Just kidding! You are already amazing and there is no need to change anything if you don’t want to!
But I do love a good resolution. Mine are often blandly aspirational (more meditation, get into running) or whimsically mundane (try all the foods available at Ripple – we never succeeded at that one, they kept adding new stock and shifting the goalposts).
This year I have been heartened to hear that many of my friends have made resolutions to be more climate friendly. If that’s one of your goals and you’re not sure where to start, then this is the post for you!
Here are three practical things you can do this year:
- Speak up. As an individual, it is really difficult to live a climate-friendly lifestyle when the system around us is inherently unsustainable. So let’s change it! If you have an election coming up this year, make sure you vote and vote for a candidate with strong climate policies. You can still speak up when there isn’t an election. Write to your local representative – the hint is in the name, they are supposed to represent your views, so let them know what your views are. Joining a climate protest or strike in person or on social media is also a powerful way to show your support for climate action.
- Divest from fossil fuels. There is a big shift happening in the financial sector as investors are realising the risks associated with climate change. However many banks and retirement funds still invest in fossil fuels. Make sure your money is instead being used for good by switching to an ethical fund, it is a simple switch that you’ll never have to worry about again. Check out banks like Triodos (UK) and Bank Australia (Australia, obviously). For Australians, SuperSwitch provides transparent information about where your super is invested. Pensions in the UK are very confusing, but this post on Ethical Unicorn gives some good pointers.
- Decarbonise your lifestyle. As mentioned in the first point, it is impossible to live a completely climate friendly lifestyle (I have tried and struggled and been very sad about failing, but it is just the reality of the system we live in). So be as ambitious as you like with this, but also remember to be kind to yourself, it is really difficult! Some of the big-ticket items in terms of individual actions that you might already be thinking of are reducing meat and dairy consumption, flying and switching to renewable energy. But what makes the biggest difference in your life will depend on your current lifestyle and consumption patterns. So the best way to plan how you might reduce your carbon footprint is to measure it. Then have a play around with the items that are making the biggest contribution, and see what lifestyle changes would have the greatest impact on your carbon footprint. That way you can focus your energy on actions that really make a difference.
Remember to start where you are! If you’ve never been to a protest before, take a friend next time you hear about one. If you always eat meat at every meal, cut it down to once a day, then once a week.
And if you already feel like you are doing everything you can, give yourself a break! Eco-guilt is as unsustainable as fossil fuels. (And yep, I’m trying to remember this myself! In the first week of 2020 I took a 24-hour flight *gasp* and bought some cheese wrapped in plastic *double gasp*).
I hope all your resolutions go swimmingly (even if your only resolution is to take it easy and not change a thing!).