Happy New Year! It’s that time again; a new year, a new year’s resolution. However, this upcoming year is in desperate need of our environmental focus. A global effort needs to be made to reduce climate change and prevent irreversible damage. So, what better way to kick start your year than with a new year’s resolution that will help not only yourself, but the environment?
If you’re still struggling for resolution ideas, here are six we’ve come up with!
Grow your own vegetables
If you’re looking for a new hobby, or something active to see through the year, then why not start growing your own vegetables? Growing your own veg is an incentive to eat organic foods, which you know haven’t been sprayed with damaging pesticides or treated carelessly. You aren’t paying for food miles, and it gives you quality time outdoors, keeping you active. Most importantly, home grown veg tastes ten times nicer! Have a read about DMU’s herb garden to better understand some of the benefits from growing your own veg; https://sustainabledmu.wordpress.com/2018/11/09/139-steps-to-sustainability/.
Cook from scratch
It may be a good idea to revolutionise the way you eat with your cooking. This may sound easy, but it is definitely a challenge worth taking on. Buying processed food not only uses single-use plastic, but it most likely doesn’t give you the nutrients you need. Cooking from scratch, and knowing what goes into your food, is a routine which your body and mind will thank you for. Purchasing locally sourced produce (if you don’t fancy growing your own) limits food miles and pumps money into local businesses; big co-operations won’t miss you, but local companies appreciate your custom. You are also limiting plastic waste as plastic microwave meals often go unrecycled. Finally, cooking can be fun! It can be an activity to do with the family, or it can allow you to experiment and test yourself. You may find yourself unwinding and enjoying the process of cooking, and you can discover a whole new palette when you stray from what you know.
Eat quality meat and eat less of it
Meat such as chicken and beef have become prevalent in the majority of peoples meals, and is definitely a go-to for most of us. However, eating high quantities of processed meat can cause serious health risks such as heart disease, obesity and cancer. Cutting out some meat during your weekly diet and replacing it with plant alternatives can not only prevent these health risks, but they can help the environment too. The meat industry is responsible for carbon emissions more so than all transport in the world put together. Therefore, cutting meat from your diet may be a great option for your resolution. The RSPCA approve certain farmed animals to assure you that your meat is coming from a farm which cares for its animal’s welfare. If you don’t want to cut out meat entirely, try looking out for the ‘RSPCA Assured’ label on products. Click the link for more information https://www.berspcaassured.org.uk/benefits-to-your-business/the-rspca-brand/.
Take public transport/cycle/walk
It may seem cliché, but opting to use public transport or to cycle/walk in the New Year could make all the difference. Check local bus timetables, invest in a second hand bike or simply delete the Uber app and walk to your destination as a pledge to relieve the world of its carbon threat. It doesn’t only reduce carbon emissions, but it is healthy for the body and mind. Getting that extra bit of exercise in before and after work/university/school can improve your focus, energy and attitude for the day. Also, it cuts down on fuel spending saving you money! If you’re a student or staff member and want to learn more about what services DMU supplies for greener transport, follow this link: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/transport.
Pledging to recycle more is an easy yet effective resolution. It’s a concept which everyone is familiar with, but often forget to do! Plastic waste littering our oceans and streets is turning into a serious crisis that will become our permanent reality if we don’t make a change now. To put the plastic crisis into context, ‘The Garbage Patch’ is an island of rubbish situated in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California. It is referred to as a trash vortex, thought to be the size of Texas; this is global waste which has washed out into the oceans disrupting marine wildlife. It is an issue that is only going to grow, and we will see the catastrophic consequences in our lifetime unless we make an effort to stop it. If you want to make an extra effort to prevent plastic waste, don’t purchase single-use plastics such as water bottles, and purchase a thermal mug or a reusable bottle.
Making a conscious effort to purchase Fairtrade products can help people across the globe. Whilst conventional trade often leaves hard workers in LEDC’s with less than they deserve, Fairtrade gives you and workers the certification that all employees have a decent living wage, life support, and the freedom to make their own choices. With this, Fairtrade always keep the environment in mind. They ensure that they don’t destruct wildlife, reduce their greenhouse consumption and avoid toxic pesticides. By helping to support Fairtrade, you are paying for quality products and food which are grown and distributed sustainably. It’s a win win! Look out for the Fairtrade mark on products from Jan 1st onwards and enjoy knowing you’re not only buying for yourself, but other people who need it. Follow this link to learn more about what Fairtrade do and how you can get involved; https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/.