Although it’s been trying for all of us, the pandemic has shed some much-needed light on how we can be less wasteful and more thoughtful this year. We want to bring some kindness and sustainability into our present and future. If you’d like to take some simple, eco-conscious steps alongside us, read our ideas for showing our planet we care moving forward—one small change at a time.
1) Eat less meat. The health and environmental benefits of eating a plant-based diet keep piling up year after year. Given that the UN estimates the meat industry contributes 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, we can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year than adopting a vegetarian diet at least one or two days a week. Pick up a new, exciting cookbook that speaks to you and start cooking your way through it. Bonus: you’ll be thrilled with how affordable it is.
2) Drive less. Running errands for the sake of leaving the house has become a small respite for many of us over the past two years. But rationing gas should continue to be a priority. Consider choosing one day a week to run errands, and get them all done in one trip, if possible. Better yet: commit to biking whenever possible! Especially if it’s under a mile, either walk or bike. Get those endorphins up and bring that carbon footprint down.
3) Look into Zero Waste. Okay, so this might be a lofty goal. Some people have fit their entire year’s waste into a single mason jar. But we can all start with one small yet impactful action. Maybe commit to a year without using paper cups by keeping a small set of reusable takeaway in your car. Next time you swing by your local coffee shop (on your designated errand day), you’ll have your reusable cup and straw ready.
4) Repair. Consider this the fourth “R” after Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Honor the true lifespan of your household items and embrace repairing them whenever possible. Instead of buying new shoes, consider getting them resoled. Stained your brand new white shirt? Grab some natural dyes (turmeric and beet juice are gorgeous together) and give it a tie-dye makeover. Learn the basics of sewing up holes and reattaching buttons.
5) Take short, cold showers. Wim Hof made cold showers iconic. They boost your immune system and are a great opportunity for meditation and building mental stamina. But they also save precious water and energy. That’s an ultimate win-win.
6) Avoid synthetics. 60% of fibers produced globally are synthetics. They generally do not biodegrade, are derived from fossil fuels, and release microplastics into our water system. Naturally derived materials such as cotton and linen are the greener way to go. You can also…
7) Use a microplastics filter. Companies like Guppyfriend are producing washing bags that help filter the microplastics out of our laundry, and thus, the environment. The Cora Ball is another great option.
8) Support regenerative agriculture. Do some research and support (preferably local) farmers committed to using regenerative and sustainable farming practices. Take it a step further and get involved with Kiss The Ground.
9) Clean your Instagram feed. What you surround yourself with, you become. Start 2022 with a digital sweep to ensure you’re exposing yourself to conscious content committed to sustainability. Let’s leave fast fashion in the past. @wasteless.at and @the.eco.warrior are creating some of the kindest, greenest content around.
10) Shop knowledgeably. Make sure the businesses you’re supporting are leaving a small carbon footprint. Read the fine print. Where are the products manufactured? How far do they travel during and after production? How long are they meant to last? Support ethical, sustainable products. Transparency is built into the very fabric of the vendor website.