The New Year’s celebration is a time that inspires resolutions in everyone to make changes to be healthier, enjoy life more, and make changes to their lives by either learning something new or picking up a new hobby.
Here are some suggestions for green New Year’s resolutions. Choosing greener lifestyle habits is not only good for sustaining the environment, but their are health and financial benefits as well.
This list is divided into four focus points: health, home, waste management, and get inspired. Start with the area where that seems easiest to commit to depending on personal interest.
This is one of the most popular resolutions every year. It’s the easiest to break because most people are looking for a quick fix diet. A lifestyle change is the best way to stay fit and keep weight from coming back. There are numerous health risk today that are caused by and exacerbated by the processed foods we put in our bodies.
By choosing to eat whole, organic foods, the body has an easier time breaking down and absorbing the nutrients and micronutrients that don’t come from fortified, artificial foods. It also takes less energy to grow these foods than to create those “healthy” bars, low-fat meals and “diet” sodas filled with preservatives and chemicals to make them addictive.
Choosing locally grown foods helps the environment in reducing the fuel burnt off to transport food. California is in climate that can grow plenty of crops year round, but check for certain seasonal items like squashes and apples.
Consider eating less meat. Cattle and other animals take plenty of energy and resources to produce. Depending on the source, 70 to 80 percent of crops grown in the US are used to feed meat. Decreasing the demand for meat would allow these crops and land to be repurposed.
Walking and biking is being put under health because exercise should not be forced. It can be apart of everyday life. Instead of driving to the grocery store, bank, etc. which wastes gas, and makes people burn fewer calories, try one of the alternatives. It may add more time to errands, but it will help decrease weight gain.
If walking or biking to places is just to unreasonable, try planning your driving routes to minimize the distance traveled which will help save cash ad the amount of gas being burned off into the atmosphere.
Homes have become perfectly conditioned to fulfill every desire a person could want. The energy required to power these homes in Torrance is primarily done by hydropower, coal, and nuclear power plants. The latter two, emit and create waste detrimental to our health and the environment. Creating more energy efficient homes will alleviate the need for so much energy. Most of these fixes require purchases that, after installation, save money and require little to no attention.
There is no need to spend a lot of money on power sources to get off the grid with solar panels or wind turbines. There are companies willing to give estimates for people who are interested however.
Heating and cooling homes requires energy, and can be the cause of outages. Southern California is one of the few places that never gets to hot or too cold. Instead of cranking the heat way up in the winter or lower in the smmer, try tolerating a few more degrees of hot or cold by setting the thermostat differently.
Properly insolating homes via the roof, floor, windows and doors shouldfurther decrease the need for heating and cooling. Ideally, bundling up in the winter and staying hydrated and in the shade in the summer should prevent much need of either of these systems except on the coldest and warmest days.
Almost all lights made within the last decade are energy efficient. It is best to use bulbs with wattages between 25 and 150 depending on the fixture and/or use for the bulb around the house. These lights also tend to have a longer lifespan, so they need to be bought less often.
The terms energy vampire and power vampire have gained some attention in the last few years. The general concept is that any plugged device is still using energy even after being turned off. Devices with sleep modes drain more energy. There are online list for people interested in how much energy is drained by different devices, but the simple remedy is to turn things off completely. Unplugging devices is better, and there are power strips that can do this for multiple electronics at once.
Wash clothes in cold water, it takes less energy because the water does not need heating. Then, line or rack drying clothes instead of using a drier requires no electricity.
Water that is fresh and safe for people is a luxury that we may soon be paying more for or have less access to in the future do to overuse and over population. Reducing the use and waste of this necessity will reduce some of the strain put on the fresh water supply.
Water at times where the sun is low and will not evaporate more than what gets absorbed.
Plant native drought resistant plants that require less water than a lawn.
Make sure that all plumbing and faucets are working properly with no leaks. A dripping faucets could lose gallons of water a day.
Replace all faucets with low flow heads to decrease the amount of water flowing.
Cutting time in showers to the bare minimum of time needed to wash everywhere reduces the amount of water wasted.
Everything we use and throw away ends up sitting in a landfill where it is surrounded by other materials that may not decompose very well. By making wiser purchasing decisions, the rate landfills clog will decrease.
Purchase items that are recyclable, reusable, and compostable are all good ways to reduce the amount of items sent of to landfills.
fixing or repurposing items that are broken are ways to extend the life span of clothing, old food containers, etc..
borrow items that may be used temporarily.
E-cycle electronics and batteries. Electronics have rare minerals in them that are hard to mine. it would be a shame to bury them in landfills.
For people who cannot see the bigger picture of how any of these little task help make the world and people a greener, healthier place, there are tons of sources of motivation out there via, the internet, video, or being active in a community of fellow environmental enthusiast.
Visit storyofstuff.org to see where goods come from and where they end up.
Netflix is currently full of documentaries that range from focusing on the environment, food production, and sustainable urban developments such as Blue Gold, Health for Change, and Future by Design.
Donate things you have but do not need. Having extra stuff that is not being used is a burden on yourself, and someone out there could need it more.
Participate in a local clean up. Heal the bay host monthly activities, or volunteer for the city and see how much trash is actually polluting where you live.
Visit the beach, a wetland, or any other preserve to see what grew and lived here. It could inspire landscaping plants that normal grow and thrive locally.
This list of suggestions may look overwhelming. But just doing one of these changes is a positive change for better. Adding one after the other becomes unconscious practice over time will make for a healthier planet.