Make your New Year’s Resolution bigger than yourself: Put yourself on a carbon diet
The most common New Year’s resolutions are personal. Think: Eat better, exercise more, save money, work on your relationships, or increase your performance at work. But there’s no reason your resolution’s impact has to be limited to your body and lifestyle—many of these most familiar New Year’s Resolutions can have positive impacts on the climate as well!
The Food Resolution
It’s well-known that how and what we eat is of vital importance to the health of our bodies as well as our environment. Everyone knows they should probably be eating better, but — let’s not kid ourselves — it’s hard. It’s also worth noting that not everyone can afford to eat all organic and local vegetables, because of constraints on their time, wallets, or nutritional needs. But you don’t have to go full vegan to make a difference.
Commit to lowering the amount of meat that you consume.
You can still treat yourself every now and then, but try to commit to 1 or 2 plant-based meals a day, participate in Meatless Mondays (and maybe even Tuesdays), or if you’re feeling really committed try going vegan. According toa recent paper in Nature, if every American reduced their meat consumption by just a quarter, we’d see a reduction in our country’s emissions of about 1%.
1% emissions reduction may not sound like a lot, but remember: every little pocket of emissions reduction counts in the fight against climate change. We need to accumulate lots and lots of small-scale solutions to significantly reduce our climate impact.
If every American committed to going full vegetarian (or vegan), we’d see reductions of 5% or more. We’re not expecting to see this happen this decade, but it’s something to strive for.
P.S. What you do with your food waste matters, too! Find a local composter to pick up your food scraps. Not only will you avoid costly methane emissions, but you’ll be recycling those nutrients back into the food system!
The Exercise Resolution
What’s the only drug that research shows can make you happier, keep you fit, help you live longer, and make you less likely to get sick? Cardio. Great news! It also has the potential to cut down on your carbon emissions? Skip the gym, and hop on a bike or go on a run! The physical and mental health benefits are well-documented. Do you live close enough to your work to get there by a means other than your car?
Going to the gym also isn’t the only way to exercise! There are plenty of options for working out inside your own home! For example, YouTube is teeming with options for at-home bodyweight workouts, yoga routines, and ways to maximize the workout equipment you may already have! Save yourself a trip and get your sweat on without having to brave the cold!
Resolve to Make a Difference
One of our resolutions this decade is to be more intentional about using our voice and platform to advocate for meaningful policy changes and movements that will result in a more just and livable world.
You can have an impact, too! The climate movement requires all of us to participate and demonstrate our values at home, at work, and at the ballot box.
There are lots of climate friendly ways to save money! Turns out rampant consumerism and fast fashion is really expensive! One quick and easy way to save is to just buy less stuff you don’t need, and be intentional about buying the things you do need. For example, follow this woman’s lead and only choose to buy clothes you’re sure you’ll wear at least 30 times.
One thing we all need is energy. It might not seem like there’s much choice when it comes to turning on the lights, yet there really is! And when you compare conventional energy sources to renewables, you might actually be surprised how good the numbers look.
Ever noticed how every year or so, your electric or gas utility raises their rates? When you go solar, you won’t be paying those ever-increasing bills. Instead, you’ll just be paying a fixed rate for solar that covers your bills and will never go up, even as utility rates do.
What are your 2020 goals?
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