Making resolutions and goals for the year ahead is a great way to kick start new habits but I personally find starting them on 1st January is way too much pressure. December is just too busy with school events, festive gatherings and visitors, not to mention Christmas itself. Then January continues to be super busy in our home with school holidays, more gatherings and getting ready for the new school year, so this is a time i really want to relax and enjoy with family and friends without complicating the time and putting pressure on myself.
It’s fairly common to hear that many people set goals on New Years Eve and then break them by the end of the first week of January – if this sounds like something you’ve done, you’re not alone, in many ways the words ‘new year’s resolution’ have become cringe worthy in society. One of the best ways to keep your new intentions is to make them achievable and to feel good about the process!
Based on this I encourage everyone who hasn’t started or has given up already to give yourself a break and set your eco-goals and intentions for 2021 with realistic timing. You didn’t need to start them on the 1st day of the new year or even in the first month, set them for a time that works for you, mine will start once Mr. 4 returns to Kindy for February.
After you figure out when you want to start working on your goals don’t go overboard, it’s better to focus on a few that will really make an impact and sustain them instead of creating an unachievable list.
My personal eco-intentions for 2021 are about getting more familiar with ethical brands in fashion (this was also on my list last year), making food go further with more creative recipes that are based on seasonal produce, doing a short course on sustainability in business and finding new ways to reduce waste associated with kids – there is so much more waste with kids, anyone else feel this?
If you’re still setting your intentions these 4 below are great goals to add to your list if you already have the basics like reusables, single use plastic free living, low-tox cleaning, growing herbs and veggies underway. If you’re ready to tackle some more sustainable living practices in 2021 these might be of interest:
CORRECTLY SEPARATING HOME RUBBISH
It might sound simple but often it isn’t done correctly based on your local area, unfortunately different councils have different capabilities in their recycling facilities. Starting to understand your local councils recycling capabilities and sorting your household rubbish correctly will make a positive impact. There is a lot of waste that ends up in landfill even though it can be recycled or composted but it’s often placed in the wrong bin or should have been sent to different organisation. By starting to understand your household rubbish and where it belongs, you can certainly reduce a large amount of landfill.
TIP – A great way to help keep achieve this is to colour code some indoor bins. Having different colours for recycling, organics, soft plastics and residual waste. Make sure you also become familiar with places like Office works, Bunning’s and Terra-cycle who can take items that you can’t put into your roadside bins.
START A COMPOST BIN
A compost bin not only helps to keep the food waste out of landfill but it also gives you great soil for your garden. Setting up a compost bin is fairly simple and you can buy outdoor units from places like Bunnings and gardening stores. If you have limited space don’t let that stop you! Check out the easy indoor composting system ‘Bokashi Ninja’, a fabulous compact in-kitchen system that helps create natural fertiliser in a matter of days and can also compliment bigger outdoor composting bins. We use this system at home and couldn’t do without it now.
Reducing your consumption is one of the best all round things you can for the environment as it can be applied to all area’s of your life – food, water, paper, energy, clothing, consumables. Start with some of the big offenders like paper and energy and then move onto something else once you’re ready.
40% of industrial logging around the world goes into making paper. In landfill paper releases methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times stronger than carbon dioxide. Even though recycling paper and using recycled paper is better than it going straight to landfill, the best option will always be to reduce consumption.
Here are 10 easy ways to cut down on paper usage:
✔ from the yellow pages phone book.
✔ Unsubscribe to junk mail.
✔ Select digital magazine subscriptions.
✔ Change your banking to e-statements.
✔ Join your local library.
✔ Take paperless notes.
✔ Change to paperless bills.
✔ Select a digital receipt when available.
✔ Choose recycled paper, use it on both sides of paper and only use the amount you need.
Reducing energy use in the home doesn’t just reduce your carbon footprint it also saved you money on those quarterly bills. Here are some energy saving tips to get you started…
✔ Turn the air conditioner up two degrees in summer and down two in winter.
✔ Turn off lights and unplug electronics including your computer when you’re not using it.
✔ Reduce the temperature on your water heater slightly.
✔ Check the seals on your fridge and freezer. If these appliances are not sealed tightly they will need to work harder to maintain the cold temperature.
✔ Hang your clothes outside to dry as much as you can and only use the dryer when completely necessary.
I think the simple act of expanding your knowledge and awareness of sustainability, climate change and green living this is a great intention to have on your goals list as it keeps you motivated and informed. Here is a list of fantastic documentaries worth watching throughout the year. Your intention could be to watch one a week or 1 a month, whatever fits in with your lifestyle.
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Based on the predictions of Al Gore nearly 15 years ago about the impact of floods, droughts, hurricanes & climate refugees.
2040: Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau positive vision of the future in 2040 and how we can achieve it.
A PLASTIC OCEAN: International scientist travel to more than 20 locations around the world revealing the cause and consequence of plastic pollution in our oceans.
THE TRUE COST: 2015 documentary that delves into the human and environmental cost of fast fashion in countries such as Bangladesh, India and Cambodia.
BEFORE THE FLOOD: Leonardo Dicaprio’s findings after a 2-year worldwide investigation on the effects of climate change.
RIVERBLUE: This documentary shows the devastating effect of how chemicals used in manufacturing clothing effect the river systems.
COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret. Leonardo DiCarprio presents a film about the environmental impact of meat and why back in 2014 no one was talking about it.
OUR PLANET: Sir David Attenborough’s eight-part Netflix series on how global temperature rises are affecting wildlife around the world.
CHASING CORAL: Photographers, scientists and divers travel the oceans to discover the effects of coral bleaching and what it means for our eco systems.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING: Naomi Klein highlights the connection between our economic systems and the crisis facing our planet.
MISSION BLUE: World-renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle mission to explore the dire condition of Earth’s oceans.