New Year’s resolutions: Go green!

Stop smoking, doing more exercise, less stress – well, these are all nice New Year’s resolutions. However, why not think beyond these typical resolutions?

I am not going to bother you with unrealistic resolutions that nobody will stick to anyway. Instead I am giving you simple tips to act responsibly towards nature, the environment and personal consumption. Here we go!

Resolution No. 1 – Stop wasting food

Everyone knows what I’m talking about: you’ve bought too many groceries, you’ve cooked too much – and the leftovers are thrown in the bin. What stays is guilty conscience. This happens to lots of food. However with the following simple tricks you can save some resources and your money.

  • Just because the product is two days over the minimum durability date (MDD) does not mean it is bad, smell and taste it and trust your senses!
  • Buy seasonal and regional products which are better for the climate and the environment. They stay  fresh for longer and haven’t had a long way to travel to be on your plate.
  • Buy the ugly vegetables! Lots of customers expect perfectly formed carrots, cucumbers and apples. However, does it really matter what they look like? Give the ugly vegetables a chance and buy them.
  • And this might be the most important tip: Just buy what you need!

Resolution No. 2 – Sharing is caring

“Sharing” is the new “buying” – there are so many things which just make more sense to share than to buy yourself. Here some examples:

  • Gardens: Some people own a garden but have no time or just don’t enjoy gardening. Others love to spend time in gardens but don’t have one. Elderly people especially need people to look after their gardens – why not share them? People can grow their own food and the owners are happy that someone can use their garden. That’s a win-win situation.
  • Apartments: Obviously, most people just live with “strangers” because of financial reasons. However, by living together with other people you save resources like heating, you share wifi-costs, electricity, you might even cook together. This helps to save the environment and you might make new friends for life.
  • Cars: Well, I don’t have to tell you how bad cars are for the environment but have you ever realized that most of the time just one person is sitting in the car while driving to work? Why not share your car with others? Or by giving them a lift you might even get money for it and have someone to talk to!

Resolution No. 3 – Eat less meat and animal products

It is easier than you think to go without meat and animal products. Nobody expects you to switch to a vegan lifestyle in one day. The keyword is reduction: an effective way to change your eating habits is to buy less but of a better quality.

Consuming less milk, cheese (I know it’s hard in the Netherlands – but I believe in you!), eggs and especially meat is an important contribution to protect nature and the climate. Furthermore it can help your body to get fitter, healthier and as a result happier.

So what about “Meatless on Monday” or “Vegan Friday”?

Resolution No. 4 – Green your home(office)

You cannot imagine how much potential lays in greening your home. Just little changes can make a huge difference and most of them will effect your pocket – in a good way. Here are some examples:

  • Save paper:
    • Use old sheets of paper for scrap paper or note-taking
    • copy two-sided
    • use the Arial Narrow font to save 15% of ink
    • switch to electronic payment and billing services
    • take your name off unwanted catalogue and newspaper subscription
  • Save electricity:
    • turn off your computer whenever you are not using it
    • shut down the heating when you are gone for the holidays
    • repaint your walls or lighten up your space
    • eliminate unnecessary lightning
  • Cook green:
    • cooking with a lid costs one third less energy thana “topless” pot. Choosing the fitting hotplate can help in wasting heat.
    • Using a water heater instead of the hotplate needs less energy and is faster than heating up a pot of water. If you heat up a litre of water everyday, you can save up to 40 Euros or 90 kilograms of CO2.
    • Food cools best at a temperature of around 6 to 7 degrees. For the freezer, which likes to stand in the basement – a temperature of minus 18 degrees is the best. Place your fridge and freezer where it’s already cold – so away from heaters, stove or dishwasher.

Whatever New Year’s resolutions you’ve chosen, I think these tips will last you throughout the year. And even though you might think you cannot make a difference to the worlds problems – I know you can! If you have any more great New Year’s resolutions, feel free to share them with me with a comment. Thank you!

Now I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and lots of fun by changing our planet for the better.

Cheers!

 

Sources:

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

http://www.greenchoices.org/news/category/blog-posts

http://www.wwf.de/aktiv-werden/tipps-fuer-den-alltag/energie-spartipps/strom-sparen/

http://www.greenlivingonline.com/article/yes-you-can-healthy-new-year%E2%80%99s-resolutions

Picture:

So What Were You’re Green New Year’s Resolutions?


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