We think we are all pretty much in agreement that this past year has gone by remarkably quickly. The holidays swooped up and barely left us with time to go out and purchase gifts for our friends and family, and before we know it, it will be time to ring in the New Year!
There is no doubt that 2014 was a year jam-packed with wins for animals and the planet alike, but as Green Monsters, we can’t help but to hope that 2015 will be filled with many, many more wins. We aren’t exactly the kind of people who set resolutions (especially if animals or the environment are involved) and give up on them about two weeks in. We’re guessing if you’ve found yourself here, then neither are you!
Taking all that we’ve learned this year about the state of the planet and our shared environment, we thought it would be fitting to jump start 2015 on the right foot and set some resolutions. There are many things we can all do to help improve the health of the planet, all of which start with you! So, when the clock strikes midnight, get ready to unleash that inner Green Monster and get working to ensure that 2015 is the most planet-friendly one yet!
1. Limit Your Consumption of Meat
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent. By leaving meat off your plate in 2015, you can literally HALF your carbon footprint. If you’re not ready to make the full leap, start by going meat-free on Mondays. Click here to get a jump on this planet-friendly action with over three thousand yummy recipe options.
2. Say Goodbye to Palm Oil
Did you know that 300 football fields of rainforest are cleared every HOUR to produce palm oil? Not only does this deforestation mean that 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide are emitted into the atmosphere for every cleared acre, but around 1,000 orangutans are killed every year due to palm production. Be sure to check all your consumer goods (snacks, shampoo, make-up and laundry detergent) for palm oil and purchase alternatives whenever possible. Check out this guide to wean yourself off palm oil in 2015.
3. Cut Down on Your Dairy Consumption
The dairy industry requires an inordinate amount of water and contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production. This year try out “Ditch Dairy” days where you don’t consume dairy products for one day. By skipping just one gallon of milk, you can save the same amount of water needed for 27 showers! Rather than resolving to give up showering … why not skip the milk? Check out these awesome dairy-free recipes and start today!
4. Drop the Plastic Habit, Pick up Reusables
This year scientists determined that there are over 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the world’s oceans. That’s a pretty huge deal. Be sure to limit your use of plastic whenever you possibly can. Go beyond just purchasing a reusable water bottle, be mindful of the plastic packaging on the foods you buy and avoid disposable dishes and cutlery at all costs. This year, trade in your disposable lunch containers for reusable ones and swap out all your plastic bags and storage bins for cloth or glass alternatives. For all your reusable good needs, click here.
5. Reduce You Consumption of Seafood
Overfishing has become an epidemic in the world’s oceans. Bottom trawling and the use of gill nets have devastated the world’s marine life. It is predicted that the world’s fisheries will completely collapse by 2048 if we continue to consume fish at current rates. If you were to remove seafood from your diet for one year, you could help save 225 fish and 151 shellfish in 2015. For delicious fish-free alternatives, click here.
6. Buy Less Stuff
It might sound a little ridiculous, but your personal consumption habits contribute to our global waste problem way more than you think. How many times did you buy a new sweater that you didn’t need or upgrade to a new phone … just because? Well, did you know that it takes a whopping 5,000 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce one shirt? This year, it you have to shop, focus on buying high quality goods that will last a long time, rather than poor quality stuff that will likely end up in a landfill before 2016.
7. Cut Food Waste!
It might shock you to know that one-third of all food grown across the world is thrown out every year, yet nearly one in every nine people on our planet go to bed hungry each night! That is a huge amount of waste that ends up rotting away in landfills every year. In fact, that amount of decomposing food emits 3.3 GIGATONS of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Yuck.
You can cut down on food waste by planning grocery shopping before you hit the store. Remember produce will not keep forever, so if you don’t use it … you will lose it. Reimagine your leftovers into a new meals (find out how, here). Rather than throwing out cans of food you won’t eat, donate them to a local pantry. Any food that is left over should be composted. By composting the organic food waste you generate this year, you can keep 440 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere! For tips on how to get started, click here.
2015 is going to be your year … we can tell.
Graphics by Hannah Williams
Lead image source: Dennis Skley/Flickr