Be green in 2019!
New Year, new you! A positive change that anyone can make, whether you’re into resolutions or not, is to be more green in 2019. Here are some positive, easy changes that you can make in your life to make a lighter impact on the planet.
Eat less meat.
It’s no secret that the production of meat for consumption is heavy on the earth, your health, and the welfare of the animals. Eating less meat in your diet can have an amazing impact on your health, one example is by lowering your risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in men and women. It can lower your carbon footprint by saving 15,415 liters of water for every kilogram of beef you don't eat and stop your contribution towards the abuse of millions of farmed animals each year. There is many ways to get involved! You could participate in Weekday Vegetarian, where you eat vegetarian for the week, and continue your regular diet on the weekends. There’s also Veganuary, where you go vegan for the month of January to make a positive impact (it’s still not too late to sign up!). Or, of course, there is Meatless Monday, where you don’t eat any meat on Mondays. Eating less meat is also a more frugal way to live and can save you cash.
Skip the car ride.
Reduce your carbon footprint on how you travel. When possible, try walking, biking, using public transport, or carpooling to reduce your gas emissions. The exercise is good for you, and less gas means more money in your pocket!
Simply taking a shorter shower or replacing your shower head with a water efficient head can save over a thousand gallons of water a year per person. Don't forget to turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, too!
Always turn down use of single-use plastics like plastic bottles, straws, disposable cutlery, coffee stirrers, to-go containers, and the like. Single-use plastics are often not get recycled and don't make it to a landfill. A study found that 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans. This is the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. Plastic harms people, the planet, and the animals we share it with.
Be light on electricity.
When possible, use natural sunlight to light your house and turn off lights in rooms you’re not in. Unplug electronics from outlets that aren’t being used as they continue to use electricity even though you aren’t using them, and can equate to 10% of your monthly power bill! Keep the thermostat low during the day especially if you’ll be out of the house for a few days.
Make sure to reuse and recycle plastic bags. One trillion plastic bags are used every year, and only 1% are recycled. Use cloth bags when shopping as most grocery stores will give you a small credit for every bag you bring and use. Always carry a reusable bottle with you to avoid contributing to the 1,000,000 bottles that are used per minute globally of which 91% are not recycled. Upcycle and find new purposes for old items by using fun DIY guides. Donate unneeded items to animal shelters like empty prescription bottles, old sheets, towels and blankets, just to name a few.
Buying local and in season means you know where you get your food from, and in turn, supporting your local economy with less “food miles”. Most meals on average can travel about 745 miles to get from the farm to your plate, so buying local means less transportation emissions. Pro-tip - shop at farmers markets at the end of the day! Most vendors would rather mark down food prices or make you a deal on the produce to prevent them from taking it back with them.
Being green has never been easier with the awareness of the plastic crisis and with the support of celebrities, politicians, and global companies around the world. The UK has banned single-use plastics and plans to have schools plastic-free by 2022. South Korea banned the use of plastic bags, and NYC banned the use of Styrofoam to-go containers. Several other countries and cities have taken their stand against single-use plastics. 2019 can be the year of green with simple swaps and changes to better the planet and all the living beings on it.
Kaitlynn lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with her five rescue animals (two cats and three dogs!). An avid scuba diver and seasoned vegan, Kaitlynn is incredibly passionate about ocean conservation and eco-friendly living.