We’re already well into the New Year and during these first few weeks many of us turn to the tradition of setting resolutions, seeking to improve our lives and habits. Among the myriad of resolutions, it seems the majority of us focus our aspirations on mental health, finance, fitness, diet and – increasingly – sustainability.
The growing trend towards climate-friendly living has brought some familiar efforts back into the spotlight this past January. With the mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” firmly planted in our minds, many are looking for more creative and personally responsible ways to dramatically decrease our impact on the planet.
Here’s a few notes on how sustainability can play into your daily life and scratch that “New Year’s Resolution” itch:
1. Buy Locally Sourced Foods: Buying local not only supports local economies but also reduces the environmental impact of transportation. Minimizing our carbon footprint by shopping at locally owned grocers, farmers’ markets and choosing in-season produce can have a powerful effect on our carbon impact, and it can also brighten our lives. Local shopping introduces new ingredients, products and recipes into our lifestyle which creates a sense of adventure and sparks points of conversation and connection. Food should be fun!
2. Grow Your Own Garden: Gardening can be a very special and rewarding experience. Growing a few vegetables, fruits or herbs at home can help you and your family reconnect with food making. Watch as this new-found hobby means you can share with neighbors or friends in the trials and tribulations of transforming soils and seeds into nutritious food (there’s comfort in collective failure). Non-chemical fertilizers, such as legumes and compost from kitchen scraps—and regenerative products that heal our soil—can make a backyard, community garden or planter a nutrient rich environment. Making beautiful food, even in small amounts, is a beautiful thing.
3. Support Ethical Animal Practices or Animal-free Products: Learning more about the environmental and ethical implications of meat, when it’s produced irresponsibly or over-consumed, feels like next-level environmentalism to some but it’s more approachable than most realize. If you’re a meat eater, choosing products from truly free-range and organic farms is a great resolution, especially with the options available to us these days. If plant-based is more your jam, don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut: try something new and different to really spark your culinary curiosity – it might be time to check out what our Ethical Food Group brands have to offer!
4. Make Home More Planet Friendly: When looking to ramp up our climate action beyond the kitchen there’s so many great ways to make big changes that can also save us money. Upgrading to more energy efficient appliances, better windows, low-flow toilets and taps, power-saving heaters and of course there’s solar panels. Using environmentally safe cleaning products are also a great way to make our wastewater safer. These investments into our domestic life can have a huge impact on our energy consumption and waste.
5. Travel More Mindfully: Let’s not forget one of the big pieces of the puzzle (that we actually have control over). Our vehicles require a lot of energy plus natural and synthetic materials to make and operate. Challenging ourselves to adopt a more mindful travel approach means we can aim to reduce fuel consumption by combining trips, ride share, take transit as much as possible or upgrade to an electric car. Of course, we can also try cycling more, just be careful as the peer pressure to wear spandex pants is a legitimate threat to one’s sense of pride.
6. Shop More Carefully: When we’re away from home it’s easy to let convenience win but there are so many creative ways we can practice the art of sustainably when we’re shopping and dining out, too. Bringing our reusable mug to the café; choosing food or beverage options that use biodegradable packaging instead of single serve plastic; thinking twice before buying something like clothing and choosing to spend a bit more to for the more durable goods – these are all principle-based actions that have a lasting impact.
7. Be Digitally Responsible: Utilizing power-saving modes on devices when you can and turning off computers, monitors, printers and other electronics when they're not in use is a great first step to this little thought of power drain on the planet. Keeping numerous browser tabs open or storing unnecessary files in the cloud can suck up a lot of energy. Upgrading our devices wisely, using them for longer periods and then recycling them properly when they’re expired is awesome. And finally, if you listen to a song or watch a video frequently, downloading it once saves energy compared to streaming it repeatedly.
The sustainable revelation starts with us, with the little things, because they all add up. Don’t just jump on and off the trend wagon here. Let’s use this season (and the resolutions we’re probably already slipping on) to foster a deeper understanding and commitment to sustainable living, one that includes our shared values and plays a role in our daily lives.
A more ethical, conscious 2024 sounds like a great goal, and the more of us that make the effort, the more likely our resolutions will start to look like a revolution, one simple act at a time.