Come January 1st, most of us will make big promises to ourselves in the effort to make a better us. More often than not, these resolutions are a just a distant memory a month later. So, at Carbon Smart, we encourage you to do something a little different in 2017. Rather than going for the same old ‘I will go to the gym this year’, or ‘I will stop drinking so much’ resolutions in the pursuit for a better you, why not try and help create a better world with your New Year’s resolutions?
Here are our top 5 picks for New Year’s resolutions that will help you and the planet.
- Eat less animal products
While meat consumption continues to rise exponentially globally, people are becoming more aware of the damaging environmental and social effects the animal agriculture industry has. Not only is the meat industry responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all global transport (yes, that’s cars, busses, trains, boats, and aeroplanes), but a diet based on animal proteins is a leading cause of food insecurity. This is because animal products are far less efficient than plant foods, as they require considerably more land, water and grains to produce.You don’t have to switch to being vegan on January 1st (unless you want to!), but small changes to your diet could make a big difference. You could do ‘Meatless Mondays’, or maybe cut out red meat from your diet. Red meat such as beef uses 28 times more land and 11 times more water than pork or chicken – so if you are to cut out one meat, this will make the biggest difference. In fact, experts say that cutting out beef will reduce your carbon footprint more than stopping using your car.
- Reduce your reliance on your car
Cars account for 79% of all motor vehicle traffic – they have travelled 244.4 billion miles in the UK in 2014. The majority of these trips can be taken by other methods, such as bus, train, cycling or, best of all, walking. Now, this one can help achieve your fitness goals as well as reduce your carbon footprint – win win! Check whether your workplace offers the Cycle to Work Scheme – a great way to help you buy a bike, and if it doesn’t – suggest it!
- Buy less, buy better
We live in a world of over consumption, where people are prioritising quantity over quality. With this comes increased production emissions, an extraordinary amount of waste and the possibility of modern slavery. When you buy something make sure that you ask yourself 1) do I really need it? and 2) it is ethically sourced? When shopping, opt for high-quality goods that will last and do your research. Of course, buying Fairtrade and local produce are easy ways to shop smarter.
- Make your home energy efficient
Energy used in homes accounts for more than a quarter of energy use and carbon emissions in the UK – a larger proportion than any other sector. Therefore, ensuring our homes are energy efficient is a great way to reduce our carbon footprints. This can come from simple fixes such as installing a new, more efficient boiler, drought-proofing measures, or installing more efficient lighting. If you have already implemented these measures, why not go the extra mile and install renewable power such as solar panels – these will reduce your bills and can even generate profit.
- Have a flight-free year
It is estimated that flying alone accounts for 13 – 15% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions. On top of that, flying is predominantly used for leisure purposes, and therefore can really be avoided! We often forget that the UK has some stunning holiday destinations, most of which can be easily accessed via car or train. If you must go abroad, Europe is only a drive or train ride away!
There are many more ways to reduce the impact on climate change and every one of us can help to make sustainability work. The most important thing is to take action now.
Happy New & Sustainable Year from all of us at Carbon Smart!