New Year’s Resolutions That Will Help Save The Planet
The new year might bring in lots of changes and new and exciting things for us to look forward to, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the ongoing climate crisis.
From the Arctic getting hotter and the Great Barrier Reef going into a ‘critical’ state, to the Amazon rainforest deforestation hitting a 12-year high and wildlife populations plummeting by a staggering 70%, we’re not treating our world as kindly as we should be.
But there are ways we can help. Earth has a population of almost eight billion people, and if every single person did a few small things to help fight climate change, it could make a huge difference.
With this in mind, UNILAD has created a list of pretty straightforward and easy new years resolutions you can achieve in 2021 that will positively impact the environment.
1. Go veggie one day a week
It’s not new information that the meat industry has added to global warming for years, but while not everyone wants to go completely veggie, going veggie just one day a week could actually make a huge difference. According to research, if every American cut out meat from their diet once a week, the US would save 100 billion gallons of water and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.2 tons of carbon dioxide.
If it can make such a dramatic impact in the US, imagine the impact it would make if everyone across the globe did this too.
2. Use less packaging
We’ve all seen the packets of bananas in supermarkets in plastic bags – grab the ones without the packaging, instead! Fruit and veg are the perfect examples of things that don’t really need to be in packaging, so make the effort to grab the ones that don’t use unnecessary plastic. If you do need packing for some things, try go to places that use paper bags instead – Morrisons, for example.
There’s also the obvious choice to use a reusable bottle for water and reusable cups for your daily Pret skinny vanilla latte. As it stands, the majority of coffee cups used in many places are not recyclable; however, according to the Mail Online, in 2020 Starbucks pledged to try create its own ‘ultra-green’ cups. Other big coffee shops are trying to make changes too, but until then try use your own reusable cups.
3. Be water-saving savvy
We’re all prone to wasting water, and 90% of the time we probably don’t realise we’re doing it. For example, one way people are most prone to wasting water is by leaving the tap running while washing their face or cleaning their teeth. I remember as a kid being told ‘a polar bear dies every time you leave the tap on’, and while I’m not sure this is factually correct, it’s stuck with me ever since.
Another way you can save water is by using your dishwasher more – if you have one. While you’d expect a machine to use more water than hand-washing your dishes, it’s actually more economically savvy to use your dishwasher as it’ll use the same amount of water you would have done cleaning five plates by hand to cleaning 15 or 20 instead (depending on the size of the machine). As per Green Matters, ‘Dishwashers save water, are generally more efficient than hand-washing, and can even save you money.’
4. Invest your money ethically
It’s easy to invest your money in the companies you know you’ll get the greatest return from, but how much do you know about the companies you’re investing in? Sure, you may earn back some good interest – but what if the business you invested in cut down 500,000 trees in 12 months? Would you still have given it your money?
So an easy way you can make a difference is, if you’re planning on investing some of your hard earned cash, do so sustainably and try follow Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG). This measures the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company or business, as well as helping to better determine the future financial performance of companies.
5. Choose paperless billing
Sounds simple, but contact your bank, energy suppliers and so on to request paperless billing – this means you’ll receive any bills and statements via email instead. Emails are also much easier to keep track of than having to go through all your post.
Many large retail shops offer paperless receipts too, emailing your receipt direct to you instead. You may get a few marketing emails in the process, but it’s a small sacrifice to make to help the environment.
6. Use LED bulbs in your home
Standard LED bulbs are 80% more energy efficient than traditional bulbs and waste less energy. This means not only are you saving money on your bills, you’re saving the planet, too. As per UK Energy Lighting, ‘Fluorescent lights convert around 95% of the energy they produce into heat and only 5% into light. LED lights, however, convert 95% of their energy into light with only 5% being wasted as heat.’
7. Start washing your clothes on a cold wash
While you might not be able to do this for all your washes, try doing a cold wash where you can and hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. Washing clothes in cold water and drying them outside on a line instead of a machine would individually save 247kg and 210kg of CO2 a year, reported iNews.
8. Have more showers than baths
We all love a good bath, but try and make them a treat rather than having one most nights. Not only will you appreciate the odd bath when you have one, you’ll save energy by showering instead, as according to The Irish Times, they use just 20% of the energy required to heat a full bath.
As well as these eight things, Sir David Attenbourgh told UNILAD an additional two ways you can do your bit.
He explained, ‘I think there are two things you could do: One, it’s perfectly simple, don’t waste. Don’t waste power, don’t waste paper, don’t waste food, don’t waste time. The second thing is, convince the man or woman who represents you politically of what you’re concerned about in whatever political system you live in.’
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]