9 Sustainable New Years Resolutions
Meaghan Weeden | December 29, 2022 | 5 min read
"Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."
Are You Ready for a Sustainable New Year?
With the year coming to a close, this is the perfect time to celebrate your achievements big and small — and also to reflect on the energy and intention that you'd like to bring into the new year. When the clock strikes 12:01 on New Years Eve, you'll still be the exact same person that you were before, but there's a certain transformative energy imbued into this time of transition. It's a great opportunity to take stock of your daily habits, and to think about how you can be more sustainable in your day to day life.
A word of advice? Keep it simple — that way, it will be easier to stick to. Here at One Tree Planted, we're strong believers in the power of simple actions. Just like a carefully planted tree, the seeds you sow today, with patience and consistency, will grow into something larger and more meaningful than you might imagine.
9 Tips to Have an eco-friendly and Happy New Year
1. Use Less Plastic
From food safety to packaged goods, plastic is everywhere. And we get it: sometimes it's unavoidable. But reducing your plastic footprint is a worthwhile resolution, and seemingly small actions can add up to huge impact over time. So bring a reusable bag when you go shopping, carry a refillable water bottle, and consider bringing a sustainable straw + your own to-go containers when you go out to eat.
2. Eat Less Meat
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 + get your animal products from a local farmer if you can.
3. Walk More
This year, try to walk more and drive less. It's a great way to get some light exercise, get a different perspective on your daily route, and get to where you need to go. Consider walking, biking, or (when it’s safe to do so) taking public transit whenever you can. Every mile you don’t drive reduces your carbon footprint by about 1 lb. Think of it as a chance to save $ on going to the gym!
4. Support Local Businesses
Small businesses help power local economies and, by extension, the local governments that depend on the tax dollars 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 + reducing your own carbon footprint by not having items shipped from thousands of miles away.
5. Reduce Your Electricity Usage
Phantom energy can add an estimated 10% to your monthly electric bill + dramatically increase 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.
6. Shop Organic Whenever Possible
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 + groundwater, and promote local biodiversity. And choosing chemical-free, unprocessed food is just one way we can take control of our health.
7. Minimize Waste in One Area of Your Home
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 the unnecessary items like plastic wrap and paper towels (according to the EPA, paper is the #1 item going into the landfill).
8. Read Green
If reading more books is one of your resolutions, add some awesome climate and environment books to the list. A few of our favorites include The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and The Overstory by Richard Powers. Looking for more options? Check out our list of 24 Best Books About Nature and Trees!
9. Plant Lots of Trees
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, getting to a planting event, or even becoming a tree ambassador to spread the word throughout your community.
We hope this list gave you some inspiration for an eco-friendly new year. All of us at One Tree Planted wish you and your family a happy sustainable new year filled with good health and limitless possibilities. See you next year!