It’s a bright and shiny new year, filled with promise, plans, and — if you’re like most people — new goals. If one of yours is shrinking your carbon footprint, then setting some greener goals should be most vital. This could mean anything from recycling more to using less energy at home. Every little bit makes a difference! Not only is it essential to do our bit for the environment, but setting green goals can also help. How? The goals would promote a healthy, active, environmentally conscious lifestyle that should help the environment in one way or another, be it through investing in green spaces or green activities. The main focus must be to improve the local environment and raise environmental awareness.
Now understand: From food safety to packaged goods, plastic is everywhere. And we get it: sometimes it's unavoidable. However, reducing your plastic footprint is a worthwhile resolution and goal. Seemingly small actions can add up to a huge impact over time. So, bring a reusable bag when you go shopping, carry a refillable water bottle, and consider bringing a sustainable straw and personal to-go containers when you go out to eat. This year, try to walk more and drive less. It's a great way to get some light exercise and get a different perspective on your daily routine. Consider walking, biking, or taking public transit whenever you can. Every mile you don’t drive reduces your carbon footprint. Then, industrial agriculture is a top cause of deforestation around the world. Besides its hefty environmental footprint, agricultural deforestation brings us deep into wild places that were previously inaccessible. This dramatically increases the risk of coming into contact with new diseases. So, give veggies a chance and get your animal products from a local farmer if you can. Small businesses help power local economies and, by extension, the local governments that depend on the tax they generate. So, the next time you have a purchase to make, shop around locally first. You’ll be putting food on a local family's table and reducing your carbon footprint by not having items shipped from thousands of miles away. Organic farmers must adhere to strict standards for pest control. They also generally use fewer resources, have less resource-intensive farming practices, protect bees, don’t pollute the air and groundwater, and promote local biodiversity. And choosing chemical-free, unprocessed food is just one way we can take control of our health.
Phantom energy can add an estimated 10% to your monthly electric bill, thus dramatically increasing your carbon footprint over time. So, invest in smart strips or unplug your electronics when they’re not in use, turn off the lights when you leave a room, and keep your thermostat below 68°F when you’re awake (and lower when you’re asleep or away from home). These simple changes will add up for the planet and your wallet. If going completely zero-waste feels overwhelming, try to focus on one part of your home, like the kitchen or bathroom. Minimize plastic, create DIY cleaning and body care products, and swap out unnecessary items like plastic wrap and paper towels (paper is the number 1 item going into the landfill). Water is one of the most basic needs to sustain life, but we often take it for granted. Look for ways to dial back your water usage, including some life hacks for reducing household water waste. Finally, trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, provide habitat to over 80% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, and so much more. So, consider taking direct action to create a positive impact that will last for generations to come. This can mean planting a tree with us or becoming a tree ambassador to spread the word throughout your community. So, what are you waiting for, make attainable green resolutions, set achievable green goals, and make the world around you a better place! Happy New Year!