New year, new you. Welcome to the next exciting chapter of your life. 2019 is now well upon us, and whether you’re one to make resolutions (and stick to them) or not, there’s no denying that we can all use this clean, new slate to better ourselves, our relationships and our environment.
Goals are just dreams with deadlines, so dream big. Perhaps you aim to travel more, work less, and spend more time away from social media and with loved ones. Maybe you’d like to learn a new skill, move to a different city or give back to those less fortunate. Resolutions can be grand and dramatic, or they can simply be small, manageable actions you pledge to take every day. Either way, just remember that resolutions only require words, whereas their results require action.
May your 2019 be kind, healthy, prosperous and full of adventure (and less screen time). May you find time to disconnect more often, declutter your space (and your mind), explore new destinations, make new friends, find inspiration and give back to the planet. If your resolutions are grand and life-changing, may you achieve them with grace and determination. If you seek to make small, meaningful changes that will help leave our world a better place, then why not take our Oceans Without Borders pledge to help save our oceans?
This simple pledge is a vow of personal intent to take action in our everyday lives and to find unique ways, big or small, to live more sustainably. We need to adopt a global, shared responsibility for our future, as well as those of our children, our oceans and indeed our planet. Remember, there is no Plan(et) B, so the time to act is now. Let’s all resolve to adopt these 10 easy ways of living more sustainably in 2019.
1. Eliminate single-use plastic
Slow to degrade, plastic pollution is having a catastrophic effect on our land, oceans, wildlife, and indeed our own health too. Say no to that plastic carrier bag and bring your own reusable grocery bag, say no to disposable plastic straws and carry your own glass/bamboo/metal straw, drink from a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water, get your takeaway coffee in a refillable travel mug, buy fresh bread instead of bagged bread, etc.
2. Save water
Make every day World Water Day and opt for shorter showers, place a bucket in the shower to collect water while it heats up to temperature, install a water-saving showerhead and/or a shower timer, use cooking/bath/rainwater in your garden, turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, wash your hair on alternate days, etc.
3. Incorporate some meat-free meals into your diet
There’s no denying that the livestock industry is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to climate change and habitat degradation. Global meat production has tripled over the past four decades and this large-scale need has serious implications for the future of our fragile planet. It is estimated that 18% of the overall global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, which is more than the combined exhaust from all transportation on earth. Not only that, but experts also predict that these harmful emissions will increase by 80% by 2050.
In addition to this excessive air pollution, the livestock also requires an enormous amount of water and land (resulting in deforestation). Did you know that 2 500 gallons of water are needed to produce just one pound of beef?
To help offset these issues, many people are committing to the meat-free Monday revolution and opting for a vegetarian meal once a week. We’re not suggesting you should eliminate meat altogether, however, it is important to remain cognisant of the problem. Make an effort to incorporate some meat-free meals into your diet every now and then to help delay climate change, lower your carbon footprint and improve your cardiovascular health at the same time.
4. Reduce household energy use
Switch off any lights and appliances that you aren’t using, invest in energy-efficient appliances and lighting options, hang wet clothes to dry naturally, bundle up instead of jacking up the heat, open the windows instead of putting the air-con on full, opt for the cold water setting on your washing machine, etc.
Incorporate a recycling bin into your household to recycle glass, plastic, metal and paper. Reduce, refuse, reuse and recycle wherever possible!
6. Plant a veggie garden
Reduce your carbon footprint by eating locally-sourced foods and, better yet, plant seeds to cultivate your own sustainable veggie garden and enjoy fresh, organic home-grown fruit, herbs and vegetables from your own thriving garden.
7. Compost organic waste
Reduce your food and garden waste by adopting a self-contained and easy-to-use organic compost system. The Bokashi Food Waste Recycling Kit is an effective and user-friendly way to get started. Leftover food, egg shells, coffee grind, tea bags, spoiled milk, fruit/vegetable off-cuts, grass cuttings and plant prunings are used to harvest a healthy, nutrient-rich soil for your household plants and garden, instead of being heaped onto the ever-growing landfills. And if you don’t have a garden, you could always donate the fresh compost to local community gardens.
8. Opt for green transportation & innovative tech solutions
Mix up your morning commute and join a carpool, ride a bike, take public transport or even walk to work if you can. If not, you can still make a difference by taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Individuals and businesses are also encouraged to harness creative tech solutions, wherever possible, to help offset the carbon emissions associated with unnecessary flights or lengthy commutes to the office. Businesses today are using video conferencing, online collaboration tools and mobile communications to bring people together virtually. Think smart, work smarter.
9. Save paper
Think twice before hitting that print button (or better yet, get rid of your home printer and force yourself to go digital), stop junk mail by opting for electronic statements/advertising instead of paper-wasting snail mail, collect reusable scrap paper at your printer, send electronic wedding invitations, use e-tickets for flights and movies, etc.
10. Drink tap water
Here is some food (water) for thought … did you know that the world produces approximately 50 billion bottles of water every year? It takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce this bottled water and of the 50 billion bottles used, an estimated 80% end up in landfills.