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Green resolutions for the New Year

The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on positive changes we want to make to our lives. Embrace changes that will also have an impact on the world with 5 green resolutions for the new year.

Reduce your digital carbon footprint 

The pandemic created new working and social habits which have lingered as the cost of living keeps us home more often. This has led to our digital carbon footprint soaring.

Our online habits are estimated to contribute to nearly 4% of global greenhouse emissions. So what steps can we take to reduce our digital footprint? 

Reduce the amount of emails you send by using Dropbox or other file sharing system to manage documents and collaborate on work.
Turn your phone, computer and other devices off when not in use, rather than leave them in energy draining sleep mode.
Most importantly, for our mental health as well as the environmental impact, consciously choose to turn off your device when you find yourself mindlessly scrolling out of boredom.

Ditch fast fashion

Fast fashion comes at a huge human and environmental cost. The fashion industry not only produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions and uses 1.5 trillion litres of water annually, but fast fashion is powered by cheap labour and an exploited workforce

The most sustainable clothes are the clothes you already own, so browse Pinterest for styling inspiration and your local Facebook groups for talented seamsters to run repairs or alterations. For those special occasions that demand a special outfit, consider a clothing rental  website like By Rotation, which allows you to both rent outfits and rent out clothes that you own. 

Shopping sustainably does not mean never buying new, but before you click Buy, check the brand’s sustainability credentials on the Good On You app.

Switch to a green search engine

Every google search uses energy equivalent to turning on a light bulb for 17 seconds and with more than 87000 google searches per second, that’s one heck of a lot of energy consumption. 

There is a new generation of search engines that are committed to doing good by offsetting their carbon footprint or donating profits to environmental causes globally. 

Ecosia is the most well-known green search engine. It runs on renewable energy and uses profits to plant trees. It has so far, planted more than 115,000,000 trees.

Ekoru uses Bing for its searches, but donates 60% of its profits to two ocean clean up non-profits who clean plastics from the oceans and reforest the ocean floor with sea grasses.

Eat less meat

We all know that global meat production carries a large environmental burden, using  77% of global farming land but only producing 37% of the world’s protein. The Committee on Climate Change has recommended that to help achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, each person in the UK needs to cut the meat and dairy they consume by 20%. The omnivores amongst us should embrace meat free days each week, which is no hardship with the abundance of lovely vegetarian and vegan recipes available. 

My current favourite vegetarian recipe books are One Pot, One Planet by Anna Jones and Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton.

Make your money work for good with an ethical bank

The term ethical bank may sound like an oxymoron, but there is a new generation of banks that aim to clean up the reputation of the finance industry with socially responsible investment and fair payment of tax. Make sure that your hard earned money is not financing an industry that conflicts with your beliefs; look out for investments in fossil fuels, the oil and gas industry and the arms industry. Ethical Consumer have a great breakdown of UK high street banks and their ethical ranking (although full rankings are only available to subscribers). Triodos Bank and the Ecology Building Society are both widely recognised for their environmental ideology. 

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