By Jane Marsh
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
The new year is well underway — but there’s still time to make resolutions. You could follow the crowd and resolve to shed 10 pounds or cut down on your wine consumption. Both are noble goals! But how about an objective that also benefits the planet?
Best of all, you can work on your aspirations in tandem — biking to the farmers market will help you drop unwanted pounds while reducing your carbon footprint.
Here are nine of the best sustainable resolutions for 2021. What will you do to show Mother Earth some love?
1. Celebrate Meatless Monday
Roughly 80% of rainforest deforestation stems from clearing land for cattle farming — which causes substantial global problems. Although locations like the Amazon don’t cover much of the earth’s surface, our entire planet needs the oxygen they produce to counter the effects of excess methane and carbon dioxide.
Furthermore, cows use millions of gallons of water each year that could otherwise supply humans. You don’t have to go full vegan, but please reduce the amount of meat you consume.
2. Replace Your Thermostat
You don’t like coming home to a freezing house, but running the heater all day while you’re away wastes valuable fuel. Worse, it drains your wallet of needed cash. If you haven’t done so already, please make 2021 the year you upgrade to a programmable thermostat.
Many models let you change the temperature with your cellphone — so say goodbye to making a mad dash from bed to turn it up on chilly mornings. This feature also comes in handy when you work late but have it set to go up or down at 5 p.m.
Best of all, a programmable thermostat can save you anywhere from 10% to 30% on your home energy bills. Depending on where you live and your preferred temperatures, your new thermostat could pay for itself within a month or two.
3. Take Reusable Bags to the Grocery Store
Hasn’t 2020 been a fun year? Along with adding sanitizer and masks to every shopping list, you got to play grocery bag roulette with every new merchant you visited. Some let you bring them in and even put them on the conveyor belt, while others entirely prohibited their use.
However, with vaccines on the way soon, you can once more go green when you shop. Plus, you can fit much more in a canvas bag than a plastic or paper one, and you don’t have to worry about breakage. Don’t worry — once you force yourself to return to your car one or two annoying times, you’ll learn to remember to carry them with you on grocery runs.
4. Keep a Recycling Bag in Your Car
How many gas stations in your area have recycling bins next to the garbage cans at the pumps? Most don’t have a place where you can deposit plastic bottles other than the standard trash.
Maybe you start your road trip with the noblest intentions, but once the clutter starts to get to you, you reluctantly toss your collection of empty Mountain Dew bottles in with the rest of the landfill fodder.
Instead, keep a bag in your car dedicated to bottles and cans — you can find organizers that slide over the back of your seat.
5. Buy From Your Farmers Market
Unfortunately, the way most people get food these days impacts our carbon footprints. It goes beyond your drive to the grocery store — the products lining the shelves might have originated on the other side of the country. That’s a lot of fuel and emissions from transport alone.
Make friends at your local farmers market instead. You know your produce is fresh and organic and came from nearby. Plus, if you go at the end of the day, vendors will often sell you tomatoes and other items on the cheap rather than carry them home again.
6. Invest in an Electric Bike
You can save a ton of emissions by biking instead of driving, but if you live in a hilly region, your quadriceps might protest the notion of using pedal-power for everything. Why not invest in an electric model?
Today’s models feature speeds up to 20 miles per hour — plenty to get you around town. Plus, many models feature extended cargo storage at the rear, letting you carry your treasures home with ease.
7. Take Your Kids to the Park
According to a study from British Columbia, children who play outdoors are more likely to become environmental stewards as adults. If you want your kids to adopt planet-friendly behaviors, take them to the park.
Young bodies need exercise to develop physically and emotionally. Your little ones will appreciate the extra playtime, and you’ll enjoy bedtime more when they’re tuckered out enough to sleep without a fuss.
8. Plant a Tree
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a mature tree will absorb 48 pounds of carbon throughout its lifetime. They also give humans life-sustaining oxygen.
If you live in an apartment, please don’t think this suggestion is off-limits. Some smaller trees grow well in containers, and several charities allow you to donate enough to plant one anywhere in the world from the comfort of your couch.
Make One of These Best Sustainable Resolutions for 2021
Why not make this year the most eco-friendly one yet? Try out some of these best sustainable resolutions for 2021 and do your part to create a cleaner, greener world.
About the author:
Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.