Happy New Year! Sadly, global carbon emissions reached an all-time in 2018, but there are lots of ways to help the planet. The good news is that Americans are becoming very aware and concerned about climate change. If you love lists as much as we do, we’ve compiled a few ideas on how you can join us in making 2019 our greenest year yet!
It’s super easy to register to vote online. You can choose to have your ballot mailed to you or go to the polls in person. It’s critical to support politicians who have the planet’s best interests in mind and not those who don’t. More green initiatives like Washington’s carbon tax will be coming to your ballot in the near future, so be ready!
2. Become a conscientious consumer
We aren’t saying you shouldn’t have nice things – just try to make purposeful purchases that are intended to last for many years (ideally not things you will want to upgrade six months later). Shop locally instead of online, in order to save on packaging and emissions from transport, and buy used instead of new. Your purchases reflect what you want to support – so choose carefully!
3. Start small
No one is perfect, and we don’t expect anyone to do everything we suggest on this blog. Even if buying a Tesla or installing solar panels isn’t in your budget at the moment, there are lots of little zero waste swaps that can end up making a big difference, like using a stainless steel straw, bamboo toothbrush, or reusable menstrual pads. You can try using reusable produce bags, buying items in bulk or unpackaged, using bar soap from companies like this packaging-conscious brand, and collecting green waste in your kitchen in a compost bin. One small thing will make a difference.
4. Eat less red meat
One of the big contributing factors to climate change with regard to food the production of meat. Beef, in particular is harmful to the environment, since it requires 28 times more land and 11 times more water than chicken. Compared to chicken and turkey, beef releases five times more emissions. If meat is a necessary part of your diet, do your best to source organic, sustainably farmed, local meat. You could also follow in the steps of Paul McCartney and try out Meatless Monday.
5. Drive less
Cars are big contributors to climate change (the average car emits 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide every year), and depending on where you live, there are some awesome alternatives. Check out our Transportation post to learn more about your options. Maybe you can give carpooling or taking public transit to work one day a week a shot. Maybe use the holiday sales to get a bike and enjoy riding around your town!
6. Unsubscribe from junk mail
Junk mail is a useless waste of paper, transportation, and frankly, your time. De-clutter your mailbox with a few easy steps! Take a look at our post on Junk Mail to find out how.
7. Switch to renewable energy sources
It’s remarkably easy to select 100% renewable energy sources for your home or office’s electricity. You’ll receive electricity the same way as usual, except the energy will be renewable. Our post on Electricity explains this in more detail, but feel free to comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more help.
8. Go outside
Spend some time with the plants and animals you’re trying to preserve. National and state parks are a great way to spend a weekend or vacation. Plus, you might even get some vitamin D and exercise out of the deal – no annual gym membership needed!
Host a beach clean up with your buddies, plant some trees, or search on Volunteer Match for environmental volunteering opportunities in your area. Even charities that are not specifically environmental are great way to bring a community together and improve your town. Check out local shelters! This is a fun, free way to meet others who share your interests and make a positive impact on the planet and your community.
10. Learn to garden
This can mean adding a few potted plants to your windowsill or beginning an organic neighborhood vegetable garden. Interpret it however you like – the environment is grateful for any new vegetation, since plants sequester carbon and purify the air.
Disclaimer: We receive no financial compensation for any of the products recommended or shared anywhere in this blog.