2022 – Make it a Green Year!

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!

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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
  • Biking
  • Carpooling
  • Walking
  • 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!

8. Downsize
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!

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Image sources: Pinterest, profugo.org

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29 Responses to 2022 – Make it a Green Year!

  1. Jean says:

    Well, has the local cycling mode share increased over the past decade in your area, Jane? It has changed in Calgary in past 11 yrs. When I first relocated here..we hardly saw any children cycling even with their parents. Now there’s more. But for about 6 yrs., I would go cycling for 45 km. in our interconnected parks pathway system and only see 15 cyclists in total during that whole time. Last summer-fall, that might have doubled or tripled as a comparison. I hope people use these free municipal facilities…for health and for commuting.

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Great post which should be widely shared. I think more people are learning to live more greenly but there sure is a way to go. Though I’m a bit smug here I also have a way to go.

    Nature, check. Running in the lanes, along trails, on the cliff paths keeps me healthy and sane.
    Plant-based diet, check. This is easy, you don’t have to actually DO anything, just DON’T eat rotting corpses or their secretions..
    Drive less, check. The car hasn’t moved in days.
    Buy second-hand. I do mooch in charity shops but could do better here.
    Save energy, check. I rarely put the heating on, extra clothes will do.
    Reduce food waste, check. Living alone this is simples.
    Shop locally, check though I do my Amazon as well when necessary. Our island doesn’t stock everything.
    Downsize, check. I live in a (nice) box. I could do with another visit to the recycling though.
    Learn more, could do better.
    Spread the word. Selectively. There’s too much noise from people as it is.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Roy. Wow, you can go to the head of the class. We’re moving off meat, but giving up milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream is a whole other challenge. Not so likely to meet with success if we were to try going vegan. I like your final point about spreading the word selectively!

  3. I’m happy to see that I’m doing 8 out of 10. Downsizing is something I’ll be working on over the next couple of years. I don’t buy secondhand, but it’s a good tip. I’ve never been much of a shopper, so buying new clothes doesn’t happen often.

  4. iidorun says:

    Being more green is my younger daughter’s resolution so that means it’s our family resolution as well this year! Great suggestions – that’s for sharing the link! Reducing food waste and shopping locally are our main goals this year.

  5. LA says:

    Reduce food waste.

  6. Gillian says:

    Thank you for sharing! And Happy New Year! A lot of these really spoke to me as we are incorporating some of them and continuing with others.

  7. Inkplume says:

    Excellent suggestions and the best part is that most of them are not that hard to do. Thanks!

  8. BernieLynne says:

    Most of these are items we do except for meat but we eat locally grown farmgate meat so at least it has little in the way of transport costs and doesn’t benefit the middle man. We also grow most of our own vegetables and freeze/preserve them so we keep our food as local as we can for the most part. We are still shopping for a hybrid vehicle (when it warms up again) so that will make the biggest difference for us. As to clothes — haha. We could easily go 6 months without shopping for them and when we do I go second hand most of the time (except for undergarments!) Thanks for the tips. Bernie

  9. Some good ideas here which I mostly practice except for the vegetarian one, I have a difficult time with that one!

  10. 2022 for think green, live green and be green. Thank you 😊😊

  11. Excellent, excellent suggestions! We do our best to incorporate as many of these things as we can. Not always easy, but we do make the effort. Our goal this year is to go from being vegetarian to being mostly vegan—vegan at home, but dairy and eggs when we go to other people’s homes.

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