Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! It’s been such a great last year, and I hope this will continue for you all in 2023! With that being said, you can’t have a new year without some resolutions - if you’ll remember, I rang in 2022 with a short list of resolutions, but this year, we’re going bigger and better with 10 new resolutions. Keep reading to see what they are!
Support more sustainable / eco-friendly brands.
A lot of our “unsustainable” daily practices come from shopping, believe it or not, so one easy swap we can do is try to buy from or support brands that are devoted to operating on sustainable practices. You can get the same goods you would normally while supporting the planet - it’s a win-win! And usually, these brands offer products at a higher quality and help you to save money in the long run by designing reusable / multi-use products. I’ve written a few blog posts about noteworthy brands I really like, but if you’re looking for more, both Conscious Life and Style and The Eco Hub have dedicated brand directories, or master lists, to help you live your best eco-friendly shopping life.
Be aware of your digital footprint.
You’ve probably heard of the term “carbon footprint”, but did you know that you have a digital carbon footprint too? That’s right, your digital usage contributes to a carbon footprint in the same way that your vehicle usage does. So, if you’re looking for new ways to reduce your carbon footprint, try investigating your digital footprint and working to minimize that! There are plenty of easy switches we can make to ensure our digital footprints stay small - for more information about these, check out my blog post about digital footprints.
Invest in more reusable / zero-waste products for your home.
If there’s anything 2022 has taught me, it’s that reusing and minimizing waste is the way to go, and it’s so simple to do in your own home! Bea Johnson has a guide of 100 tips to get closer to your goal of a “zero waste home”, which covers every room in the house from the kitchen to the bathroom. Going Zero Waste by Katherine Kellogg also has a great masterlist of another 101 tips to really ensure you get to live your best zero-waste life. And if you’re skeptical of why the zero waste movement is really necessary, check out my Waste 101 post for more information.
Don’t be afraid to upcycle / donate used goods.
Fast fashion and fast beauty are two industries that took the world by storm this year, and not for good. If you find yourself in need of a new look but don’t want to buy into the fast trend, consider upcycling what you already have - the DIY way is truly a powerful one. Another therapeutic (in my opinion) activity is to do a seasonal declutter, where you go through your entire collection of something, whether it be clothes or makeup, and see what you really don’t want to keep, what you do, and what you think you can salvage. Take the first category and consider donating your used goods to someone in need. And of course, this doesn’t just apply to fashion and beauty, as you can upcycle and donate just about everything from decor to other home goods!
Be a conscious customer.
Besides merely supporting sustainable brands, there are so many other ways we can alter our shopping habits to protect the environment. When you’re out buying products, try to take a minute to reflect on what you are buying. Ask yourself if you really, absolutely need to buy the newest color of lipstick or whatever it is (and of course, buy it if it’s really necessary to survive, like food!), and if you could see a life without it, try coming back to it later. After all, less products being bought means less waste generated by you! If you’re really in the mood to change things up, try to see how long you can go without buying anything besides the essentials! You’ll see how living small with less can be so beneficial! You can also save by buying multi-use goods - there’s so many out there now!
Be more efficient with your appliance usage.
Energy conservation is also a big part of sustainable living, and thankfully, it doesn’t call for too much of a change in your daily life! Of course, there’s the usual unplug and shut down your devices when they aren’t running, but did you know that in some areas, running appliances such as the dishwasher and laundry machines actually use less energy (and thus save you money) at night? Definitely check to see if this applies to you, but if it does, you’ve got yourself an easy way to save! You might also want to consider waiting until the machines are full to run them, or trying to use them less (air-drying clothes is a nice option, weather permitting!). Another thing to keep your eye on is your thermostat temperature, as you can save a lot of energy and money just by decreasing the temperature by 1 degree in the winter or raising it by 1 in the summer - I’m sure the difference won’t be that large to you!
Spend more time in nature.
Sometimes, in the grand scheme of learning about the environment and taking action to protect it, we forget what exactly it is that we’re fighting for. This year, I recommend that we all take a step back away from our devices, and simply succumb to the beauty that is the natural world around us. There are so many ways to do this, from simply taking a walk to cycling and everything in between. Refer to Bucket List Journey's master list for some inspiration - they’ve got some pretty cool ideas!
Immerse yourself in environmental education.
The best first step we can all take to incorporate ourselves into environmentalism is to take a deep dive and truly learn all there is to know. Of course, my blog itself is a nice place to start, but if you’re looking for more, try reading a few books written by key figures in the movement, enrolling in online courses (there’s plenty of free ones out there), or following creators on social media. To take it a step further, try encouraging others to join you on your journey to learn more - a big part of environmentalism is simply spreading the word!
Speak up and make your voice be heard!
All of the talk about protecting the environment really means nothing if we don’t, you know, actually take action to protect the environment. And of course, that doesn’t mean you have to be at the forefront of a protest - there’s so many simple things you can do to make a change. The most important one, age-permitting, is to vote! And not only vote, but really make an educated vote - consider the environmental beliefs of certain candidates before you vote for them. Another easy strategy that you can do on the local scale is to visit your local businesses / establishments, observe how sustainable their practices are, and prepare an infographic or slideshow to present to the owners that is specifically catered to them. You can also work to contact your elected officials and tell them about the issues you see around you - I’m sure they’d love to listen to their constituents.
Donate or volunteer with environmentalist groups.
Another great way to take action on the individual level is to help fund a movement near and dear to your heart, but if you aren’t willing to donate money to the cause, why not donate your own time? Being in a few volunteer groups myself, I can attest that the volunteer experience is truly eye-opening - I’ve learned so much and met so many great people, all while helping to protect the planet. A quick Google search can help you find some local organizations to give time to, but if you’re looking for more nationally recognized ones, Green Dreamer has got you covered. (And what better way to start than at Sustainable Southbury itself!)
Well, that’s all for today! I hope at least one of these new resolutions resonated with you, and you’re able to bring some happiness and light into the new year. Wishing you all a very happy new year again - let’s make it a great one!