The person tasked with engaging and educating students and staff on sustainability at my university has posted some very useful and, importantly, manageable Tips for Living Green in 2022. I’m sharing this post in its entirety, with a few minor alterations. Please consider choosing some or all of these tips to guide you through the New Year.
As we reflect on last year and think about what we want next year to be like (hopefully with COVID abating), why not look at making it a Green Year. If you’re a New Year’s resolution maker, you can add a few of these suggestions to your list!
Here are 10 green ideas for your New Year’s resolutions for 2022…
1. Spend more time in Nature
Spending time in nature can help you create a more sustainable attitude and has been shown to have huge benefits for your mental health. It has been well documented that spending time in nature has an positive impact on mental health while also helping to reduce stress.
2. Try a plant-based diet
Eating less meat is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint as an individual. It’s good for the environment and for your health. Not sure if 100% plant-based or vegan is for you? Try it part time.
3. Drive less
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to drive less. The transportation sector is the largest emission source in Atlantic Canada. You can practice taking alternative forms of transportation such as:
- Using the public transport
- E-bikes and e-scooters
And if you do drive – Don’t Idle!
4. Buy Second Hand
Shopping second hand will have huge benefits to your waste production and your wallet! By purchasing perfectly good used items and mastering the art of thrifting, you’ll be amazed at what you can find. Even if you limit this to clothing, it’ll help reduce fast fashion, which is known to have a high environmental impact. The UN estimates that the fashion industry accounts for ~10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Challenge yourself – don’t buy any new clothes for a month or maybe even a year.
What else you can buy second-hand?
5. Save Energy
There are simple things that you can do that will help you save energy, saving you money and working as a great New Year’s Resolution. Start small and be consistent, adding more things with time. Simply turning off lights when you leave a room, having shorter showers and making the switch to LED light bulbs are some good starting points.
6. Reduce Food Waste
If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, and this doesn’t include emissions related to transporting this waste or the plastic bag you threw it out in. There are some great tips you can easily implement to help reduce your food waste:
- Think twice before throwing food away
- Freeze extras/leftovers
- Avoid buying too much
- Make a shopping list and stick to only buying what you need
- Store food appropriately
And if you have to throw food away, try to compost your waste.
7. Shop Locally and Ethically
In our consumer society, it is important to realize that your money is your voice. Use this new year to start thinking about what you want this voice to say. Shopping locally will help cut down on carbon emissions from transporting products while supporting your local economy. Take this a step further; research into the business practices of brands and shops you use. If you don’t like what they support, shop elsewhere!
Most of us have too much stuff, stuff that we don’t need and someone else could make use. This resolution could also earn you some extra cash by hosting a yard sale. Keep this going by reflecting on what you buy before you buy it. Do you REALLY need it? Don’t buy products that you don’t need or that you know deep down you won’t use.
9. Learn More
Making an effort to become better educated is a great way to make informed choices moving forwards. We all know a little bit about sustainability and the climate crisis, but take it further and learn what you can do that actually matters. There are thousands of online courses; reflect on what is lacking in your knowledge and find the course that matches what you need!
10. Spread the Word
Already know all this? 2022 is the year that you can increase your sphere of influence and take it to the next level. Promote what you’ve learned, within your community and beyond. Make it a commitment to take advantage of everyday opportunities to engage with people about sustainability. Start a movement and make change happen!
Image sources: Pinterest, profugo.org