Small steps to make big changes in 2020!
2019 was a year which saw the landscape of environmental concern shift into mainstream culture. A year which saw a young Swedish girl catapulted onto a global stage of political and environmental leaders; she inspired her whole generation to protest for their right to live safely on the planet into their old age. These demonstrations proved to set an example to people everywhere, all over the world, that we can’t carry on consuming the way we have done. And while much of the fault lies with large conglomerates and governments to create change, and with a continuing growing population and increasingly worrying statistics, as individuals it’s important to not lose hope and also to all be responsible for ourselves. Together, we can create change.
With all this in mind, a new decade dawning and a fresh outlook, we have created a Sustainable New Years Resolution List. Maybe you already can tick off one or many of these things, but if there’s something on there you can resolve to do differently then know it will make a difference.
1 Buy Organic – As well as the health benefits, organically farmed produce uses zero pesticides, insecticides or fungicides which means no toxic chemicals are seeping into groundwater and into the water system. Although it’s not always financially possible to buy organic as it is always more expensive, trying to purchase one or two extra items in your weekly shop organic can start to make a difference.
2 Help the Bees! – Without the bees we are nothing. In the UK alone 35 bee species are under the threat of extinction. Help the bees by sprinkling wildflower seeds where you can come spring, make/buy a bee hotel, donate to Friends of the Earth Bee Cause here, buy raw locally produced honey, avoid using chemicals in your garden, leave a saucer of water in your outside space (bees get thirsty in summer too!) and maybe get involved with any local beekeeping initiatives in your local community.
3 Go on A Road Trip – Instead of flying off on a summer holiday this year, maybe try getting there in old school style – on a train! Or bundle everyone into the car and head off on an impromptu adventure.
4 Buy A Refillable Coffee Cup and Water Bottle – In the UK alone we throw away an average of 2.5billion disposable coffee cups a year and 7.7billion water bottles. By investing in refillable versions of these items we can make a dent in this number.
5 Get A Bamboo Toothbrush – 3.6billion toothbrushes are used every year with an average person using 300 in a lifetime and 80% of these will end up in the ocean – scary! Currently bamboo toothbrushes still use plastic bristles so while it’s hard to get a completely natural one, swapping over the plastic for wood will definitely help!
6 Try Zero Waste – Zero waste shops are popping up across the country everywhere and are a great way of reducing single use plastic consumption. Google ‘Zero waste shop near me’ to find out where your nearest one is.
7 Buy Food That’s in Tins over Plastic Packaging – Cans are one of the easiest thing to be recycled and alot of goods which come from plastic packaging aren’t able to be recycled at all! If you can make a choice at the supermarket choose the tinned option!
8 Eat Less Meat – Animal agriculture is responsible for 13 – 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. Aiming towards full veganism via vegetarianism could be a great way to cut back on your personal carbon footprint (eating 4lbs of beef contributes as much to global warming as a flight from London to New York) but if you’re not quite yet ready to cut out meat/dairy entirely, try eating one less meat-focused meal a week to begin with.
9 Consider the Supply Chain – Tracking where your goods come from can also make us more conscious of our consumption. Produce that comes from a different country might be a few pennies cheaper then those that were grown in this one but the closer you are to the source, the lesser the carbon footprint. If you’re not in a rush to get a parcel from another country, maybe you could arrange for transport by boat? Is there a balance to be met if we’re constantly sourcing fruit and veg from South America? Sometimes some small considerations can go a long way to influencing how we as individuals are consuming.
10 Stop Buying Fast Fashion – Although the sales figures of fast fashion giants such as Primark, H&M and Zara are no longer increasing at the way they once were, fashion is still the second biggest contributor to carbon emissions, after transport. If everyone were to purchase less fast fashion and began buying second hand clothing, higher quality/more expensive clothing and/or sourcing natural and organic fabrics (including, ahem, Hemp) we can have an impact on this figure.