1. Buy organic, local and seasonal food
Buying organic, local and seasonal food is probably one of the best ways to stay healthy and save the environment at the same time. Opting for organic food eases concerns about pesticides and fertilisers that pollute soils and rivers and are potentially damaging to our bodies. Best of all, in addition to saving money, it enables us to rediscover tastes from local products often neglected, while reducing the carbon footprint of our plates.
2. Eat less red meat, and less meat in general
Producing one kilogram of beef requires the consumption of up to 15,000 litres of water. Besides this huge amount, red meat demands 28 times more land than chicken, and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. Today, many experts acknowledge that reducing red meat consumption would have a greater impact on our carbon footprint than abandoning cars would. If that is not persuasive enough to help you achieve this resolution, maybe you will be convinced after watching Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron campaign for Less Meat Consumption!
3. Select a green energy offer
As President Obama said ‘There’s no plan B’. Just a few clicks online and that’s all there is to achieving this resolution! Your current energy suppliers may have a renewable energy (wind, hydro, biomass and solar) offer that gives you the chance to reduce your carbon footprint. Nonetheless, if you are taking the plunge, you might as well select a green cooperative which is a not-for-profit business that is voluntarily owned and controlled by the people producing the energy. Check out REScoop.eu.
4. Reduce your energy consumption
Reducing energy consumption around the flat does not have to mean taking on major home improvement projects. Here is a hotchpotch of ideas to reduce your energy consumption at home: de-ice your freezer frequently, select the eco-programme on your dishwasher and washing machine (this has the potential to reduce your water and energy consumption by 18% and 25%, respectively), invest in a thrifty shower head, equip your taps with thermostatic mixing valves (AKA valves that can mix hot and cold water together), opt for LED lights, and turn off your electronic devices instead of putting them on standby. Move to the next level by becoming an ‘energy citizen’ with the help of the ENTRUST project!
5. Join the circular economy movement with the 3Rs
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, that is. Adhering to the 3Rs benefits both the environment and the economy. In addition to reducing the size of landfills and conserving natural resources, it saves energy. For instance, the energy saved from recycling one plastic bottle instead of producing a new one is enough to light one 60W bulb for three hours(!) Sorting your waste also ensures the durability of the recycling industry, not to mention holds the potential to reduce raw material purchases that can fuel inflation. If you have already made the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ slogan a part of your daily habits, try to convince your network by singing this Jack Johnson recycling song. I tested it. It’s unstoppable!
6. Shop for products with less packaging
There are several ways to make this resolution an easy one to achieve. Choosing products that come in bulk is one way. Another way is to opt for products with lighter packaging, or products with the eco-packaging label. According to ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency), packaging represents one quarter of our household waste. Above all, don’t forget to bring your own tote bag when shopping!
7. Take public transport more often
For some people, this one requires breaking strong habits of convenience. Not all readers will have this option, but if you live in a city where a bus/metro/tramway is within walking distance, stop tearing your hair out to find a parking space and take public transport instead! Not only is it cheaper than driving, but the more people who choose public transport, the more likely your city is to offer more frequent services.
If public transport isn’t an option, you can still lead a more sustainable life in 2018. Beyond the social aspects associated with carpooling (sharing a conversation with your neighbours or co-workers for instance), it has the potential to drastically reduce both the number of cars on the road (hence reducing time stuck in traffic jams) and the total amount of kilometres travelled by cars. Transport Canada mentioned that Calgary’s carpooling initiative reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 854 tonnes in one year – way to go, Calgarians!
9. Use a green search engine
Online browsing can, believe it or not, contribute to a better world. Search engines such as Ecosia and Ecosearch are concerned about the environmental impact of web navigation. As an example, for each online query performed by its search engine, Ecosia offsets carbon emissions and raises money to protect the rainforest in northern Brazil. Voila! A New Year’s resolution where someone else does the work for you.
10. Compensate your carbon footprint when travelling
Did you know that one round-trip flight from New York to Europe creates a warming effect equivalent to two or three tons of CO2 per person? Travel with a peace of mind by offsetting your carbon footprint. Different flight calculators like myclimate and World Land Trust help to calculate and compensate the CO2 emissions for leisure and business trips.
Remember, accountability helps achieve success! Share these #greenresolutions with your friends and keep us updated on your progress on Twitter @LGI_Consulting.