9 Eco-Friendly Resolutions to Save the World in 2019

by - Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Nine Eco-Friendly Resolutions to Save the World in 2019 Walking in the Redwoods


Turning the page on a fresh year gives us a brand new opportunity to be a better version of ourselves. That's pretty exciting, and it is the perfect opportunity to start making some eco-friendly changes. It's the kind of thing we all want to do, especially after we have faced truly terrifying Climate Change news and ecological disasters this year.

There is a lot of bad news that can make us feel helpless. We got the news that efforts need to be TRIPLED by 2030 to avoid catastrophic Climate Change. Plastics are choking are oceans to death and have entered our bodies through our food (and its packaging), potentially causing cancer, endocrine problems, and hormonal changes. Leaders are cutting help to the environment to benefit fossil fuel companies.

It doesn't even make sense! And it can feel like we can't make a difference. But we still can, and in huge ways.

Becoming eco-friendly seems like a daunting commitment, but you can actually make a huge POSITIVE impact on the world just by making some easy small changes. If we all resole to make a few sustainable changes this year, 2019 could be a turning point for our world. New Year's Resolutions can be all about changing habits, so why not stick with the junk food and make the world better instead?

The other bonus? I won't suggest anything on this list that doesn't make your life better too. We have all internalized the message that what we want is fast, cheap, and easy. Rejecting that in any decision on any level makes life happier, healthier, and can offer us some peace. So while we are saving the world, we are also saving ourselves. A few years into this, I can say without a doubt this is true.


Let's save the world this year. 



It's a big task but we can make positive steps even when they are small ones. I have split my ideas into 9 categories, but each category has hundreds of ideas of smaller ideas that you can sustain through the year. Giving up meat for a week is nice. Cutting your meat intake in half for the year is way better. Take smaller steps, but make them last.

No one could do all of these things and no single resolution will work for everyone. Climate Change is a big, messy, complex problem; no one solution will be enough. But that also means the things that don't work for you because of cost or culture are never your only option. No one can do everything, but everyone could do something. So let's focus on the positives of what we each CAN do. 

You can do this. So can I. And we have to, because our world depends on it. Let's do this!



1.  Love Everything Local to You


How it Helps the Earth- Living local isn't the most discussed green living change, but it packs so much punch. Eating locally (seasonal food and local grocers) cuts thousands of miles of travel out of your emissions. Shopping locally (made in America brands, local stores) minimizes fossil fuels, protests poverty manufacturing, AND supports your neighbors.

Finally, no one is better suited to solve the problems of your community than you are. You can see plastic bags need banned or waterways need cleaned up? Join a group or start one yourself. Even the smallest action can have huge positive ripples!

How it Helps You- If you make where you live awesome, you get to live somewhere awesome. Every time you spend your money and time where you are, you can help the Earth as a whole, but it also just makes local life better.

How to Do it- Check this post for tons of ideas on doable resolutions right in your own neighborhood!


2. Make your Voice Heard 


How it Helps the Earth- We know that so much of the power around Climate Change rests in the hands of political leaders and large businesses. Their goal is to keep grabbing at every bit of money they can, no matter what happens to the Earth. They bank on us not paying attention so they can do as they please. Let this be the year you don't stand for it anymore. By speaking up to politicians, businesses (big and small), and the people you love about how important it is to take care of the environment, you shift the culture. And you let them all know that apathy and greed are no longer acceptable. So important at this moment in history.

How it Helps You- In the face of the panic and depression that comes with watching Climate Change unfold, nothing feels better than the sense that you are actually doing something. You aren't powerless. Second to that, speaking out means you will find other voices, and no one should be facing this moment alone.

How to Do it- Call your representatives. Watch the news and when the environment is on the docket, put more pressure on. Join environmental groups with a political component so you can connect your voice to others.

Write businesses that do not live up to your standards. Ask to talk to a manager when you get plastic nonsense. When you stop buying from some business, write and tell them so. When an issue is really getting you down, make a list of the businesses that could do something about it, then actually bug them about it.


3. Quit Plastics


How it Helps the Earth- Plastic is poison, and our beautiful Earth is absolutely drowning in it. Microplastics from our clothes are filling the water and all of our food sources. At this point, our children's children will be cleaning up the mess we and our parents made. We can make the job easier by stopping our part in the mess! It also sends companies the message that we will not tolerate the plastic ridiculousness anymore. We very seriously risk choking out our natural resources with plastic, and every piece we each buy only gets us that much closer.

Please God, let this be the year we break our addiction to plastic. This change is urgent and needed.

How it Helps You- The chemicals in plastic, even "food safe" plastic aren't fully understood yet, but this is what we do know: plastics definitely mess with our hormones and our endocrine system. They are also linked again and again with cancer. Look at the rise in plastic packaging next to the rise in many (hormone-related) cancers. This is no a coincidence. Plastic is terrible for our bodies, we just don't even know how terrible yet. It is the asbestos of our generation- do you really want that on or in your body?

How to Do it- There are lots of freaking EASY ways to start cutting our plastic habits. Hundreds of easy options- check this post for 75 of my best ideas (use a menstrual cup, buy less packaged food, bring reusable bags, STOP buying synthetic clothes!).

Most of us can cut our addiction to the big 4- coffee cups, water bottles, plastic bags, and plastic straws. Just be done with them. There are simple green and reusable options for everything you already buy.

Not enough? Start writing companies to tell them to stop already. No restaurant needs to give every customer a plastic straw. Freaking amazon needs to stop with the bubble mailers. Once you start avoiding plastic, you will see the places where you seem to have no choice in the matter. That's where you voice your frustration to them.


4. Get Outside 


How it Helps the Earth- You can't fight for something you don't love. A true connection with nature can inform your environmentalism so you can fight the battles most real to you. We are alienated from nature and see it as a thing "out there." Removing that gap from our thinking (we all live IN nature and we ARE nature) makes us better advocates for the Earth.

How it Helps You- Spending more time outside has proven to improve our physical health, our focus and attention, and even our emotional health (some doctors are prescribing nature for depression). I can vouch for this personally; we spent the last year focusing on more outdoors time, and it made me a better, happier mom. Time outside is magic, and it heals.

How to Do it- Check out this post for ways to make being outdoors a regular part of your 2019 routine.


5. Just Buy Fewer Things


How it Helps the Earth- Overconsumption is another big source of Climate Change. We buy a lot, and everything we buy has to travel (often very far distances), so every thing we buy uses fossil fuels. Most things bought new in stores (or on Amazon) also traveled in plastic, so if you buy 100 non-food items this year, that's 100 extra pieces of plastic trash. Also, to make their stuff cheap, many companies are using more plastics (think about fashion, which is increasingly synthetic materials and shedding millions of microplastics into our water every dang day).

In other words, the less you buy, the better for the Earth. Buying it once instead of over and over is better for the Earth. Borrowing from a neighbor is better for the Earth. Fixing what you already have is better for the Earth. Every time you don't buy something, you have done something good for the Earth! You just have to do nothing! So easy!

How it Helps You- The average American has 300,000 objects in their home. That's a lot to keep cleaning, shopping for, and shifting. And we know that it is making us miserable. Clutter makes it harder for us to focus, and it can even cause depression.

There is also the mental toll of all that shopping. Like so many cheap and easy highs, the good feeling only lasts a minute and then you are left needing another one. And buying all those objects means we need things cheap, which probably means in was manufactured in poverty and mistreatment. That's a lot to weigh on our psyche with so much dusting to do.

How to Do it- Sometimes the best start is a really good clean out with LOTS of donating and sharing (throwing away is a last resort). Join a Buy Nothing Group. Stop shopping Fast Fashion. Have something you love to shop for? Set a goal number for how many you can buy for the whole year, and stick to it. If you only get one pair of shoes in 2019, you may not be as eager to take advantage of a sale. Stop treating shopping as an activity or accomplishment. Shop secondhand first. Take a picture of the thing you want and see if you think of it again before you buy it.



6. Less Waste, Less Worries


How it Helps the Earth- Food waste is a key problem for the planet and our humanity; this wasted food adds to greenhouse gases instead of feeding people who need it. Smarter use of our resources is essential in cutting down the amount of waste on the planet. Restaurants and grocery stores need to be held more accountable for things they waste, but we also need to question how our overconsumption of meat sends so many of our resources to farms instead of people.

But this goes way beyond food waste too- how many pieces of clothing do we throw away that could have been mended and used again? We need to shop less and use what we already have more. How many food containers did we throw away this year? How could we use them another way?

We also know that single-use items are a key source of waste in our world. If we could shift our own lives and family cultures to eliminate that, we could minimize plastics and other waste being created on massive scales every day (seriously, it's a lot).

How it Helps You- Our culture of overspending and overeating certainly isn't doing us a lot of good. This can be a great place to identify that we just need to slow down and make a plan. When you plan what you eat and use what you have, you will feel better about your life, and your body will feel better too.

And creating less general garbage can free us from a bunch of stuff that is weighing us down that we don't even realize. When you start trying to minimize the waste you make, whether you go zero-waste or just cut a little, your life gets simpler in a very positive way too. And honestly, it just feels good to not have to take out the garbage so much!

How to Do it- Internalize the saying "there is no away." Everything we throw away, whether it be food, plastic, or other garbage goes SOMEWHERE. Then start thinking about how you personally can cut down on the waste you create. Reuse things. Fix them. Give them away on Buy Nothing or donate them. Do everything you can to make that garbage can less full at the end of the week.

Meal plan! Eat out less.  Learn cool ways to use up your food waste. COMPOST. Seriously, how are any of us not composting? Learn to bring reusable options with you. Reuse containers and t-shirts. Fall in love with upcycling.



7.  Eat Less Meat 


How it Helps the Earth- Cutting meat from your diet is the single fastest way to cut your CO2 emissions. Meat production also wastes a tremendous amount of water and is responsible for polluting the water as well (the dead zones you read about are mostly due to meat production). If you stop funding large-scale meat production, you help the Earth heal.

How it Helps You- Meat, it turns out, is not particularly great for you, and nutritionists point out  that we eat too much. Less meat + more veggies = happier body.

How to Do it- Check this post for tons of ideas on cutting down meat, from hamburgers out to Meatless Mondays to just cutting your portion sizes down.


8. Get Involved and Join a Group 


How it Helps the Earth- So many people are out there fighting this battle, but they need your help. They can target politics or conservation, planting trees or demanding justice. Your manpower, voice or even money can help them have more successes. The narrative sold to us about climate change is that we are individually responsible to fix it (turn your lights off, take the bus, etc). Those things can help, but our power only becomes remarkable when we work together. You can be a part of that.

How it Helps You- You can just do more. You can meet people who care about the things you do. You can learn from others and share skills with someone who has a totally different set than you. You don't have to be alone, because that is no fun.

How to Do it- Do your research! What is going on near you? Get on Facebook and join a group there to watch they do for a while. Bring a friend and just show up to a meeting. Donate money. Join a mailing list.



9. Actually Talk About It 


How it Helps the Earth- One of my heroes, Katherine Hayhoe, says that one of the biggest things we can do about Climate Change is to just talk about it. It's a dark topic (no one wants to chit chat about the apocalypse) and one that makes people uncomfortable and even defensive. But talking about it anyway makes it something that can't be ignored. It also makes it less scary to see someone talking about it and doing something about it.

We need everyone to care. Everyone. So your caring and talking about it plants more seeds. Lots won't grow, but some will. And that caring can only be good for the Earth.

How it Helps You- Don't be alone  worrying about this stuff. When you talk about it, other people will surprise you and challenge you. It makes life better to do things with others. Be a steward amongst stewards. Caring is deeply and powerfully contagious. Care loudly, and other people will care too.

This may be my biggest takeaway from writing this blog. I have someone I care about send me a link or tell me their latest little victory almost everyday. Someone sees something and thinks I will like it. But even to do that, they have to have read it or internalized it too. And truly nothing brings me more joy than when a friend texts me to brag about their reusable sponges or my brother-in-law stops using straws at his restaurant or an acquaintance tells me they are using an idea from my blog. Want to feel your impact? See others.

How to Do it- Share (positive) things on facebook. Invite people to come to volunteer with you. Chat with the server after you turn down the straws. Brag about your kickass secondhand finds.

Nine Eco-Friendly Resolutions to Save the World in 2019


Alright friends, what are you resolving to do in 2019?

You May Also Like

5 comments

  1. These are such good ideas. I recently toured a garbage facility it was so eye opening.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Buying fewer things is truly important. Most commercial goods come with excessive packaging, esp in places like Japan. That's just a lot of waste, esp most of us don't even read the words on them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I cant tell you how much I LOVE THIS POST! Our family is always aiming to be more green. Our city has banned plastic straws and the state of California is making it a law to not offer plastic straws at restaurants, unless asked for. It's great!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I totally agree and I personally made my own eco-friendly resolutions. It is about time we do something and we should start with ourselves. Climate change is a serious concern and what's happening now is really alarming.

    Thank you for sharing these ideas. I will try to buy fewer things from now on.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I do have to disagree with your eat less meat statement. Meat is NOT bad for you. It's actually very important for a truly healthy body. The source of the meat is very important. Raising pastured beef through a regenerative agriculture system will actually sequester large amounts of carbon back into the soil - making healthy soil and reducing the CO2 in our atmosphere. Large scale traditional agriculture is terrible for the environment, stripping nutrients from the soil and releasing large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere...

    ReplyDelete