Many resolutions focus on self-improvement, which is great, but why not consider making some resolutions that improve the whole planet? Here are some of our favourite ideas for eco-friendly resolutions you can make for 2021.
Switch your main search engine to SearchScene to support climate-focused charities
Probably the easiest eco-friendly resolution you could make is to change your default search engine. There are a number of great charitable search engines out there, but we would recommend SearchScene, as we donate 95% of our advertising profits to climate-focused charities such as Eden Reforestation Project, WaterAid, WWF, UNHCR, Oxfam and UNICEF.
It’s also worth noting that SearchScene offers one of the best search experiences among the charitable search engines, which means you won’t be sacrificing the quality of search results you get by switching over.
Boycott fast fashion brands
Fast fashion is one of the world’s biggest drivers of pollution. Fast fashion brands provide clothes at a very low cost but do so by cutting corners environmentally, such as through the use of cheap, toxic textile dyes. As clothes provided by fast fashion brands have become cheaper, people are also throwing them away much quicker, either because they wear out or simply because they no longer want them and they didn’t cost much in the first place.
Both the production and use of fast fashion has an incredibly detrimental impact on the environment, so make one of your eco-friendly resolutions to boycott fast fashion brands and start using retailers who prioritise sustainability (the clothes will be better quality too!).
Make a pact not to buy any new clothes
The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world behind oil, so another good eco-friendly resolution is to make a pact not to buy any new clothes this year, or for a set period. Take a look at your wardrobe and ask yourself honestly whether you have enough clothes — if you do, start a ‘shopping fast’.
At the end of your pact, you should have saved some money and you can buy select long-lasting and sustainable pieces. If during your no-shopping pact, you find there are things you don’t wear, you should take them to a charity shop, sell them online, or take them somewhere they can be recycled, rather than throwing them away.
Work towards eliminating single-use plastic
Plastic doesn’t biodegrade — instead, it breaks down after many years, releasing toxic chemicals into the air and water that then finds its way into our food and drink, causing many potential health problems.
Some ways that you can avoid using single-use plastic are to take a refillable water bottle or coffee cup with you wherever you go, take your own bags to the shops, don’t use any plastic straws or disposable cutlery, buy loose fruits and vegetables rather than pre-packaged ones, and try to use refillable soaps and cleaning products where possible. The BBC and WWF have some great tips for reducing your single-use plastic.
Reduce your meat and dairy intake
The carbon footprint of animal farming, especially beef, is huge. In fact, the climate impact of meat farming is almost equivalent to all the planes, cars, and lorries in the world. It is also very inefficient, as the huge amount of land used to grow food for the animals that will later be eaten could simply be farmed for human consumption. To help fight this, why not make an eco-friendly resolution to reduce your meat and dairy intake?
You don’t have to go vegan to help make a difference. Greenpeace states that, in the UK, we need to be consuming 70% less meat and dairy by 2030 in order to prevent climate change. However, whatever small changes you can make to your diet will be beneficial, such as having set meat or dairy-free days or only buying a small amount of meat and dairy products in your weekly shop.
Avoid processed foods and cook from scratch instead
Processed foods are bad for our health, with high levels of sugar, sodium, and fat, but they are also bad for the environment, which is why another eco-friendly resolution you could make is to cook from scratch instead, using raw ingredients where possible.
The production of processed foods is very energy-intensive, and often uses a lot of unnecessary and non-recyclable packaging. By switching your cooking habits, you will not only be going the environment a favour but your body as well.
Embrace walking and cycling over other forms of transport
The harmful emissions caused by our vehicles are the driving force behind the upcoming ICE vehicle ban in 2030. Not everyone can afford to buy a new electric car right now, (though they are a move in the right direction), but you can make an eco-friendly resolution to swap out some of your usual driving habits for walking and cycling, especially over shorter distances or to the local shop.
In cases where you do have to travel further afield, try to avoid travelling alone in your car for a single journey where possible. See if you can car share with other people from your workplace (where it is safe to do so given current Covid-19 restrictions), take public transport, or tie together the different things you need to do into fewer trips.
Hopefully, you have found some of these eco-friendly resolution ideas helpful and you can start making some positive changes to your habits that have benefits for the whole planet.
This article first appeared on Medium.