Thursday, January 2, 2014

My New Year's Theme: Sustainability

I know a lot of you are making New Year's Resolutions right now, probably centered around improving your health and fitness. But there's something you can do to improve yourself, your community, and the world for future generations. Be more sustainable.

This Huffington Post article suggests having a "theme" for the new year that you add to your daily life, instead of resolving to do something concrete. My theme for this year is sustainability. I chose this as I was thinking a lot about sustainability writing a post for the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week blogging contest. Vote for my post to win here!!

I am already pretty sustainable in my daily life. I work from home, own a hybrid car, take public transportation when I can, recycle, and eat mostly vegan. In addition, my career involves advocating for clean energy. But there's still more I can do. I live in an old house, so I should insulate the windows better and maybe not keep the thermostat at 75 in the winter. Although I use re-usable bags for the grocery store, I don't always remember them and I still use a lot of little plastic baggies. I can invest in more quality glass food storage. I also still often take my car for short trips in Chicago because it's easier and warmer, so I'm thinking about buying a bike. Being more sustainable can often involve a large initial investment but it pays off in the end. An energy efficient washing machine or hybrid car will cost more upfront but save you in electricity and gas costs in the future. Sustainable transportation like walking or biking will help with your health goals, as well. The same is for eating less meat.

Did you know that eating less animal products is the single, most effective thing you can do as an individual to be green? Anywhere from 30% to 50% or more of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture around the world. According to the United Nations, raising animals for food is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” You can impact the environment in a positive way by eating less meat more than you can by driving a hybrid car or recycling. And you don't have to be 100% vegan, I'm not. The typical American eats animal products in every single meal. You can make a big difference just by not eating meat for a day each week, like Meatless Mondays. Learn more about combating climate change with eating less meat here.

What are your New Years Resolutions/Themes for 2014?

Read my health and fitness recap for 2013!


  1. Lindsay_thegardenaptJanuary 2, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    Have you ever heard of the simplicity challenge? It's where you go a month without any purchases. Once you run out of essentials (food + toilet paper), you have to trade/barter. The only exceptions are rent/mortgage and utilities. I think that if I could do that challenge without any issues, I'd be truly sustainable.

    You should definitely get a bike (and a helmet)!

  2. Great ideas! Have you ever heard of the simplicity challenge? It's where you try to live without making a purchase for the entire month. The only exceptions are rent/mortgage, utilities, and the occasional public transportation trip to work in bad weather. Once you run out of supplies you need, you are expect to trade to get those things (food + toilet paper). I think that if I could do that challenge, I would truly be sustainable. You should also get a bike!

  3. With anyone who wants to trade with you!


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