You know how it goes - most of us kick off the new year in high spirits with ambitious resolutions, but how many of them end up falling flat by President's Day? If you feel like you could use a little extra motivation to maintain your resolutions for 2016, why not use green living as an excuse to keep up with them? While many of the most popular resolutions - eating healthier, losing weight and saving more money - are things that we can do for ourselves, they can also do double duty as ways to benefit the environment. Read on for all of our tips on how to make 2016 a healthier, more prosperous year for yourself as well as for the Earth.
GET A GREEN JOB
Advancing professionally is a goal that many people set for themselves at the beginning of the year but with unemployment so high, even finding a job to begin with is tough these days. If you’ve been wanting to make more money, do something more rewarding or heck, just secure a place in the job force, obtaining LEED accreditation or other green credentials is a surefire way to make your resume look better. Unlike many other sectors, green jobs are actually on the rise, so if you’re looking to find a fulfilling career, better pay and job security, check out some of the coolest green jobs here.
STOP WASTING FOOD
Can you still hear your parents telling you to think of all of the starving children every time you trash that takeout you forgot to finish? With our busy lifestyles and so many yummy offerings at the supermarket, it’s pretty easy to end up literally throwing away pounds of food and money each week, a practice that is as bad for the environment as it is for your wallet. The good news is that all it takes to fix this problem is a little bit of a design change in your refrigerator. By setting up a fridge triage box, you can modify your behavior and that of your family by making it super obvious what needs to be eaten pronto before it goes bad. As simplistic as it may seem, this small addition to your kitchen can make a big difference in the amount of CO2 that results from food waste as well as on your annual grocery budget.
WALK OR BIKE TO WORK
Losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle is at the top of most people’s New Year’s resolutions but we all know how hard it is to keep with it. If you’ve found that despite purchasing a gym membership for hundreds of bucks a year, you have yet to actually step foot inside the place, why not build a mandatory workout into your daily commute by ditching your car and either walking or biking to work? It may be tough to adjust at first but once you see the pounds falling off, you’ll be glad you made the change. The added bonus for the environment is one less car on the road, and the gas money you’ll save every day is a nice little added incentive as well.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER
Could your home be on an episode of “Hoarders”? If so, use the new year as an excuse to clean it up and get organized! Clear out the clothing, furniture and other stuff you don’t need without sending it to a landfill by donating it to Goodwill or your local thrift shop, or sell it on a collaborative consumption site like Copious to start 2016 with some extra cash in your pocket.
ADOPT A MORE LOCAL, PLANT-BASED DIET
We all know the nasty health issues associated with processed foods and the environmental impacts of factory farming, so why not make 2016 the year you change your eating habits for the better? Many communities across the country now have farmers markets or CSA programs with fresh veggies, fruits and more and a lot of supermarkets have sections devoted to food that was made or grown locally. Making these kinds of foods a larger part of your diet is of course better for your health but it also means less CO2 emitted because these items don’t have to be trucked across the country or flown from other parts of the world. You may want to check out our recipe section for some inspiration.
DO AN ENERGY AUDIT AT HOME
One of the easiest resolutions to nip in the bud right now is to save energy and money by installing an electricity monitor like the Kill-a-Watt. If your TV and other appliances have power-save modes, make sure that they’re all turned on, and switch out your light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs. You’ll definitely want to continue being mindful about turning off your lights and appliances when they’re not in use during the rest of the year, but making these small changes right now will get you off to a great start.