We are two weeks into 2016, and while many of us are still saying “happy new year,” we’ve probably already fallen through on some of our resolutions. So far I have been maintaining my resolutions to floss more and to read one book per week; yet I made so many resolutions for myself that it’s difficult to keep track of all the ones I have to follow.
While 75% of people’s resolutions will last through the first week of January, only 46% will make it through 6 months, the University of Scranton reports. What’s unique is that 39% of people in their twenties will achieve that year’s resolution, while only 14% of people over 50 will achieve theirs. Thus, our generation of “millennials” — people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s — are more capable of achieving their goals, if they put their mind to it.
So what should we put our mind to? What are some resolutions we should tackle in 2016? Because environmental issues permeate every aspect of our daily lives, I think that green resolutions are easier to keep because our daily acts remind us of the resolutions we’ve made. Plus, resolutions to be more environmentally-friendly not only benefit ourselves, but also the greater good, specifically our global effort to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions. Here are some eco-resolutions that will help you be greener in 2016:
- Go to the farmers market more often. What’s cheaper than eating farm to table at your favorite restaurant? Eating farm to fridge. Try to buy more of your groceries at a local farmers market; you’ll be surprised by the friendships you make with the vendors, and that you’re getting much fresher produce for your buck. Find a farmers market near you, here.
- Only drink from reusable containers. You can purchase a new CamelBak or Nalgene water bottle that will always be by your side, or an aesthetic thermos that transitions well from the cafe to the classroom. Over 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles each year. Try to swear off plastic water bottles and Starbucks disposable cups to save waste.
- Eat less red meat. I’m personally trying to not eat red meat more than once a week. Although red meat is a popular source of protein, it takes about 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. Giving up red meat can also reduce your carbon footprint more than giving up your car would. But you don’t have to pick either or when you can do both…
- Use public or shared transportation. Taking the bus may take more time to get somewhere, but it costs less and reduces your carbon footprint compared to driving. If public transportation is not available, even carpooling can drastically reduce the carbon emissions you produce.
- Shop with reusable bags. At the grocery store, CVS, or Target, try to remember to bring a reusable bag. Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic grocery bags each year. Not only does this number of bags require 12 million barrels of oil to produce, but plastic bags take 1,000 years to break down, posing problems for oceanic and land animals who encounter plastic infiltrating their ecosystems.
- Change your light bulbs. Using compact fluorescent lights instead of traditional light bulbs benefits you in more ways than one: CFLs last longer so you don’t have to replace them as often, you save money on your electricity bill, and they help you reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from your home (and lighting accounts for about 15% of total residential energy consumption in the U.S.).
- Go outside more. A great way to strengthen your resolve to keep these resolutions is to connect with the environment. Whether it’s hiking, taking your next vacation to a national park, or even going to your local park in the concrete jungle, try to immerse yourself more in nature. You’ll be relaxed, your day will feel more fulfilled, and you’ll have a deeper appreciation for nature’s role in your life.
- Watch more sunrises and sunsets. Looking at the sky each morning and evening is a wonderful way to begin and conclude your day. The beautiful colors of each sunrise and sunset remind us of God’s wonders and the awe of his Creation. By starting and ending your day with the sun, you are reminded of the light nature (literally) brings to our lives, and the importance of Creation care.
There’s something inspiring about the new year, and even though we are halfway through January, I hope that you still find the spark to ignite new initiatives and find the flame within you that wants to try new things. Being green should definitely be one of them.
© Rissponsible Living, 2016