Kick your New Year’s resolutions up a notch by adding a green twist to eating healthier, losing weight, saving money and creating a healthy home.
For many, the same resolutions appear on lists each January. In 2019, there are many more options to make resolutions good for us and for Mother Earth. Here are 9 ideas to get you started.
- Eat healthier foods that are local and organic If eating healthy or losing weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions, make it even healthier with organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Not only are you supporting local businesses, but you can shed extra pounds as you choose meals that start with fresh food. Find a list of local farmers markets by city at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Local Food Directory. In Kansas City, check the Kansas City Food Circle.
- Eat less meat Choosing “meatless Mondays” or going vegetarian for a weekend or more can reduce one’s carbon footprint and fossil fuel dependence. According to Mother Nature Network, going meatless for the weekend can “decrease your carbon footprint by about one-third of a ton.” When choosing to eat meat, select local, grass-fed options for a healthier choice for you and the planet. Local meat providers can be found at Kansas City Food Circle.
- Choose the outdoors as your gym Getting a gym membership is easy, but choosing to walk, run or bike outdoors is even easier – and it is free. There are hundreds of state parks, forests, natural area, national parks, national grasslands, trails, wildlife areas and even metro parks near you on America’s State Parks Directory. Check here to discover a new park in Kansas and Missouri. The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department also offers an affordable all-access pass to its community centers.
- Cut fossil fuels out of your investments The start of a new year is a perfect time to review investment and savings strategies. With more scientific facts pointing to the environmental damage of fossil fuels, it’s time to make sure your investments reflect your values. Check with your investment advisor, or seek an advisor that specializes in socially and environmentally responsible funds. For more information, contact First Affirmative Financial Network.
- Save money with a home-energy audit Saving money is always on the to-do list. Getting a home energy audit will show you where your house is leaking energy and provide recommendations for the improvements with the biggest paybacks. Check Metropolitan Energy Center for a list of certified auditors and contractors.
- Avoid “fast fashion” Shopping for new clothes just seems to come naturally for some, especially when chain stores constantly offer inexpensive clothes, aka: fast fashion. The process of making these clothes can be harmful to the environment. According to Small Footprint Family: “Cheap fashion also supports the petroleum-based, highly toxic synthetic fabric and dye industry, and uses tons of fossil fuels during farming, manufacturing and shipping.” If you want to update your wardrobe, purchase items that you will not throw out in a few months that are higher in quality and domestically made. Choosing to swap clothes with friends and family or buying items at thrift stores are also great ways to recycle clothes.
- Use a reusable beverage container Choosing a reusable beverage container is one of the easiest ways to reduce waste. Some coffee shops will offer discounts to those who bring in their own coffee mug.
- Reduce water usage Save money on your water bill and help conserve water by reducing water usage. Turn off faucets while brushing your teeth, take shorter showers or wash fruits and veggies in a bowl instead of running it under the tap. If you have plants, use that water from the washed foods to water your plants. This spring, install a rain barrel or plant a rain garden to collect water for your landscape.
- Get rid of phantom energy If there are items around the house that do not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet 24/7, pull the plug. Even when electronic items are turned off, devices still use electricity when they are plugged in. So, if you don’t need it, remember to unplug.
Photo: Brooke Salvaggio, Urbavore Urban Farm