For some people, New Year’s Eve comes and goes without much significance. But for many, New Years signifies a new chance to try again and renew ourselves with resolutions for a better year [ or another good year if we killed it in 2016 ]. And so many resolutions sound like ‘I will __[ fill in this blank ]___ more’, or ‘I will have more ___[ something or other]___’, or ‘I will save up for ___[ whatever it is that we want to buy]___’.
A lot of resolutions revolve around money, *fun*, or losing weight [ which may also include more: more equipment, more work out clothing that looks super cute and is going to motivate you to get your sweat on ].
So, with our dear planet in mind, I’d like to suggest some greener resolutions, that don’t cost any money and may in fact save you some, that revolve around less instead of more:
Dip your toes in the minimalist pool
Spend time this year purging, sorting through clutter, asking yourself ‘is this going to help me? do I need it?’ before bringing home new purchases. There is even a new Minimalism documentary on Netflix if you are looking for inspiration.
Minimalism will cost you nothing. And as you gain the hang of it, whether your fully dive in or not, you will likely save money and the planet along the way as you choose against buying things you don’t need. This is a calm and peaceful resolution that may be very simple to achieve. It is definitely liberating to let go of the stuff and focus on what really brings you happiness.
I also found this TedX Talk by Angela Horne inspiring:
Start with an item a day. Keep going for 30 days. See how you feel.
Grow your own food.
Gardening is empowering, therapeutic, cheap [ or free! ], and fulfilling. If you want a measure of how well you’re doing, you just need to look at your plants, remember ‘I did that’, and prepare to eat them when fully grown. I am a really big advocate for investing time and effort in growing edibles which are often just as beautiful as decorative plants, but you get to enjoy them twice: watch them grow, then down the hatch!
My sister is an expert gardener – planning and planting a huge garden each year on her property that yields enough food for her family to munch on for months. I’m more of a permanent newbie. Without a lot of outdoor space. But lucky me, there are tons of gardening resources out there like this one from Jerry James Stone that can inspire you to start growing on your windowsill or in small spaces if needed:
Spend time in nature.
This one may accidentally also help you get fitter or lose weight. But that’s beyond the point. Spending time in nature calms the brain, inspires hope, raises dopamine levels, helping you let go of the overwhelm and feel happier.
An easy way to get inspired is to check out David Suzuki’s 30 by 30 challenge which promises When you love nature, Nature loves you back.
This is one you can dabble in as well, if you’re not ready to go all in. Meat is an environmentally expensive food to produce: it costs farmland [ which, in turn, costs us natural spaces ], toxins from waste, transportation, and can be quite pricey in the grocery store. Any time you substitute a vegetarian meal you are doing a solid for the planet.
There are plenty of vegetarian recipe sites and cookbooks to learn from, or you can teach yourself. Some of my favorite vegetarian meals are super simple and quick to cook. Like sweet potato ‘pulled pork’ sandwiches:
- carmelize some onions,
- add shredded sweet potato
- and barbecue sauce,
- saute until soft,
- and eat in a sandwich with coleslaw.
You’ll never miss the meat! So liberate yourself from meat, and the hefty price tag attached, and invest in the veg. If you are looking for more inspiration, I recommend Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon to get you started
Drink more water [ and less junk ]
This is the first recommendation that Zero Waste Chef makes in her blog post 6 Resolutions to Waste Less in 2017. Checkout her post here: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/56226458/posts/1280811978.
Water is essential and is free. Drinking from your tap is a political gesture saying no to bottles, no to commercializing a natural resource, no to refined drinks that aren’t good for your body.
Lead on you revolutionary!