All of us can do something to address the most vital issue of our time
THE United Nations recently declared that we are facing a climate emergency capable of ruining our environment and threatening human existence. Such a future will soon become reality if governments do not take swift and powerful action to reverse climate change.
However, individual action is also important. As citizens and consumers, we too can make changes to the way we live our lives and help reduce global warming. Here are 10 New Year resolutions to get you started on your journey to save the environment.
- Eat less meat and dairy
The meat and dairy industries are substantial contributors to global warming. Accordingly, reducing your consumption of meat and dairy products can, quite literally, save the Earth. If you’re a regular consumer of these foods, you can set yourself up for success by going slow. Start by opting out for just one day each week (#MeatlessMonday).
- Seek substitutes for single-use plastic
Plastic pollution is perhaps the most infamous environmental issue of our time. Although plastic is difficult to recycle and takes extremely long to biodegrade, it is not an unpreventable evil. The trick is to reduce the production and consumption of single-use plastic i.e. plastic that is only used once before being thrown away. Think of all the plastic straws, cups, bags, and cutlery ever produced.
The good news is that alternatives to single-use plastic are easily available. For example, you can carry a reusable bag, bottle, straw, and cutlery. You can consider making your personal and home cleaning products, instead of buying them in plastic packaging. You can replace cling wrap with beeswax wrap. Almost all single-use plastic has a non-plastic alternative – seek it out and ye shall find!
- Reduce food waste
Food waste is responsible for almost 7% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, making it one of the leading causes of global warming. Although food waste is a problem for several stakeholders to tackle, from farmers to grocers to consumers, we can all contribute by wasting less food. The solutions are simple. For example, be aware of portion sizes; only cook or order what you can finish. Freeze or reuse leftovers. Only throw away food that’s actually spoiled.
- Only use super fast delivery when urgent
Super fast shipping is cheap and convenient, but it isn’t always necessary. It can also have terrible effects on our natural environment since the environmental cost of transporting very few items very fast can be extremely high. The next time you’re shopping online, think twice before you choose a delivery option. If you don’t need it urgently, don’t get it delivered urgently. Do your part to save the Earth.
- Buy second-hand and upcycled goods
Buying second-hand and upcycled goods discourage overproduction and lessen waste and pollution, reducing your impact on our natural environment. Second-hand and upcycled products can be as good as new and have the added benefit of reducing global warming and being able to reverse climate change. In 2021, find local thrift shops and second-hand stores, and purchase pre-loved items online. Buy lovely handmade products made out of waste material, and support nonprofits like Goonj in the process. Retail therapy has never been more sustainable.
- Buy locally produced goods
Buying locally produced goods is an easy way to save nature. By purchasing goods that were produced nearby, you can reduce emissions caused due to packaging and transportation while supporting local producers. This is especially easy to do while buying fresh fruits and vegetables – what’s good for the environment is good for you too! Additionally, many local artisans and businesses could use your support. Some quick Googling can prove advantageous for them, you, and the environment.
- Travel more thoughtfully
Any mode of transportation that uses fossil fuels contributes to global warming and hastens climate change. Although it is currently impossible to stop using all such modes of transportation, it is necessary to use them thoughtfully. For example, you can choose to video conference instead of flying, especially for work – 2020 has shown us that’s a feasible option. For short-distance travel, try to walk, bike, or use public transportation instead of driving. If you must travel long distances, consider offsetting the carbon emissions of your journey by donating to a nonprofit that is sustainably supporting communities in need.
As citizens, we must also support and encourage powerful collective efforts to tackle the causes and effects of global warming.
- Support charities engaging in environmental issues
There are numerous charities leading research and action on climate change, global warming, and environmental protection. By regularly giving your time, money, and other resources to them as a volunteer or donor, you can support the important and essential work they do. You can also start supporting sustainable community initiatives through GiveIndia today, and contribute to saving our planet.
- Take action to ensure climate change becomes a legislative priority
Vote for candidates who understand how important it is to reverse climate change, and remind incumbents that citizens consider it a priority. Governments have the capacity to initiate and sustain the large-scale solutions that are desperately needed to reverse climate change. As citizens, we must remind legislators of this responsibility, and wholeheartedly support efforts in the right direction.
- Discuss climate change with others
Climate change cannot be solved by anyone single-handedly. We are all a part of the problem, but we can all be a part of the solution too. So, as you embrace one or more of these New Year resolutions, remember to spread the word. Tell your family, friends, colleagues, and others about climate change and encourage them to support sustainable community initiatives through GiveIndia today. Their participation is crucial to reverse climate change and protect our environment.
Climate change is a problem not any one person can solve – and has to be done collectively. So if we all made an effort to adopt these resolutions, we can collectively have a huge impact. Do your part to reverse climate change, and save the future of mankind by following these resolutions.
Established in 2000, GiveIndia is India’s most trusted giving platform for donors. Our community of 1.5M+ donors and 150+ corporate partners have supported 1,700+ nonprofits, impacting 8M+ lives across India.
Advika Roongta is an undergraduate student studying Economics and Public Policy. She enjoys reading, writing and learning about the most pressing issues of our time.