Earth911 is honoring the 52 years of Earth Day with 52 Actions for the Earth. Each week through Earth Day 2023, we will share an action you can take to invest in the Earth and make your own life more sustainable. As we move into the new year, lots of people are joining gyms and swearing off impulse shopping. This week, you can take action for the Earth with a green resolution.
Action: Green Your New Year
A Green Beginning
Whether it’s a live performance of Handel’s “Messiah” or Beethoven’s Ninth, a polar bear plunge, or a rockin’ New Year’s Eve party, people have a lot of traditions for starting the New Year right. Whatever your tradition, remember that environmentalism isn’t something extra that you do, it’s how you do things. So consider taking public transportation to that concert. If you’re throwing a big bash, make it a zero-waste party. If a big New Year’s Eve dinner party is part of your family’s tradition, cut the waste and shop for local, seasonal foods and sustainable wines.
After ringing in a greener new year, keep the momentum going with an environmental New Year’s resolution. Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are related to fitness, finances, and overall organization. You can put a sustainable twist on these resolutions. If getting in shape or losing weight is your goal, you might take up plogging or eat less meat instead of joining a gym. Trying to save money? Broke is the new green: Cutting the carbon footprint of your transportation saves money on gas; eliminating food waste cuts your grocery bill; and stepping away from the false economy of fast fashion is as gentle on your wallet as it is on the planet. Getting organized can make your life greener, too. Try following the healthy home checklist for better indoor air quality; reducing food waste through meal planning or cooking ahead; or cleaning out your closet and garage to recycle or upcycle items that are currently going to waste.
Of course, it’s also a great idea to choose a sustainable lifestyle habit purely for its own sake as your New Year’s resolution. Earth911’s website is filled with ideas for actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and live a less wasteful, less polluting life. Any of these could be your green-living resolution for 2023.
Every action you take makes a difference, but it takes long-term change to have a real impact. Fewer than half of New Year’s resolutions result in success. To make sure that your resolution sticks, try using the SMART method. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive. So, don’t resolve to never use single-use plastics again. Instead, resolve to learn more about how you use disposable plastic and to reduce your plastic use incrementally by eliminating one category of plastic each month in 2023. Write your resolution down and share it with others – both of these techniques will help you stick to your goal. And if you fail, don’t give up. Instead of abandoning your resolution, give yourself a little grace and resolve to try again.