It’s that time of year again – the time for celebrations, welcoming the new year ahead and of course, resolutions. I, like many others, have fallen prey to making unrealistic, potentially even unachievable resolutions that leave you feeling defeated and even a little drained. I’ve done them all but this year I encourage you to make some more sustainable, environmentally-friendly resolutions that will help both you and the planet. Here are my top three suggestions for sustainable goals/challenges that will bring you (and our wonderful world) joy in 2022!
- Shop small & shop local
You’ve probably heard this phrase or similar a lot before but this time let’s act on it and support small businesses when we’re shopping in 2022. If you’re used to finding all of your clothing in big high street retailers you’re not alone – a huge proportion of the UK’s population does too. A lot of these retailers are affordable and offer a large range of different options but they’re just not as environmentally friendly as they could be. Often these companies promote fast, disposable fashion – i.e. once a “trend” is out you’re encouraged to buy the new trends and discard the old which is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. As well as shopping small and local, you should be getting the most out of your clothes – repair them if they break (hello new year hobby?) & only replace them when they’re completely unwearable.
With the rise of slow fashion it’s easier than ever to find affordable, sustainable clothing options both online and in-store. Not only are you supporting a small business and helping them grow but you’re also telling big businesses that fast fashion just isn’t it and that you’re done with it! Small retailers have much smaller productions which generate so much less waste. They also promote the use of local materials which vastly reduces the carbon footprint of each item of clothing produced. If you can shop both small AND local you’ll be doing so much good for the environment and encouraging others to do the same!
2. Swap out meat for alternatives
This is one that I’m personally going to be doing a lot more than I did in 2021. I started off with good intentions of reducing my meat intake but I’ll admit I haven’t made as many swaps as I’d like. Swapping out meat for meat-free alternatives not only is often much healthier for your body but it is also so much more environmentally friendly. Meat production is a very carbon emission heavy process – from the methane from cows to the energy used in manufacturing. I tried to eat less meat a few years ago but found that the tastier meat-free alternatives were just way out of my then student budget so I stopped. However, times have changed and now you can access a huge range of delicious meat-free alternatives in any supermarket for affordable prices (often the meat products are more expensive).
There’s such a huge range of meat-free options now – it’s no longer just plain quorn mince! I’ve tried a huge range of different things with my personal favourites being the Meatless Farm products. They’re almost always on offer in most of the major supermarkets and they make such delicious “burgers” and “mincemeat”. If you’re more into protein there are also loads of options from chicken-less burgers to tasty meat-free nuggets (a personal favourite too!). Why not start by making at least one of your meals each week meat-free and then increase as you discover more meat-free delicacies.
3. Get reading
This is a great one to combine with a 2022 reading challenge (I’m doing the Good Reads one). There is no such thing as being too well-read on environmental issues so why not brush up your knowledge and maybe learn something new by diving into a new environmental issues read? I’ve given myself the challenge to read more for what seems like endless new years resolutions in a row but have always struggled to keep it up. However, I find when you’re passionate about a topic (i.e. the environment) then it’s a breeze to pick up a book and get reading! If you’re struggling where to start, Waterstones have a section on their website entitled “Costing the Earth: The Essential Environment Texts” containing books that are absolute must-reads. I’m challenging myself to read the ones I haven’t already in 2022. The books are all affordable and a lot of them are even in the January sale at the moment so why not spend some of your holiday money wisely?
I hope these suggestions may help in guiding your own sustainable new years resolutions and I wish you all a very happy & environmentally conscious 2022!