Published on December 30th, 2016 | by Andrea Bertoli
5 Sustainable Lifestyle Resolutions for 2017
I truly enjoy the holiday season– it feels as if everyone is allowed a fresh start, and everyone is filled with the energy of renewal and regrowth.
Either way, New Year’s offers a feeling of reset, and many of us turn towards resolutions to plan ahead for a better self and/or a healthier mindset. But this year it is more important than ever to think beyond ourselves and consider the plight of our planet under the Trump regime.
This Year, Resolve to Vote with Your Dollars
In every way, it seems that Trump is set to undermine the climate progress we’ve made over the past decade. But consumers have a ton of power to fight back with simple, daily actions that can have huge impacts. Each day we can vote with our dollars to choose a more sustainable planet, and a better future for us all.
The best part is that these small ideas listed below are good all around: whether you chose to embrace one or all of the actions below, you can be confident that each of these changes will make a positive planetary impact AND a positive personal impact. These are my favorite tips based on things I’ve learned over the past few years, that help bring peace into my life and help me live in alignment with my values.
1. Embrace Minimalism
Embracing a minimalist lifestyle in the face of television commercials, product placements, online advertising and so much more is really, really challenging. I think the hardest time of year is the holiday season, when everyone is shopping until dropping. But once the holiday frenzy is over, take a pause and really think about where you are spending your money, the impact it has on the planet, and how you can make changes.
There are lots of ways to embrace minimalism: maybe it starts with your wardrobe, maybe it starts with your digital life, maybe it starts with cleaning out the garage. However you start (this minimalism challenge could be helpful!), know that embracing a more minimalist lifestyle can be really helpful to inspiring more conscious consumerism and better purchases.
2. Take Care of your Appliances
Your appliances all need a helping hand to make them run more efficiently and extend their lifespan. Not only does appliance optimization save you the headache of broken down appliances, it can save you money too!
Cleaning the coils on your refrigerator can improve efficiency by 15-25%, and snaking your dryer lint vent can improve your dryer’s speed, effectiveness, and reduce a huge fire hazard. Even something as small as adding aluminum foil to the drip trays on your stovetop can improve efficiency and help keep the stovetop looking better, longer. Give your appliances a little love throughout the year to ensure they keep working for as long as possible.
3. Initiate Energy Efficiency Upgrades
Take energy into your own hands and keep it away from the utilities by making energy efficiency upgrades throughout the home.
Improving your lighting with LEDs and right-sizing, along with upgrading shower heads and faucet aerators are just a few of the things you can do. With a bit of upfront investment, these upgrades will pay for themselves with reduced water and energy bills for the short- and long-term.
4. Drive less, Share More, Bike Most
Ridesharing apps are ubiquitous now, making it easier than ever to get out of your own car and share the ride with others. Choosing a rideshare or carpool option can help reduce the total emissions you give off during a daily commute, circling for parking, and running errands.
Rideshares are not a perfect solution (since it’s still involves a car), but I’ve found that about half of the Lyft rides I take are in hybrids, so that helps a lot with overall emissions (but there is still some question about how green these services are). If you do need to use a car, the best option is to carpool with as many people as possible. But, as much as possible, take public transit to save money and emissions. And once it’s warmer, you can maybe even get on your bike to commute as much as possible to burn fat instead of fuel!
5. Resolve to use less Plastic
Plastic is super convenient, but it’s really terrible for our whole planet: bad for our bodies, bad for our animal friends, and for our oceans. Plastic is ending up in our ecosystems, in the food chain, in our bodies. And for every plastic item you buy or use, there is almost always a more sustainable solution. The easy solutions are choosing reusable shopping bags, avoiding single use plastic generally, ditching bottled water, asking for no straws at restaurants and bars, and using glass straws when needed.
If you want to up it a notch, you can learn more about zero waste grocery shopping, making your own homemade foods rather than buying them, and take on the 100 item challenge of living a plastic-free life!