopher, Glenn Albrecht found the term solastalgia to describe the anguish caused by environmental alterations due to droughts and destructive mining. Moreover, Dr. Courtney Howard, board president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment once said “The intersection between the climate emergency, mental and physical health will become one of the world’s major issues.”

When a change in the environment is not possible, we can make a change by starting with the things we have control over. For instance, we can make sure that our home is always clean because we spend most of our time in our homes during this pandemic. Even in the workplace, we can set up our workspace so we have a more natural surroundings. The workers with natural views will have less psychological stress compared to workers without natural views. Therefore, we need to build a positive environment to boost up our mood.

So, try to reflect, have you ever feel stressed for no reason? Maybe it’s the effect on the environmental issues :)

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