The new year is a great time to reflect on how you can help yourself, others and the world around us. As time goes on, we are becoming more and more aware of the effect we are having on the planet and what we can do to reduce our impact. If you would like to make some meaningful New Year’s resolutions, here are some ideas:
Spend more time in nature
Taking the time to step away from our everyday activities and responsibilities can be hugely beneficial for us and for the earth. Finding a place where we can immerse ourselves in nature enables us to create an important connection with it, as well as calm our minds. Wherever you live, nature can be found. If you live in a city, you can go to the park and watch the wildlife, or if you live near some woods, some forest bathing can work wonders.
Go plant based
Even changing our diets moderately can make a difference. Animal agriculture is one of the main contributors to climate change as it creates greenhouse gases and uses lots of resources. Choosing to have a few meat-free lunches or dinners per week is a great start. There are so many tasty options available now, and you can find some inspiring recipes online through blogs and well-known chefs. Never has it been easier to cut down on our meat consumption.
Reduce food waste
When we throw away food, we often don’t consider the energy and resources that went into making it. Rather than putting leftover food in the bin at dinner time, it can be saved in a tub. You could have it for lunch the next day or freeze it and have it for dinner again another time. Composting is another good solution for food scraps as they can go back into the earth. Some councils provide food compost bins, or if you have a garden, you can create your own.
Waste less water
Water is more of a valuable resource than we realise, and we tend to take it for granted by wasting a lot of it each day. A lot of energy goes into processing, cleaning and distributing water. We can reduce the amount we use by doing simple things like turning off the tap when we brush our teeth, having a short shower rather than a bath and selecting the eco option on our washing machines if they have one.
Use your own water bottle
Having our own supply of water when we are out and about significantly cuts down the production of single-use plastic. As many of us have learnt, plastic is harmful to the environment and can end up in our rivers and seas and on our beaches. This can cause damage to wildlife and vulnerable communities throughout the world. If you haven’t got your own water bottle, get one now!
Use your own shopping bags
Again, plastic damages the environment so the more we reuse the bags we have, the less harm we will be causing. Plastic bags are still widely used in many countries, and we really need to remember to take reusable ones with us whenever we go out shopping. Most shops provide sturdy reusable bags now which are made of different materials such as thick paper or jute. These can be used time and time again.
This is very easy to do if you live in a town or city due to the availability of public transport. In fact, some city dwellers are starting to give up their cars altogether. Living in a rural area means that having our own transport is more needed; however, there are still ways in which we can cut down our driving time. Some areas will have a regular bus service, there may be the opportunity to car share, and we can simply ask ourselves whether all our journeys are necessary.
Mend your clothes
Due to the rise of “fast fashion” it can be easy to buy clothes cheaply and throw away items if they have become worn. But why not try and mend them instead? If our clothes develop holes, we can either sew them up or cover them with patches. If our jumpers start looking scruffy and bobbly, we can find ways to remove the lint and they will look good again. There are some great tips online for renewing clothes.
Make your own products
There are many items in our kitchens or gardens from which we can make a nourishing conditioner or an effective exfoliator. For example, coconut oil, honey and banana can make a glowing face mask. Or by boiling rosemary in water, you can create a hair rinse which enables your hair to grow more healthily. By doing this, you will be eradicating harmful chemicals from the environment as well as your body!
This really is a no-brainer. The planet simply cannot sustain our current level of consumption. In a previous article in our journal, it was stated that we currently need 1.6 Earths to provide us with what we need, and it is increasing. Before we buy anything, we must get into the habit of asking ourselves whether we really need it. When we are buying gifts for other people, we can also ask them what they need so that nothing is bought without proper consideration.
Once you decide which resolutions you would like to make this year, you can then work on sticking to them. Good luck in making a vital contribution to our current crisis.