A new year is on the horizon, and with it brings a clean slate. The ability for you to have some goals for the new year and a clear start date. Most New Years resolutions end as quickly as the year begins. With the biggest contributing factor being a lack of purpose behind the statements.
We all want to get fit, be healthy, and live more in the moment. But without a strong reason behind our goals, we can sometimes lack the conviction to continue these mantra’s throughout the year and further in life.
Here are 5 New Years Resolutions you can make, which will not only bring satisfaction into your life but have a strong environmental impact also.
1. Eat less Meat
It is a clear first step in not only the health of the planet but also your whole body wellbeing. Removing meat from your diet can greatly improve your overall health. And reducing your consumption of meat is the best thing you can do for the planet. But let’s start with a few facts about meat consumption and the environment.
- Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.[I]
- Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.[I]
Important to note, fish is also a type of meat, the impact on the environment by overfishing is a real and impending issue.
- 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted.[I]
- For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill.[I]
It is estimated that everyday vegan you save 4164 litres of water, 30sq ft of forest, 9kgs of Co2, 18kgs of grain and 1 animals life. [I]
Ideally, removing meat from your diet completely is the goal. But it requires a complete change in the way you think about food.
We recommend you try the following steps to make this an easier goal to reach.
- Start slow. Remove meat from your diet a number of days during the week and work you way up to eliminating it completely. Your decisions, even on a small scale, have a large impact.
- Use Pinterest. Type your favourite meal in and type ‘vegan’ at the end of it. You will find every single meal you ever want in a vegan version there.
2. Don’t accept plastic or buy plastic
Plastic waste was arguably the biggest environmental issue in 2018 and will continue in the future. As we know, all plastic still exists. It may not be in the form that we bought it, but as plastic breaks down it becomes smaller. These smaller pieces are called micro-plastics and can be found everywhere.
A recent documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’ explores the centre of the Pacific Ocean gyre and discovers more plastic than plankton. As they continue to explore, they document how plastic finds its way to our oceans, breaks into smaller particles, is consumed and enters the food chain of ocean dwelling animals and eventually is consumed by humans.
There are many ways to reduce and reuse plastics, but the biggest change you can make is to remove plastic from your purchase behavior. This, however, is not an easy thing to achieve and it will take time to condition your buying habits.
Start slow and look for alternates with the plastics you buy for the kitchen and your meals. You can then look at other areas of the house, like the bathroom, and see if there are any other alternatives you can use.
3. Keep Cup or Sit Down
Takeaway coffee cups are lined on the inside with a plastic film, making them notoriously difficult to recycle. And most never even make it there no matter what bin you put them in because recycling streams are usually contaminated by supposedly ‘compostable’ or ‘biodegradable’ cups and lids that never actually compost or biodegrade because most places don’t have the infrastructure to do it. (War on Waste)
It is estimated Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s approximately 2,700,000 paper coffee cups thrown out every day! (Sustainable Campus)
When you leave the house, make sure you grab your keep cup along with your reusable shopping bag/tote and water bottle. If you don’t have one or are away without it, take the time to sit down at the cafe and drink your latte. It will only take 5 minutes, but it will save another disposable cup from going to landfill (and never decomposing).
4. Ditch Dairy
We touched on meat consumption being a leader in environmental decay, but often the dairy industry sits to the side and is unnoticed.
Here are some facts specific to the Dairy industry:
- A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. [I]
- The dairy industry uses 10% of all water in Australia. While 550 litres of water are used to produce enough flour for a loaf of bread, a whopping 1020 litres of water to needed to create 1L of milk. [II]
A report by MotherJones shows the amount of water used to grow the crops needed for cows to produce our favorite dairy products:
- 1 cup of yogurt requires 132 litres
- 1 scoop of ice cream requires 159 litres
- 2 slices of cheese require 189 litres
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt requires 340 litres
- 1 stick of butter requires 412 litres
Luckily, the dairy industry is rapidly becoming exchangeable for plant-based alternatives. Nut milk is readily available and you can get amazing dairy-free cheese everywhere.
Use these easy swap-outs for the essentials:
Butter – Use Nuttlex
Yoghurt – Use Coconut Yoghurt (Aldi have a cheap and delicious option)
Ice-Cream – There are plenty on the market, including Ben & Jerry’s Vegan options and Over The Moo.
Cheese – Use Sheese, or buy from a local producer.
5. Avoid Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is the term given to fashion that hits the runway, straight to stores, then changes within a short timeframe. Often fast fashion changes on a weekly or monthly basis and with this quick change, there is a created need to constantly be buying new clothes. Keeping up with fashion, and discarding the fashion of a month ago to the trash.
According to Ragtrader, Every 10 minutes, 6 tonnes of clothing goes to Aussie landfills
How to change:
Use The Fashion Guide Checker to check the clothing label
Whether you add all 5 to your resolutions or just one, you can know that your small changes will make an impact on the environment. Not only for your time on this beautiful planet but for future generations.
Happy New Year.
If you are looking for some more facts and information, you can watch a number of these documentaries that cover all the topics from Ethics, Environmental and your Health.