When you’re coming up with a resolution for 2017, why not take a look outside of yourself? While everyone else is vowing to take more walks or finally lose those last 10 pounds – all admirable goals, of course – you could be seizing the opportunity to make the world a better place for everyone.
You probably already know that the planet took quite a beating last year. From rampant pollution and fracking to deforestation, 2016 was not a very good year for the earth. While you might not be able to reverse the entire planet’s fortunes on your own, if everyone made a resolution with the earth in mind, some real changes could take place. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
If you are not already recycling all of your garbage, that should be your first priority. However, if you are one of the many people who already do that, it’s time to take it up to the next level: aim for a completely waste-free home. Do not accept items that will clutter your home and contribute to the waste problem, like business cards, junk mail, flyers and party favors. Avoid single-use items like plastic bags and paper plates. Buy unpackaged food, or better yet, grow it yourself.
If the health-related reasons aren’t enough for you to cut processed meat out of your diet, such as its potential to increase your cancer risk, your concern for the environment should be motivation enough. In fact, cutting down on your consumption of all animal food products is one of the biggest ways you can reduce your environmental footprint. It’s easier than you think; you’ll find lots of simple plant-based swaps you can make to the dishes you eat now and will likely discover plenty of new favorites to enjoy as well. Even if you are unable or unwilling to cut out meat entirely, any reduction you make will help the environment as well as your body.
It has never been more important to choose organic food than it is in 2017. Stick with food that is grown organically and locally as much as possible. Avoid junk food and fast food, which is far more likely to contain GMOs. In addition to being extremely bad for your health, GMOs are putting the bee population at risk and preventing them from carrying out vital pollination, and they are also dangerous to butterflies and birds. The environmental damage caused by GMOs is widespread and goes far beyond human health, and it also has a negative social and ethical impact, so don’t support these practices when you’re shopping for food.
Join a volunteer group that is making a difference in your area, whether it entails cleaning up a local park or river or planting trees. Better yet, if you’re the self-starting type, why not find a service your community is lacking and start up your own volunteer group? You might also want to consider volunteering to teach a class in a local community education center if you have an environmentally friendly talent, such as making natural beauty products or cooking plant-based foods.
You might already buy organic food, but are you thinking of the environment with your other purchases? Whether you’re buying clothes, cosmetics, or home goods, be sure you are patronizing companies that have the environment in mind. Look out for labels such as “fair trade” and “ethical production”. Buy items made from organic and sustainable materials that are easily recyclable or truly biodegradable. Look for recycled or repurposed goods, and make sure your beauty products are cruelty-free. You should also try to mend your clothes or fix broken items before buying new ones.
Let’s make 2017 a better year for the earth!