7 new decade resolutions for the planet
Becoming a minimal to zero waste household is not the only goal our family is committing to for the planet. We plan to completely transform our lifestyle! Here are 7 sustainable actions we pledge to take to further reduce our carbon footprint in the new decade:
Eat satisfying plant-based meals
Meat hasn't been a big part of our diet for a while now--maybe once every other 2-3 weeks?--for health, ethical and environmental reasons. And while we'd love to go "cold turkey" on turkey today, it isn't a very realistic approach for us and will only result in a very grumpy husband. Instead, we will continue to cut it down and replace it with more nutritious, delicious plant-based meals that satisfy the palate until it completely curbs if not replaces our craving for meat.
Writing up this part alone makes me want to steer completely away from animal flesh because I understand its impact on the environment. Just right after fossil fuels, "animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss".
Thankfully, demand for plant-based foods continue to increase which means there are more options for us to choose from, whether it be easily-accessible ingredients, recipes, restaurants, etc. This will make our goal to wean off meat by the end of the year easier to attain.
Don't fall for fast fashion
The fashion industry spends millions on advertising to get you caught up on "the latest trends", and mass-market fashion retailers like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 are capitalizing on it by mass producing cheap knockoffs at the cost of the environment. Spending the first part of my career in the industry, I have always been aware of this, which is part of the reason why I left and try to avoid what's going on in the fashion and entertainment industry altogether.
But sometimes, I can't help but turn to this industry for inspiration when I want to feel good about myself and dress nicely, although I keep it to a minimal and only buy things that I will use more than once. This rule applies to my husband as well. However, we plan to forgo this completely this year, and will only turn to consignment shops if we really need something.
Keep it natural, organic & green for our little cub
I think most parents will agree with me when I say this: we only want the best for our little cub. To us, the best means natural, organic, and green as much as we possibly can, without depriving her of a normal childhood experience.
So far, what we've done include regularly exposing her to nature; feeding her homemade foods consisting of organic fruits, vegetables and grains; choosing green toys over plastic; and most important of all, finding a daycare with the same beliefs. I'm certain this list will grow as she grows.
Choose an eco-friendly vehicle
We will soon be in the market for a new vehicle and will be more eco-conscious when making a selection because personal vehicles are a major cause of global warming. Cars and trucks alone emit "about 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas, which is 1/5 of all US emissions". We are keen to choose electric, as long as it meets our safety and reliability requirements for our little precious cargo.
Learn how to compost
I've joined the local Zero Waste group to connect with people who aspire to achieve and/or are expert in zero waste living, and one of the things I hope to learn through the group is composting, whether at home or at an industrial composting facility. Composting is pretty much the process of rotting stuff so it breaks down into tiny, little pieces and goes back to the earth. Here are easy guidelines that has helped me get started.
Subscribe to a community solar farm
Because of Governor Cuomo's bold initiative to become 100% clean power by 2040 which he announced last year, more and more community solar farms are becoming available throughout New York. This means being able to take advantage of all the benefits of solar energy without having to install solar panels on your rooftop. Here's more on how community solar farms work.
Our family has been very good about turning off lights and unplugging appliances that we do not use. We only use energy efficient lightbulbs and have also installed blackout curtains to keep our energy use to a minimum. So, as soon as it becomes available to us, we will be subscribing to a community solar farm to further reduce the carbon footprint coming from our home (while saving money on our electricity bill).
Get involved locally
Our family doesn't just want to sit in the sidelines when it comes to fighting for our planet. We think it's crucial now more than ever to put pressure on elected officials to prioritize creating and passing policies that protect and preserve the environment. Then it's up to us to encourage our neighbors to live by these rules. Climate change is real, and as cliche as it sounds, there is no planet B. We plan to be involved through advocacy, education, and volunteering in our area and around the world. Our future depends on it too much for any of us to sit it out.
Refuse single-use plastic
And of course, we can't forget about this little act of impact. Every single-use plastic we refuse is one less ending up in our oceans. Not using single-use plastic is probably one of the hardest habits to break because we have been inundated by it for many decades, it's become a big part of our lifestyle.
That's why we opened our little ecoshop, to help individuals and families ease out of this bad habit. Change doesn't happen overnight, but as long as you are taking small steps every day, we will applaud you for your effort. We understand this because our family is in the same situation. All you have to do is take the first step.