12 Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions to Set in 2024
Improve your life and reduce your footprint on the planet
As you settle into the new year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the changes you want to make in your life. This year, why not commit to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle? Setting sustainable New Year’s resolutions is an excellent place to start. Here are some empowering resolutions to consider for a greener planet — and you — in 2024.
Commit to Meatless Mondays
While going vegan is great, you don’t need to cut out everything all at once. Start slowly by incorporating one meatless — or even fully vegan — day into your weekly schedule. You can lower your carbon footprint, save water, benefit your health, and support animal welfare by reducing your consumption of animal products. Begin by adding more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins to your meals. Small changes like committing to Meatless Mondays or switching to dairy-free alternatives can make a significant difference over time.
Bring Reusable Bags
Make a conscious effort to bring reusable bags with you whenever you head out for groceries or any other shopping. Plastic bags contribute significantly to environmental pollution, taking hundreds of years to decompose. Keep a few reusable bags at the back of your car or near your front door so you remember them on your way out. You can even keep one in your bag or purse so even when you don’t have one in your car, you still have an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bags.
Walk or Bike More
Walking or biking instead of relying on motorized transportation has multiple benefits. Not only does it improve your health by adding exercise into your routine, but it also reduces your carbon footprint. By minimizing your reliance on fossil fuels, you contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions, helping combat air pollution and climate change. If your area isn’t walkable, consider
using public transport or carpooling to reduce emissions.
Shop Organic and Local Where Possible
Opting for organic or local products when you shop for groceries is a great sustainable resolution. Organic farming methods prioritize soil health, avoid harmful pesticides, and promote biodiversity. By supporting organic agriculture, you can encourage sustainable farming practices and support local businesses and families. Moreover, by shopping locally, you reduce the transportation emissions that are emitted in bringing exported items or foods grown in far lands.
Start an Herb Garden
Starting an herb garden can be a fun and eco-friendly hobby. Whether it’s a small window box or a collection of pots on your balcony, an herb garden allows you to have fresh, flavorful additions to your meals while reducing the need for packaged herbs from the store. This small step adds a green touch to your living space but also connects you with the joy and satisfaction of growing your food. Another perk is your reduced dependency on store-bought materials.
Buying a recycling bin is the first step to this very simple resolution. Separate your recyclables from your general waste, ensuring you properly recycle materials like paper, glass, plastic, and metal. Globally, we only recycle 9% of all plastic, meaning a large amount ends up in landfills. By diverting these items from landfills, you contribute to resource conservation and the reduction of pollution.
Avoid Fast Fashion
Commit to breaking free from the fast fashion cycle by making more sustainable and conscious clothing choices. Fast fashion is notorious for its negative environmental impact, excessive waste, water usage, and labor exploitation. Consider buying fewer, higher-quality pieces, exploring second-hand or thrift stores, and supporting brands prioritizing ethical and sustainable practices.
Shower Instead of Bathing
Choosing a quick shower over a bath is a simple but impactful resolution for saving water. Showers generally use less water than baths, reducing your household’s overall water consumption. Consider installing a low-flow showerhead and limit your time in the bathroom to further minimize water usage. This small change can also save you money in the long run, reducing your energy bill.
Research Your Impact on Climate Change
Education is the first step to making real change. While you may read headlines about climate change, you may not realize the consequences of the planet’s rising temperatures. Do some research about how climate change is impacting your area. For example, those living in the Northeast U.S. have seen sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Maine increase faster than 99% of the global ocean. You’ve probably seen the impact of rising temperatures in the Arctic, but you may not realize the implications in your backyard.
Do Energy Audit of Your Home
Conducting an energy audit for your home is a proactive way to identify areas where you can improve energy efficiency. Consider hiring a professional or using online tools to assess your energy consumption and identify potential areas for improvement, such as sealing drafts, upgrading insulation, or installing energy-efficient appliances.
Buy Reusable Products
Transitioning to reusable products is an easy way to remain sustainable this year. From reusable water bottles and coffee cups to cloth napkins and containers, choosing durable, long-lasting alternatives to single-use items drastically reduces your contribution to landfill waste. Embrace the idea of “reusability” in your daily routines, and consider investing in quality products that you can use over and over again, minimizing your ecological footprint.
Volunteer for Environmental Organizations
Volunteering for an environmental organization is a fulfilling way to contribute to the well-being of the planet. By dedicating your time and skills to an organization of your choice, you become an active participant in creating positive change. You can choose to participate in tree-planting campaigns, beach clean-ups, growing a community garden, or protecting wildlife. Regardless, volunteering allows you to directly contribute to creating a positive environmental impact, but it’s also a great way to meet like-minded individuals.
By incorporating a few of these sustainable New Year’s resolutions into your life, you can create sustainable habits that benefit you, the planet, and future generations. So what are you waiting for?