It’s a brand new year, meaning it’s time for us to set up some brand new goals for the next 12 months. Spending more time with family, eating healthier, reading more – these are some of the top resolutions everyone has yearly.
This also represents an opportunity for those devoted to the environment to set sustainable New Year’s resolutions for saving the Earth. However, this can be a somewhat overwhelming task, with the possibility of falling prey to greenwashing ever-looming.
Don’t fret, just like purchasing eco-friendly gifts, there are a number of ways for you to play a significant role in the green initiative. With this guide’s practical tips, even an ambitious exclamation like “my New Year's resolution is to stop all the pollution” could come to fruition.
Top Green Resolutions for the New Year
A green resolution is a goal you can set to help preserve the environment for present and future generations. The best part about this is that you can have an enormous impact whether your New Year’s resolutions are large or small.
Change How You Commute
According to research, nearly 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to transportation. Therefore, swapping the car for public transit, walking, cycling, or carpooling at least once a week can significantly reduce your personal carbon emissions.
You can avoid a commute entirely if you’re one of the lucky few that can work from home, even if it’s just once a week. Alternatively, you can partake in one of the sustainability trends of the future by trading in your car for an electric vehicle.
Choose to Purchase Sustainable Fashion
Despite its ability to style you for cheap, fast fashion has many horrific pitfalls. Among them are unethical labor practices, the gasses released when transporting the clothing, clothes going to waste, and more.
A great alternative to fast fashion is going the sustainable fashion route by purchasing items made using organic materials. You can also choose to take a break from buying clothes you probably don’t need. Further, don’t let your old clothes go to waste when someone else may benefit from your donation.
Continue to Reuse and Recycle
While you may already be reusing and recycling, it won’t hurt to include it as an environmental resolution for the year. You may find that there’s more you can do to manage waste while also extending the lifespan of certain items.
For example, you can reuse shopping bags and water bottles to slow down plastic waste and not contribute to the 91% (!!) of plastic that isn’t recycled. You can also swap out paper towels for reusable napkins to reduce the amount of paper going to the landfill. Additionally, purchasing products with less packaging is an excellent waste resolution.
Buy Less Food
Food waste makes up a sizable portion of the waste thrown into landfills on a daily basis. Think about it, do you always finish your meals at a restaurant? Does everyone consume all the food they buy before it goes bad?
Therefore, make a conscious decision to order portions you’re positive you’ll finish when eating out. Also, don’t purchase too many groceries in bulk. We’re all capable of feeling too lazy to cook sometimes, with food ultimately going to waste.
While on the topic of food, you can choose to eat locally produced foods for a variety of reasons. Firstly, you help reduce the air miles and gas emissions released from transporting produce globally. Secondly, you get a number of health benefits from consuming fresh, seasonal foods from local producers.
Alternatively, you can choose to adopt one of the prominent living green ideas by growing your own food if you have space.
Donate to Organizations Devoted to Environmental Change
Just as you’re playing a role in saving the world for future generations, there are also a number of people doing the same. Some of them belong to organizations that are tackling climate change and similar environmental issues.
Donating to these organizations is one of the positive New Year’s resolutions that just about anyone can adopt as all amounts help. Great places to donate to include the Ocean Conservancy, Ecotrust, the Nature Conservancy, and other similar organizations. Alternatively, you can donate to a local organization – after all, charity starts at home.
Frequently Volunteer in Eco-Friendly Activities
If donating to the above organizations isn’t a possibility for you, you can still help the environment for free! In your 2022 New Year's resolutions, make an effort to partake in environmentally friendly activities.
Participate in a regular beach clean-up to save the ocean and marine life, join a tree-planting group, or clean up litter regularly. A few hours of your time a week or a month can play a significant role in preserving the planet.
Conserve Water and Electricity
This may sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s always important to reiterate this. Conserving the use of water and nonrenewable resources like electricity are climate change resolutions everyone should adopt.
To save electricity, turn off the lights in empty rooms and layer up instead of reaching for the thermostat. Try to take shorter showers, quench your garden’s thirst with rainwater, and turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. For instance, the EPA estimates that turning off the tap when brushing your teeth can save around 8 gallons of water daily. Just imagine how much water can be saved if a large group of people adopts the practice.
Final Thoughts on Environmental Resolutions
As the new year has sprung upon us, we should continue to add to our previous year’s environmentally friendly actions. Living sustainably isn’t tricky at all, as just about anybody can make a resolution to preserve the planet for future generations.
Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t picking up the habits quickly, as adopting most of the above will come incrementally. As the year goes by, you’ll certainly be reducing your carbon footprint remarkably by embracing the sustainable New Year’s resolutions above.