As we arrive at the beginning of a new year, you may be brainstorming resolutions to keep yourself productive and accountable in 2021. As the environmental crisis worsens every minute, there’s no better time to implement habits that help save our planet.
Gaining new knowledge and bettering your understanding of environmental issues and solutions is the first step to becoming a better environmentalist. Not only will you become more motivated to lead a more conscious lifestyle, but knowing more will make it easier to talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about the environmental crisis.
Eating produce that’s local and in season is an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment. Not only will you be supporting local farmers, but growing seasonal produce eliminates the need for pesticides and other unnatural growing systems. Eating local produce also cuts out the need for long-distance transport and unnecessary refrigeration of foods. Simply look up which produce is in season in your area, and choose locally grown food.
Another simple habit to implement in 2021 is composting. We waste one-third of food produced for human consumption each year. Supermarkets and other retailers account for most of this, but it’s crucial to implement individual change where we can. Even if you live in an apartment or other small space, you can find filtered compost containers to store your scraps before disposing of them at a local community garden or other drop-off area.
You can also better your consumption habits by buying less. The fashion industry is especially harmful to our planet with greenhouse gas emissions from textile production amounting to more than those of international flights and maritime shipping combined.
If you’re looking to purchase new clothing or other items, ask yourself if it’s something you really need, and if you already own something that you could fix or repurpose instead? If you do need to make a purchase, opt for borrowing items or buying them secondhand. We need to work towards a circular economy where we keep products and materials in use for longer and design out waste and pollution.
If you need to purchase something new, take time to research whether the brands you’re supporting implement sustainable and ethical practices throughout their supply chain. It’s easy to fall for “greenwashing” (where companies use marketing tactics to convince consumers that they’re doing more for the environment than they truly are) so we recommend consulting a brand rating database like Good On You. Good On You rates popular brands by their impact on the planet, people, and animals.
Joining an environmental organization in your area will allow you to further educate yourself about local and global environmental issues, meet likeminded people, and join in on protests and other community efforts.
A few initiatives worth looking into:
As important as it is to implement more responsible practices into your everyday life, significant change will be made by electing political officials who care about the environmental crisis. Every vote counts as these officials have the power to change the way your area’s industries and economy operate. Outside of election season you can also sign petitions and write letters to your political representatives. Your voice matters.
Volunteering is easier than ever with the connectedness of our digital world allowing for remote skill-based volunteering.
If 2021 is the year that you want to start taking action, then start right now! No matter your skillset, we’re sure there’s an environmental organisation that can use your help. Join our community today.