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Resolutions for a Green New Year

POSTED UNDER Healthy Living

We posted this article at the start of 2015 to inspire you to make your resolutions sustainable. As the year winds down and we enter 2016, these tips stand true today just as much as they did a year ago. How did your resolutions go this year? Are they rolling over into the New Year? Use these tips as a starting point. 

At the start of every new year, most of us set out to make resolutions, particularly in areas of our lives that could use improvement. From exercising more to generally trying to have a better outlook, reasons for resolutions and the degree of their importance vary from person to person. Since the season of self-improvement and change is in full swing, why not have resolutions not only for self-improvement, but resolutions for the environment as well?

Eating healthier and increasing exercise is a staple resolution for many people, particularly after the stress and diet (or lack thereof) of holiday festivities. There are several ways being healthier and being more sustainable overlap. Some are even shocking.

Carbon emissions are reduced by losing weight. The weight Americans have put on in the past 50 years has negated the advances made in fuel-efficient technology. Also, an estimated 1 billion extra metric tons of carbon emissions are used worldwide for food demands and transportation due to obese people. You can help the environment simply by losing weight.

Some simple and green weight loss tips:

  • Cooking at home and portion control also reduce waste and costs from restaurants.
  • One greener way to exercise is to get out of the gym. This is easier said than done for people in colder climates, but make the world your playground when possible.
  • Head to the local farmers’ market whenever you can. Buying organic and local cuts out pesticide pollution as well as food transportation. And an added bonus: you get to support your local farming economy – and you know where your food is coming from.
  • Become a weekend vegetarian! Eating less meat reduces all kinds of food waste, emissions and costs. Choosing a couple days each week to cut out meat will also improve your diet.

We are all guilty of using more than we need. Sometimes it’s better to use less.

  • Conserving Water – Water is a decreasing renewable resource. Sometimes a long, hot shower can be the remedy to a terrible day. But it’s estimated Americans use double the amount of water than our European counterparts. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth and reduce your shower time when possible. 
  • Bottled Water – Speaking of water, did you know if you filled up a quarter of a water bottle with oil you’d have the amount needed to produce the bottle? This waste is simply eliminated with a reusable water bottle and tap water. If you don’t trust your tap water, invest in a filter. Also, reusable coffee mugs reduce post-consumer waste from paper cups.
  • Drive Less – Transportation is the second highest source of carbon emissions. There’s no need to sell your car (yet), but being conscious of where you’re going and how you’re getting there can minimize emissions. Most cities have adequate public transportation, and substituting a bike ride for a short trip isn’t too crazy of a concept. At the very least, just think sustainably the next time you “have to drive” a short distance.
  • Finally, if you haven’t started already, there’s no better time than the present – and the new year – to start recycling

It’s definitely possible to meet new year’s resolutions and go green at the same time. Most of the time the solution is simple. In order reduce weight and waste, using less is the answer.

Have any sustainable resolutions of your own? Share them with us!