There’s no denying that climate change is more visible than ever, and you don’t have to look much further than last summer as a small example of the extreme weather conditions people all over the world are now facing – conditions which are, sadly, becoming more and more the norm.
While large corporations and governments of the world undoubtedly have a big part to play in minimising and reducing the damage caused by greenhouse emissions, there are several ways in which we can all do our part. And, with the turn of the year, there’s no better time to make some small, but impactful, changes to our lifestyles.
We’ve put together some suggestions for potential New Year’s resolutions that’ll not only help reduce your carbon footprint, but might save you money, too!
1. Limit buying ‘new’
Fast fashion has a massive negative impact on emissions and waste, but we also understand that sometimes there aren’t many other options, especially when budgets are tight. If you do purchase from fast fashion companies, consider the longevity and wearability of the items yo purchase, as well as the frequency of your purchases; fashion trends are desirable, but they don’t often last long.
Second-hand purchases give new life to perfectly good items that might have otherwise ended up in landfill, and often for a much better price than you’d find on shelves. With the rise of pre-loved social media accounts, marketplaces and apps, it’s easier than ever to find items of all kinds second-hand. Whether it’s a new outfit, a book, or maybe even a piece of furniture, why not try looking around to see if you can find the item you’re looking for pre-owned?
2. Reduce food waste
2022 was a difficult year for many reasons, but the financial and economical crises were among the worst. With both bills and costs rising, it’s more important than ever that we make our money go as far as it can. Meal prepping has gained online popularity over the past few years, and for good reason! Not only can it help with budgeting, but it takes some of the stress out of deciding what to eat for each meal and helps keep food waste down.
3. Cut down on meat intake
On the topic of food, why not try out Veganuary? Or, if that’s a bit too much to commit to all at once, there’s always Meat Free Mondays. Limiting our intake of meat is not only a massive benefit to the environment, but can also make a huge difference to our health. And, with CCCU’s very own Veg Box Project, this may be easier than you thought!
4. Support local businesses
The last couple of years have been tough on everybody, and small businesses are no exception. CCCU is lucky enough to be located in the heart of Canterbury, with a wealth of small, local shops on our doorstep. From cafés to refillable stores to charity shops, there’s something for almost every need. Instead of buying online (or in-person) from large, well-know chain stores, why not have a look in some smaller stores first? Not only does this reduce emissions from imports, manufacturing, and shipping (which large corporations are notorious for), but it also helps local shop-owners stay on their feet.
5. Educate yourself and others
Sometimes, climate change can feel more than a little overwhelming for all of us. At best, it can feel like an endless turntable of statistics and constantly changing news, and at worst it can feel like a hopeless situation, and often a political nightmare. At the SGO, we offer Carbon Literacy Training to give everyone an informative, but simple, way to learn more about climate change and emissions, without the doom and gloom.
Not only are these sessions completely free, but at the end of the six-hour course, we hope you’ll come away with a greater sense of your place in the climate fight, and a nationally-recognised certificate.
To find out more, sign up for our newsletter or keep an eye on our website!
Now that you have an idea of some options, why not choose one (or two!) and incorporate it into your New Year’s Resolutions? These aren’t massive changes, but they are sustainable – both in terms of the environment and their ability to be maintained. Change doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be continual.
Lastly, whatever your resolutions, we’d like to wish you all a very happy New Year!
By Holly Steventon, SGO Project Officer