If there’s one thing we can all agree upon, it’s that 2020 has been a doozy of a year. As the holidays wrap up and we approach 2021, a tentative hope for health and renewal seems to be universally felt. There has been global momentum surrounding climate change over the past few years, with 6 in 10 Americans now reporting that they are either “alarmed" or “concerned” about it. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, including students, teachers, communities of faith, health care professionals are taking to the streets to demand climate action. And more than 500 global companies have committed to set climate goals based on the best available science.
As a result of the lockdowns around the world to control COVID-19, huge decreases in transportation and industrial activity resulted in a drop in daily global carbon emissions of 17 percent in April. This is great news! Other benefits of the lockdown on climate change include less international travel, more biking and walking in cities with public transport, an extension of renewable energy programs, and more simple living by citizens all over the world. There have of course been setbacks as well, since so much has been brought to a halt this year. We’ve seen delays in international negotiations, a lengthening of wildfires, deforestation in the Amazon, rising CO2 levels, more plastic use due to PPE materials.
So let’s get moving and set some resolutions, shall we? Whether you are a diehard resolution setter, with goal lists and vision boards peppering your home, or a simple intention setter who selects a word of phrase to dedicate your year to, we think now is a fantastic time to commit to more eco-friendly practices.
We’ve collected a few ideas for New Year’s resolutions that focus on bettering our planet. Take a look and see what might spark inspiration and be right for you!
- Have a no-buy clothing year. Pledge to only mend what you have, swap with friends, or thrift the clothing you need instead of buying new!
- Build out your zero waste kitchen. It may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! You can start with one or two switches as a time, and request the items that you need during birthdays and holidays. Check out this blog post for a quick guide on what you need.
- Learn to compost from this guide.
- Pack reusable containers for to-go food. Invest in a reusable water bottle (We love Soma), metal or silicone straws (FinalStraw is perfect for on-the-go), bamboo utensils (Check out EarthHero), silicone storage bags (Stasher is life-changing).
- Get clever with your travel, and take less trips in the car. (Walk short distances, bike when possible, and take public transit for longer trips!)
- Join a community garden.
- Plant a tree in your backyard!
- Make a habit of cleaning up trash when you visit local and national parks. (Carrying a reusable tote from Baggu is great for trash collection!)
- Vow to fix things when they break instead of throwing out and buying new.
- Commit to meal planning your week to avoid food waste. Learn more in this blog post.
- Switch to a more environmentally friendly banking option! Learn more here.
- Bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store.
- Eat organic as often as possible.
- Eat less meat
- Use less chemicals on your body this year by checking out your products on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.
- Hang your clothes to dry as often as possible.
- Detox your cleaning products.
- Avoid single use products, like plastic bags or paper towels.
- Every time you visit a restaurant or store with excessive plastic packaging, write them an email or review asking for sustainable alternatives
- Donate to organizations that are doing work to advocate for or conserve the environment. Some great options include the National Resources Defense Council, Ocean Conservancy, Ecotrust, or Union of Concerned Scientists.
- Vow to shop local whenever possible!
- Start carbon offsetting your travel. Find other ways to reduce your carbon footprint in this post.
- Spend some time signing petitions for climate action.
Making little changes here and there for climate change can make a huge difference for the common good, and may be simpler to implement than you think! We are walking gently into 2021, with full awareness that this pandemic isn’t quite over, and people all over the world are facing monumental hardships. We wish for the new year to bring a wave of hope into your lives that sustains through the seasons.
Happy New Year!