It’s a new year so here it comes: change. The ball has dropped and we put our best intentions into setting new years resolutions to change something in our lives for the better. Change can be scary and exciting, but ultimately it propels us forward.
In a time where we are inundated with bad news; plastic pollution, dead spots in the ocean, the devastating Australian fires, it’s easy to feel helpless. Friends and relatives have said to me, ‘I can’t do anything that will make a difference’. But that’s far from the truth. Collectively we can make a lasting impact if we all resolve to implement one eco-friendly change to our everyday lives.
We’ve compiled a list of things you can easily incorporate into your daily routine to go green in 2020.
Bring your own. This is the simplest way to keep unnecessary garbage and plastic from finding it’s way to oceans and landfills. Store reusable bags in your trunk, bring a reusable coffee cup to your coffee shop, use a refillable water bottle, or invest in a collapsible, washable straw.
When you own just one of these, you save a single-use plastic every time you use it.
Buy Local Produce
Buying organic produce is great, however, choosing locally grown fruits and veggies is a great option too. Purchasing locally grown produce supports local farmers and you’ll end up eating more seasonally. Cooperative grocery stores are customer owned and go the distance when it comes to supporting local farms. Additionally, if you buy from a farmers market, you’re supporting your community, the local land, and dramatically reducing the resources it usually takes to get that food on your plate.
Try a Plant-Based Diet
We currently mass-produce meat on an impossibly large, unsustainable scale unhealthy for humans, animals, and the earth. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations contribute as many greenhouses gases as every car, plane, train and ship on the planet.
Try eating plant-based meals a couple times a week. Cooking plant-based recipes will help you get creative, try new cuisines, discover new vegetables and find interesting ways to prepare them. It’ll also save you a little bit of money. On the days you do eat meat, make it the secondary, smaller part of the meal and choose a local, humanely raised meat from a local butcher shop.
Make or Buy All-Natural Cleaning Products
Most store-bought household cleaners contain ingredients that are hazardous to human health. Lessen or eliminate your exposure to these chemicals by purchasing cleaner cleaning products.
You can also try making your own cleaning products using some of our go-to, homemade recipes.
Avoid Fast Fashion
Research indicates a garbage truck’s worth of clothing and textiles is landfilled or incinerated every second. This year, we challenge you to (1) buy less, (2) choose items that are fair trade and made with natural fibers like organic cotton and bamboo, and (3) choose pieces you want to keep and wear for a long time.
Consciously think about purchases by asking these questions: Is it from a sustainable brand? Could I buy it second hand? How long will I wear it? Your power as a consumer is great, put your dollars towards a brighter future.
Change requires knowledge. If reading more in 2020 is already on your list of things to do, why not add some environment and climate books to the queue?
When you throw food in the trash it doesn’t just naturally decompose into soil in the landfill. It gets mixed in with non-food items, and under the heap of trash without access to oxygen, it mixes with toxic chemicals and ends up releasing methane gas. Methane Gas is twenty one times more harmful than carbon dioxide. Instead, start a compost pile or enroll in a composting service, to single handedly prevent the leak of more toxic emissions into the atmosphere.
Register to Vote
Read your local voting packet, you’ll get it in the mail before voting day, to understand your local measures. Voting is the greatest opportunity we have to live in the kind of world we want.
Buy from local shops as often as possible. Shopping small enriches the local economy and gets you more in touch with your community. One real appeal is getting a quality product from someone who lives in your community; someone who shares your interest in preserving the local economy and participates on a local level. There are way too many small businesses right next door to you doing things the right way (thegreenway) to buy from corporations who are not.
Pass It On
Start a conversation. Tell your friends and family about the steps you’re taking to live a more sustainable lifestyle. You never know whom you will inspire. When millions of people take a step to live a greener lifestyle, it makes a huge difference.