Goals to Save the Planet in 2024

by - Tuesday, January 16, 2024

 It's 2024! Time to set some goals. My first goal is to procrastinate more, so I am posting this two weeks late, just to keep things interesting.

2023 was the hottest year in recorded history. Climate Change and plastic pollution are creating so much chaos, loss of biodiversity, and is becoming exponentially more dangerous each year. So, if you haven't thought about how you want to get involved, it may just be time!

Nobody can do everything (especially because we know an immorally rich few cause the majority of the problem), but we can each do something. And it's amazing how often the changes we make for the planet make our lives better as well. These are just some ideas I have:

1. No Beef in 2024

This year, I stopped gently suggesting that maybe we should all eat a little less meat. No. I want 2024 to be the year we come for the beef industry. Beef is extremely harmful to our planet from its intense carbon and methane emissions, huge amount of land waste, and water pollution. Giving up beef is one of the few individual choices we can make that has a significant environmental impact. 

So let's drop beef in 2024. Maybe you can only do it for a year. But let this be the year.

How it Helps the Earth: 

No one who wants a livable planet needs to eat beef this year. Wouldn't it be amazing to read a "millennials are killing beef" think piece? How much impact could we have to make businesses shake in their boots if we all gave up such a dramatically, demonstrably terrible business? Companies know their environmental impact and assume that we as consumers don't care enough that they have to change. Dramatically cutting our beef intake sends a clear message to ALL companies- we do care, and we are paying attention. 

If you are clutching pearls for the tiny beef farmer this hurts, I challenge you to do the research on your beef you buy. Because the vast majority of beef farming and processing traces back to a handful of companies. This sweet small family farms are only a reality for you if you are actively seeking them out. 

How it Helps Your Life: 

Beef is pretty clearly not great for us, especially our hearts. It also tends to be quite expensive, where a lot of the substitutes are not. Picking up some meatless meals can be really fun to learn, and it offer a lot of nutrition you may miss out on if you are strictly meat and potatoes. 

Seriously, no beef in 2024. I promise, everything else I'm flexible. And there are a million ways to shift our diets to be more plant based or to shrink or meat consumption. They are all great, and you should do them, but also cut out beef for a year.

Other than giving up hamburgers, which is really my only hard line, I suggest just picking a few little goals that feel good for the year! We are all busy and life is draining, so make it easy on yourself. One of my goals is to simplify our schedule- I am literally trying to just do less! I am working my way towards doing nothing.

2. Get Political

This is a huge year politically in the United States, and we have all seen how much the leaders we choose effects the direction our country takes on the environment. If you care about the environment, you have to vote. Have to. But that is only the tip of the iceberg of what you can do to get involved in choosing environmentally-minded leaders.

How it Helps the Earth: 

Does anyone remember how terrible the EPA was 5 years ago? It was insane, and we can't go back again. I am currently not pleased with the current administration, but going back to Trump is a death sentence for our delicate planet. We can't do that. 

The information is clear- we need those in power to be on the side of the planet. We have to focus on that. You may think you have no power in this, but you do. The corporations have the money, but we have the people. You can help build up that voice. 

How it Helps You:

You get to be Leslie Knope, for goodness sakes! Getting involved politically has a bad reputation, but it can be an amazing way to make connections and build up community. If you are in the US, this is THE year to get involved. Nothing else matters more.

How to Do It:

Vote. Talk about how you are voting with others. When someone is voting the other way, ask respectfully about their views on the environment, even if it is frustrating or hard. Volunteer for a campaign. Keep an eye on all of your local elections. Write and call your officials. Participate in marches. Run for office yourself. It all matters.

3. Quit Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is another major culprit in pollution, climate crisis, and waste. Is it worth participating in the newest, hottest trend if your grandchildren won't even survive to laugh at you about it?

How it Helps the Earth: 

Fast fashion is a major source of pollution and greenhouse gases. It also uses tons of resources. But that is just the beginning. To try to keep up with the constant churn of the seasons, and working off the assumption that cheaper is always better, companies have resorted to a number of extremely unethical short cuts:

- First, they use synthetic fabrics, plastic fibers that are shedding off of all of our clothes, into our water, and back into our bodies.
- Second, and this is the one that keeps me up at night, cheap fashion absolutely guarantees cheap labor. That means for you to have that t-shirt from Target, at best someone was working in unsafe conditions. At worst, that person was a child, a slave, or actively abused. That person is just as much a person as I am, and no shirt is cute enough for that.

In other words, fast fashion is one of the most toxic forces in our lives and our world. It needs to stop to save resources, keep our water clean, and to stop climate crisis.

How it Helps You:

I think a lot about how many people are walking around, thinking they are doing the best they can to be ethical, moral, or good, but they are literally wearing the mistreatment of others everywhere they go. Changing our approach to fashion means letting go of certain expectations about who we should be and how we have to "keep up." In short, quitting fast fashion frees us from things that don't matter so we can focus on the things that do.

How to Do It: 

The best thing you can do is embrace all of the clothes you already own. Learn to sew and repair things. Go to a tailor and get what you already have fitted. Resolve to buy no more than one new clothing item a month. 

I read that we can only ethically buy 5 new items in a year. So that is my goal number from now on. I have to figure out how to make the clothes I already have work. 

There are so many cool ideas for this one and so many inspirational people out there thinking through this problem. Truly, no reason to stick with fast fashion.

4. Get Outside and Plant Something

How it Helps the Earth: 

We learned this year that one of our best defenses against climate crisis is simply by planting way more trees. We may not individually have the power to stop development, but we can get involved in this planting and change our approach to our own yards and spaces to make them greener (literally).

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. Nothing encourages this more than embracing gardening and nurturing as part of our lives.

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.

Starting our garden is the best thing we ever did as parents. It gives our kids a strong appreciation of the labor and nurture behind what they eat. It also opens their mind to foods I would never have expected.

How to Do It: 

In my dream world, we would all take up big planting goals for 2024. Every household would plant 5 trees. Or every yard would give up the sad, boring lawn and fill it up with native plants and trees. But you can set your own planting goal- how many trees can you plant in a year? Or is there a local planting group you could volunteer for?

Planting is not your thing? No problem, check out this post for ways to make being outdoors a regular part of your 2024 routine.

5. Keep Talking About It! 

How it Helps the Earth :

Just keep talking about this stuff! Bring up the news, share cool memes, be honest and explain the changes you are making.

We see more and more people caring about the planet, but it's honestly not moving fast enough. Caring needs to be the norm in a big, culture-changing way. You can help keep this momentum going by being positive and speaking the truth! One of the most important things we can do is talk about it with our friends and family, because that is how culture shifts and minds change.

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: 

The news about our planet and our future is consistently terrifying and depressing. The only way to stay optimistic, to feel hope, and to KEEP HELPING is to have community with other people. Don't face this stuff alone. If nothing else, if you are having a bad day (or exchange with someone) you can always DM me about it.

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.

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. Be that person, and bring up reusables at a meeting you are at. If you like concrete goals, post one thing about the environment a week or resolve to have one conversation about it a week.

Resolve to bring up your environmental choices once a week to people you meet or on social media.

One fewer flight, one letter to a company, one scroll of research on activists working near you, one day of political volunteering- it's all powerful! What are you doing for the planet this year?

You May Also Like



Get Our Latest Posts Via Email - It's Free

Enter your email address: