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I can’t think of a better Resolution to make for the New Year than to take care of yourself and to take care of the earth. The two go hand-in-hand really. Here are 10 Green Resolutions to help you get you started on the right track.
Going Green In The New Year – 10 Resolutions To Make
Many of us are making the change to go green, and are living sustainably and responsibly for our environment and ourselves. By ditching the synthetic chemicals, foods with toxins, buying energy efficient appliances, recycling, getting solar energy, going off grid and more, you can help.
But where do you start? It can be overwhelming to do everything all at once. If you try to do everything all at once, chances are you will meet some resistance, or worse yet, mutiny from family members.
First, you should gather all of your family members together and explain your desire and reasons you need to make changes; ask for their input and ideas. Watch a documentary if you need help compelling them. The important thing is to start somewhere- before you know it, you will look back and wonder why you ever needed those things.
#1 The 5 R’s
Five? Not Three? Yep, there’s 5.
Everyone thinks there are 3 R’s, when in reality there are 5. Believe it or not, there is a specific way you should use the 5 R’s as well.
I have listed the 5 R’s in order below with Recycling being the last (not the first) option.
- Refuse. There is no better way to speak to big corporations than with your wallet. By you refusing to buy their chemical laden products, you are sending a message to them where it hurts- their profit.
- Repurpose. Use a tin can as a candle holder, a bird feeder, or make crafts with it. Try to look at each item through the eyes of an inventor and give it new purpose. This is a great task for children and budding scientists/artists
- Reduce. Reduce the amount of waste you have by making conscious buying decisions. Do you really need it? Can you apply the other R’s to it when you’re done using it?
- Reuse. Reuse that plastic salad container or sour cream container over and over.
- Recycle. This should be your last option. Recycling is a great alternative to throwing something away, however, many of the items we recycle are not being recycled and end up in the dump anyway. Always use this as a last resort to reduce your environmental impact.
#2 Build Green
If you are planning on building a new home, or if you are going to remodel your current one, consider using green and energy efficient supplies.
When we do our new build we will be using reclaimed lumber or mill our own from felled wood on site. In addition to re-purposing the wood, much of our build will be done with used materials and sustainable building practices.
My friend Jeff M. is a is a LEED Accredited Professional and has managed the construction of several commercial buildings that achieved a LEED Silver rating from the US Green Building Council. He shares his tips for Green-Building in this article.
#3 Reduce Your Chemical Usage & Make Your Own Products
When you become the King and Queen of DYI household products, a couple of wonderful things happen.
- You save $$$. Making your own household products such as laundry detergent, window cleaner, lotion, etc. will save you up to 80%.
- Homemade products are non-toxic and you can control the ingredients. Thus reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Homemade household products are biodegradable, safe for the environment, and our waterways.
If you would like to learn more about saving money by making your own cleaners, check out our Green Cleaning Recipes
#4 Buy Local- Eat locally
The world is a different place then it was a decade ago. People are waking up to the environmental hazards and the consequences of our actions. We want to protect our land, we want to conserve and live in harmony with nature instead of destroying it. When you buy produce at a store vs from a farmer, it takes massive resources to bring it here. By cutting out the third party, you will not be contributing to the wasted energy and resources used to deliver the produce that you see in grocery stores.
Eating locally and buying locally not only helps you, but it has a drastic impact on the environment- in a good way.
To learn more about why you should eat locally, check out our Top 5 Reasons Why You Need To Eat Local
#5 Reuse Your Water & Reduce Water Use
Are you still letting the water run when you brush your teeth? How about using a sprinkler?
I was watching a Youtube video the other day about a couple that lived completely off-grid for a year. Now they have power and running water, but for one year they had to haul their water by using buckets. The husband of the couple stated “When you have to haul your own water, you appreciate every drop. You don’t waste water like you used to. In addition, you don’t take it for granted. That life lesson will stay with us forever.”
In my opinion, water is our most precious and valuable resource. It deserves all of our attention and efforts in preservation. If you reduce your chemical usage, less chemicals will go into your waterways. If you use compost for fertilizer, less chemicals will leech into your drinking supply. Everything is connected to water. Protect it and you will protect everything else.
If you would like to learn how to reuse your gray water in your garden, check out our article.
Did you know you can take your kitchen scraps and turn them into black gold for your garden?
Some of the benefits of composting are that it:
- Reduces landfill waste
- Provides Organic nutrient-rich compost for your garden
Composting is something you can do anywhere, from apartment living to acres of land.
We’ve had our worm compost bin in our living room for over four years. No one would know that it’s there if I didn’t point it out.
#7 Be Like Johnny Appleseed
John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) went around the United States planting seeds, orchards, and helping others establish the same so they could lay claim to their homestead. He was an environmentalist before it was even a thing. He lived frugally, gave much, and leaded a very simple life. To learn more about Johnny Appleseed and how to be more like him, check out our article.
#8 Plant A Garden
You honestly can’t get much greener than gardening. Not only is it empowering, but you get tomatoes!
From apartment windowsills to acres of fields, gardening and growing your own food is one step further than eating locally. You are in control of the chemicals (or lack thereof), you are in charge of the water, and you can pick fresh produce just moments before it goes on your plate. No planes, trains, or automobiles required.
If you would like to learn more about gardening, what to plant, or when to plant it, check out our two gardening pages that offer an abundance of informative articles.
# 9 Reduce Energy Consumption
Turning the lights off, unplugging electrical items when not in use, and changing the temperature on the thermostat are all little ways you can help reduce your energy consumption. Small changes can lead to big changes, and every bit helps.
The less you rely on fossil fuels to provide for your needs, the less natural resources they harvest. Don’t fool yourself in thinking one person can’t make a change or a difference. What you do does matter, and your efforts do count.
If you’re ready to take that next step to generate your own power needs, or to learn how to live without, check out our Off Grid articles.
#10 Start Homesteading
Believe it or not, Homesteading is about as green as you can get. Homesteaders are: self-sufficient, live off the land, produce much of what they consume, take from the earth only what they need and have very little time (or desire) to travel.
They are the creators of the philosophy “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” If you truly want to live green, I can’t think of a better way then to start Homesteading.
Where do you start? One good place is to start right here. Join me and sign up for our weekly newsletter for tips, tricks and how-to’s. You can also join our facebook group for daily chats, questions and advice. We have members from every stage in the homesteading journey and from all over the world. It is a great place to meet like-minded people and belong to a wonderful homesteading community.