Because no-one wants to give up chocolate.
If you made any resolutions back at the start of 2020 and managed to keep them, you probably deserve a medal. The unprecedented events of this year meant that everyone’s lives quickly dovetailed into the unknown, so sticking to your guns while somehow navigating the ‘new normal’ is no mean feat!
What 2021 will look like, though, remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the climate crisis isn’t going away any time soon – if anything, it’s taken on an even more important focus in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But the good news is that more people are becoming aware of this. Research by Cardiff University, for example, shows that the level of public concern over climate change has increased – rather than decreased – during the global pandemic, and that Brits are generally keen to continue with low-carbon lifestyle choices adopted during lockdown.
So, what climate-friendly New Year’s resolutions can you make for 2021, knowing that things are still likely to be a bit… unusual? Lots! The Count Us In project launched in October this year (with One Home as founding partners!) and highlights 16 achievable climate actions people can take to make a major dent in carbon emissions. Some of the steps are little more ambitious than others, though, so here are five that are super easy to stick to. Keep them up and this time next year they won’t be resolutions any more, but rather an ingrained part of a low-carbon lifestyle that’s doing its bit for the planet.
- Turn down the thermostat
Heating accounts for around 31% of the average household’s CO2 emissions, but turning down your thermostat by just one degree could save 320kg of carbon dioxide a year, not to mention up to £80 on your energy bills! Making sure your home is properly insulated and draught-proofed means you won’t even feel the difference.
- Be a bit more vegetarian
Livestock is a major emitter of greenhouse gases and contrary to popular belief, that’s not just because of flatulent cows. Rearing animals for meat consumption can contribute to deforestation and uses up an enormous volume of resources. Cutting meat entirely from your diet is an ambitious endeavour for many, so start by reducing your meat and dairy consumption instead if Veganuary is too much. Missing out on just one serving of beef a week for a year saves the equivalent emissions to driving 348 miles in a car!
- Choose clothes that last
So-called ‘fast fashion’ has a devastating impact on the planet. The industry produces 10% of all of humanity’s carbon emissions – that’s more than international flights and maritime shipping combined – while 85% of discarded textiles end up in landfill every year! Choosing sustainably-made clothes that last longer helps to mitigate this damage. And anyway, do you really need another cheap t-shirt?
- Leave the car at home once in a while
Cars account for just over 18% of the UK’s carbon emissions, so opting for walking or cycling instead can help put a major dent in carbon pollution. One study has even shown that walking a mile and a half releases 75% fewer greenhouse gases than driving the same distance. Plus, walking and cycling are great forms of exercise, so it’s good for the environment as well as your health and well-being – something to consider the next time you’re about to hop in the car for a quick journey.
- Talk about climate change
Don’t underestimate the influence you can have on family and friends. Many people don’t understand the urgency around the climate crisis – and some might not know how they can make a difference. Talking to your friends, family and colleagues about the environment and the things you’re doing to protect it is an important step in raising awareness of the issue and spurring further action. You don’t have to go on about it constantly, but sharing relevant news stories and peppering conversations with the facts shows people it’s something you care about, and that maybe they care about it too.
The bottom line
It’s been a tough year and we’re not out of the woods yet. Everyone’s attention has, quite understandably, been on the global pandemic over the last 12 months, but it’s important that we don’t let climate action fall by the wayside. You’ll be able to keep these resolutions whatever shape 2021 takes. Can we count you in?
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