2020 has finally ended! While things are still far from normal, there is hope on the horizon. A vaccine. A new president. In honor of this hopeful new year, I would like to offer twelve resolution ideas that will help you live a greener, more sustainable life for our children and our Earth.
You can either use this list as twelve possible choices for a year-long resolution, or, if a year seems like a long time to you (it does to me) or you’re interested in a challenge, why not do one each month? I will present all twelve now, but I will also revisit this list with a monthly challenge post at the beginning of each month, giving lots of details and hints for success.
12 Green Resolutions for 2021
#1: Skip the (red) meat. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and ecological impact generally is to eat less meat. Whether you choose to eat vegetarian until dinner, become a weekday vegetarian, or simply cut out red meat from your diet, there are lots of ways to reduce your meat consumption without going fully vegetarian. Here are six methods – choose one that works for you!
Resolution #2: Use (and care for) what you have. We are a nation of consumers. We shop online, in big box stores, and locally. We buy food, clothes, books, toys, and more random and assorted crap then I can possibly list. Take a step back. Try using what you already have. Eating from your pantry reduces food waste. Getting creative with your wardrobe and your storage saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint. If something breaks, fix it (youtube is super helpful), get a spare part (most companies have them), or make do. It feels really good to resist the shopping urge, trust me. I will post more on how to do this in February.
Resolution #3: Ditch the disposables (but not literally). Disposables were meant to make our lives easier. Use something once and toss it away. But we all know there is no “away”. Everything we toss goes into the landfill, our oceans, and even our drinking water. Also, all these disposables take resources to make and package. Why not buy a zero or less waste alternative and stop the cycle? Almost every disposable has an alternative reusable product to take its place. Some take getting used to, but I think we can all handle a little inconvenience for the sake of our planet! Visit our Green Living section for lots of great ideas. I will post more on how to do this in March.
#4: Weatherize your home (and yourself). Here in New Hampshire we are lucky enough to have four wonderful seasons. Unfortunately, many of our houses are outdated and require a lot of energy to heat and cool. Put some thought and money into weatherizing your house. And, while you’re at it, weatherize yourself. Instead of turning up the heat, try some of these suggestions. Instead of turning on the AC in your house, try some of these. I will post more on how to do this in April.
#5: Plant some greens (and some oranges). Growing your own greens is an easy and fun way to reduce your plastic and food waste.Picture yourself gathering a basketful of fresh lettuce, kale, and mesclun from your backyard instead of cracking open a big plastic bin of lettuce grown (and shipped from) out of state. I will post more on how to do this in May. I will also make a pitch for planting butternut squash, pumpkins, and a few other veggies while I’m at it. 🙂
#6: Be kind to your wild neighbors. Perfectly trimmed grass lawns are so outdated. This year, upgrade your yard to make a home for birds, butterflies, bees, and, yes, even squirrels and the occasional bear. Plant native species, provide food, water, and shelter, and skip all the nasty chemicals and gas-guzzling mowers. I will post more on how to do this in June.
#7: Eat (and shop) local. New Hampshire is a wonderful place to live if you want to eat local. Sure, we may not be able to pick an orange off a tree in December, but we have many active farmers markets, lots of fun fruits and vegetables, and plenty of honey and maple syrup. Eating locally is one of the most satisfying challenges in New Hampshire. You will be guaranteed to meet lots of fun people and try lots of good food. I will post more on how to do this in July.
#8: Reduce your waste. Learning how to reduce your waste – and how to properly dispose of the waste you create – is one of the most important changes you can undertake. Living simpler, choosing zero waste or low waste options, avoiding packaging… these are all methods of reducing your waste. Composting food waste, exploring your recycling options, and reusing items are all ways to properly dispose of waste you do create. For too long we have ignored this problem – make 2021 the year you face up to your waste! I will post more on how to do this in August.
#9: Share your lifestyle with others. For a long time I thought simply living green within my own life was enough. But of course that isn’t the case. We all need to do this together to make a difference. If you have made green changes, even small ones, share them with your friends, family, and followers. Every little bit helps. I will post more on how to do this in September.
#10: Destination New England. Feeling claustrophobic here in New Hampshire? Itching to jet off to Florida or the Greek Isles? Flying is one of the worst choices you can make for the Earth. Why not do some research into fun, new destinations here in New England? Use the money you save on flights to upgrade your hotel or campsite or lengthen your trip. New England is an internationally sought-after destination – enjoy it! I will post more on how to do this in October.
#11: Get political! Don’t sit back and let other people decide the fate of our planet – Take action in 2021! Write to your politicians. March. Hold signs. Write to the editor. Post on your social media. Give money. Volunteer your time. Run for office. Do anything you can to get the word out – we care about this planet and our children’s future. I will post more on how to do this in November.
#12: Live simply (so our grandchildren can simply live). This one is a bit harder to put into words. Choosing to “live simply” encompasses all of the other resolutions and could be a way to tackle all twelve. Living simply means consuming less, traveling less, buying less, wasting less… all while focusing on what matters most. Instead of thinking of “living simply” as giving up things, think of it as refocusing on the people and principles that matter most. I will post more on how to do this in December.
What are your eco-resolutions for 2021?