The world has had its fill of challenges and changes in the past few years. And many people are choosing to take this time to make big personal changes.
If reducing your carbon footprint hasn’t been a priority for you, don’t feel like it’s too late to start making a difference now. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to make a resolution for yourself and for your planet to do things greener from here on out. New year, new habits and a new, greener you! But making many large changes all at once can be overwhelming and it’s not always easy to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. We propose making one small change a month for a big impact down the road. Big lifestyle changes are more successful one step at a time, after all.
We’ve compiled a list of manageable green resolutions that you can make each month to make a difference:
January: Try eating seasonally
Food production is responsible for ¼ of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. (1) A great way to reduce the carbon footprint of your diet is by focusing on eating only what’s in season. Buying locally sourced, seasonal produce cuts down on transportation and import emissions. For example, January is a great month for citrus fruits in the U.S.!
Check out this seasonal produce guide that lets you know what food choices you have for the right time of year.
February: Give food scraps a second life with composting
Start a compost pile in 2023. It would be a shame to not take advantage of all that good food waste and nutrients. Food scraps make up for 30% of what we throw away, so composting means less food waste that ends up in landfills. (2) Turn your food scraps, like banana peels, into food for your soil. This will help your flowers, plants and home vegetable garden grow.
Composting also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and reduces methane in landfills, lowering your carbon footprint. Find tips on how to create a compost pile.
March: Detoxify your cleaning routine
Hey, nobody likes spring cleaning. But this year, you might feel better on the inside if you switch to non-toxic cleaning products for your home. There are safer options for you, your children and pets than the harmful cleaning products you’re used to using. Identify greener cleaning products.
April: Reduce your water usage
April showers might bring May flowers, but this April, pledge to watch your water usage. A simple switch such as to a low-flow shower head can save more water than you may think. These water-conserving shower heads could decrease your water usage by a gallon per minute.(3) For a no-cost option to save water, try setting an alarm when you shower. This will help you be more conscious about spending too much time in the shower and using too much water.
May: Ditch plastic bottles for reusable
It’s time to stop the over-consumption of plastic water bottles. If you’re hoping to cut more fossil fuels from your life, you might be shocked to know that the entire process of making plastic bottles uses fossil fuels. 86 percent of plastic water bottles become garbage or litter according to the Container Recycling Institute. Get yourself a nice reusable bottle to take with you and refill.
June: Choose smarter travel
Summer vacations bring families together for new experiences and adventures. But plane travel accounts for a ghastly amount of carbon emissions. If you must fly to your destination, try to book a direct flight with an environmentally-conscious airline. Planes cruising in the air do not necessarily use that much fuel, but that’s because 70% of emissions happen during take off and landing of the aircraft. Transportation as a whole—flying, driving, rail, commercial shipping, etc.—is responsible for a larger share of domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than any other economic sector.
Your best solution? Drive instead of fly on your vacation! Take an electric vehicle and try to carpool with multiple people.
July: Use clean, green solar energy
If you power your home on electricity, the utility company is likely spending a lot of precious resources to create that energy for you. More people than ever are choosing to go solar as a more earth-friendly and budget-friendly power source. Especially in the summer when sunshine is in surplus and electricity bills are highest, a home solar panel system could generate enough electricity to power your life! This can make solar panels worth it for most homeowners.
There are many benefits of solar energy to the environment. Compared with fossil fuel generators, PV solar panels produce far lower lifecycle levels of greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants including fine particular matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.
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August: Curate an eco-friendly wardrobe
Shop smarter by cutting out fast fashion. This might be the time of year you want to amp up your fall wardrobe. And it can be tempting to find the cheapest-priced trends. However when brands are quick to capitalize on trends and price their clothes low, their production process is usually horrible for the environment. This is called fast fashion.(4)
The fashion industry is one of the largest consumers of water and fast fashion accounts for 10% of all carbon emissions. And not only that but 85% of all textiles go to dumps each year. To combat this, buy more second hand and longer-lasting, environmentally-conscious clothing. You can even look into companies that allow you to rent clothes!
September: Weatherize your home
Prepare your home for the upcoming winter months by weatherizing it! Seal leaks to lock in heat, upgrade your windows, and more. From DIY projects, to having experts come in for a home energy audit, proper weatherization can help it run more efficiently and comfortably.
October: Inspire change politically
Encourage your elected officials to take climate action! Get involved even on a local level to ignite change in your own community. Call on your representatives to stop supporting new fossil fuel infrastructure, end fossil fuel subsidies and invest in climate action, instead!
November: Go meatless for a month
Challenge yourself to not eat meat for a month. Adopting a vegetarian-based diet for 30 days can have a bigger impact than you might think. Overall, animal-based foods tend to have a higher carbon footprint than plant-based. Eating a veggie -based diet can mean less carbon emissions than if you were to eat a meat-forward diet. The month of November also hosts International Meatless Day, also called the ‘International Vegetarian Day,’ on the 25th.
December: Give green gifts
Giving eco-friendly holiday gifts can help you reach your green goals and inspire others to adopt green resolutions in their own life. Consider gifting things like these 10 solar-powered gifts and gadgets this season
Green resolutions for the new year
These 12 green resolutions for the new year may seem like a lot of changes at first. But if you strive to achieve just one a month, you can feel good knowing you’re working toward making a difference. Through the year, you may start to notice these changes forming long-term habits and your lifestyle changing for the better!
Interested in learning more about going solar? Check out our free ebook, Going Solar 101.