5 Earth-Friendly Resolutions You Can Actually — Easily — Keep in 2019
This past year offered brutal proof that climate change isn't going anywhere. We suffered forest fires, hurricanes, and steadily rising temperatures — and that was just in the United States. The good news? Going greener in 2019 doesn't have to decimate your bank account, obliterate your social life, or require moving from your apartment into a tree house.
The alternative to taking action isn't pretty. A terrifying climate assessment released in November told us we should expect higher temperatures, continued environmental devastation, and millions displaced as sea levels continue to rise over the next series of decades if we don't get serious about climate change. Policies like the 2015 Paris Agreement will help, but much of this boils down to personal accountability in these contemporary, capitalistic times. How are we enabling environmental harm? How can we each help enact a broader sea change that can keep the planet calm and carrying on into our collective future?
The truth is there are lots of simple things we can do. As we enter 2019, this is the perfect time to use your resolutions to shift your lifestyle to one that pays respect to the feminist icon that is Mother Nature. Here are five easy-to-accomplish green resolutions that you can actually keep in 2019 . . .
Invest $10 in a Metal Straw
You buy groceries, grab an iced coffee on the way, and pick up takeout on the way home. What did you also accumulate? A lot of disposables, like plastic bags, cups, straws, boxes, and so many more things that end up becoming waste. You can eliminate this in 2019 by bringing your own vessels. Start by investing $10 in a cute metal straw that you can use and reuse anywhere you go. If you want to take this one step further, swap in a cute tote for disposable bags and a mug or tumbler for disposable cups or bottles. This change saves everyone the hassle of waste since the majority of these products end up in landfills. Bringing your own vessel helps shift you away from our single-use mentality.
Designate 1 Day Off From Driving Every Week
Cars — those necessary rolling evils of modernity — and their fossil-fuel-based power sources, are a major contributor to air pollution: they are the fifth biggest producer of emissions in the US. Why not use 2019 to drive less? Dedicate one day a week to adopt the "fewer miles, fewer emissions" ethos by taking the day off driving. You can use the day to try out alternative means of travel (busing, biking, scootering, etc.) or perhaps commit to that office carpool — or ride-share pool — that makes cars more effective.
Save Meat For the Weekends, If at All
We gotta eat. Sadly, the way food is produced now is a root cause for problems like deforestation, water shortages, greenhouse gases, and more. A lot of this has to do with animal products, which, as The Guardian reports, are a cause of the planet's warming ways. Try to cut out animal products from your life in 2019, opting for more legumes, vegetables, fruits, and nuts in your diet instead of meats. Not only is cutting out something like red meat better for your health, but going vegetarian is a much cheaper lifestyle. Can't commit to a complete switch? Opt for meat only on the weekends or, at least, commit to eating local food, as that helps cut down on the carbon footprint of food.
Swap All Your Lightbulbs to LED
An easy, one-time way to a greener 2019 and beyond is shifting all your lighting to LED. Compared with incandescent bulbs, LEDs deliver the same quality of light but use 40 percent less energy. They also last a lot longer, some being good for 25 years, while incandescents can only survive 365 days. While LED bulbs do cost more — a pack of four goes for $20 — they ultimately save you money. When used eight hours a day, every day, incandescent bulbs cost roughly $23 a year, whereas LEDs cost $4 a year. If you're looking for a truly easy way to go green in 2019, LEDs will do the trick.
Buy a Composter — They're Cheaper Than You Think
While you might be very effective at recycling, you can take your waste management to the next level in 2019 by getting into composting. Composting keeps organic waste out of landfills, helping to prevent the generation of greenhouse gases while saving 277 pounds of waste per person per year. Anyone can compost (even if you live in an apartment!), but you'll probably need a bin to get going. The most basic versions start from just $20, while more intense, worm-friendly bins can cost over $100.
Going green can mean a pretty pronounced lifestyle change, but you don't have to do everything all at once. To ensure that you stay on track, practice some tips for making changes, like being specific, starting small, making a plan, building community, and allowing yourself to make mistakes. Consider involving friends or asking for support, which has proved to help make new habits last. Talking about going green is key, too — research shows that social influence can be a key factor in changing one another's behaviors.
The bottom line: we can all get a little greener — it just takes a little work and some talking about how you have Mother Nature's back.