Consider Environmental Impact and Sustainability in the New Year
By the third week of January, there’s a good chance some of us have already been slacking on our New Year’s resolution—or, if you’re like me, you may have been slacking on making a resolution to begin with! Now is the perfect time to give yourself a bit of grace and reconsider a more sustainable resolution for yourself and for the planet. “Get healthier”, “eat better”, and “save money” are some of the most popular resolutions every year, and we want to make them a little easier.
Before we dive into ideas for sustainable resolutions, it’s important to recognize what sustainability really means. Big changes are rarely sustainable. Sustainable self-improvement is incremental, fun, and creeps into our routine so smoothly that we quickly forget we did things any other way. How you incorporate a little fun into your resolution will be totally unique.
Likewise, environmentally sustainable solutions will vary from person to person. The farmer’s market is probably more sustainable than the grocery store…unless you have to travel to the other end of the county. A reusable steel straw might be a sustainable swap because you often dine out and remember to keep it on you; whereas it is not for me because I am incredibly forgetful and would lose it in a heartbeat.
If you’re struggling to keep or make your 2023 resolution, here are some sustainable sustainable swaps:
Have A Fitness Goal? Resolve to “Plog” A New Trail Once Per Month
“Plogga” means “pick-up jog” in Swedish. Combining traditional hiking or jogging with litter cleanup is not only good for the planet; it’s also better for you because it incorporates additional squatting and stretching movements. NEPA is filled with amazing places to explore for the beginner to the advanced hiker. While you could plog a new trail every week and still have plenty to explore, setting a special date each month to make yourself and the planet a little healthier will leave you excited for your next adventure.
Looking to Expand Your Taste Buds? Resolve to Eat Local Twice a Month
The shorter distance food needs to travel from the ground to your table, the less its impact on the environment. When dining out, resolve to visit farm-to-table restaurants who shorten the meal’s journey. If cooking at home, be sure to check out your nearest farmer’s market or roadside stand in the spring, summer, and fall for the freshest produce. Adventurous chefs may even consider hunting, fishing, or foraging to round out their plates—just be sure to know the rules of the land!
Trying to Save Money? Resolve to Put “Second”-Hand First
Thrifting has been increasing in popularity over the past few years and for good reason! Looking into second-hand goods, especially when starting a new hobby or refreshing your wardrobe, has a lower impact on your wallet and the planet. Buying a product second hand saves it from the landfill AND prevents the need for manufacturing a new one. When you “reduce, reuse, recycle” remember, you don’t have to just reuse your own stuff! And when it comes time to get rid of things you don’t need, be sure to give someone a chance to give it a second life before you throw it away!
If your sustainable sustainable resolution is to support NEPA conservation, please consider supporting North Branch Land Trust today. Visit nblt.org today to become a member, stay up to date on regional conservation efforts, learn about Preserved lands and more!