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Ah, the new year is upon us! Now is the time for many of us take time to plan out resolutions for the upcoming year, and hopefully we’ll stick with a few of them, right?

We know you can do it! And so, when you do make your list this year, consider adding a few resolutions that will help animals, too.

It can be truly overwhelming when we think about the number of issues affecting animals in our world. We often wish for a quick fix, or even just try not to think about it and hope it goes away – neither of which create lasting solutions.

Know that you can make a difference, and it’s okay if you don’t get it “right” the first time. What’s important is that you are trying to make the world a better place. We encourage you to try out one (or more) of our five new year’s resolutions to help animals, and always know that the team here at One Green Planet will be providing you with encouragement and resources to make these positive changes.   

1. Resolve to learn about a new issue and become a more effective advocate for animals

Or, learn more about a current issue you’re already passionate about. For many people, it can take a while to become truly comfortable in speaking out about an issue with conviction. To get yourself started, find a book, website, or organization that relates to the cause you are interested in and devote just 30 minutes a day, or week, whatever you can, to learning more about it. At One Green Planet, we strive to bring you helpful information about a variety of topics to give you the confidence to advocate for animals and others. It can start with just sharing an article that you find powerful. We all start somewhere.    

2. Resolve to volunteer more 

Whether it be locally, nationally, or remotely, volunteering is a great way to directly benefit animals. We all have busy lives, but it is possible to do something to help out even when you have many priorities. Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something. If you feel so inclined, you could check out a long-term volunteer project or even an amazing volunteer vacation for the upcoming year. Spending time helping out animals is pretty rewarding and you can bring a friend or family member!

3. Resolve to eat more ethically

Truly, one of the most effective things we can do to help animals is to stop eating them. If you haven’t tried out a plant-based diet yet, try out Meatless Mondays or Vegan Before 6 to get started. You could also try phasing out a few animal products per week – like milk – and incorporating these changes until they become more natural for you to try more. 

4. Resolve not to buy products that are tested on animals

It’s just not necessary, and since we have the alternatives available to us, we need to choose better. Even China, a country that has required animal testing on consumer products for years, is considering phasing out animal testing . Here at One Green Planet, we have some wonderful, published shopping guides on cruelty-free mascara, shampoo, and lip balm, as well as a guide on recognizing animal ingredients in makeup, illustrating that cruelty-free is becoming the preferred choice for many conscious companies.

5. Resolve to boycott circuses and other animal exploitation venues

This year, the topic of animals in captivity for entertainment has been on the public radar more than ever. Films like “Blackfish” exposed the cruelty of SeaWorld to the masses, Costa Rica vowed to close its zoos for good, and the U.K.’s ban on wild animals in circuses goes into effect in just two years – we can no longer ignore this issue. Instead of visiting one of these venues, visit an animal sanctuary instead. There are so many amazing animal sanctuaries where you can meet wild animals, farm animals, and domestic animals and feel confident knowing they are not being exploited. If you find out that a circus is coming into your town, or a school is taking a trip to a zoo, contact the event organizers and explain that these venues are teaching people that animal exploitation is acceptable, and you don’t Support that. Offer alternatives that teach compassion and motivate others to voice their opinions as well. 

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