New Year, new me - does this sound familiar? With new beginnings, we sense the possibility of having a fresh start, changing our habits and lives, reinventing or improving ourselves. Usually, New Year's resolutions revolve around healthy eating, getting fit, quitting unhealthy habits, saving money instead of spending it or just simply, enjoying life more. But let's make New Year's resolutions for 2021 more special this time - by incorporating a few sustainable and ethical resolutions.
If you include just a couple of sustainable resolutions, you can slowly become a more conscious and mindful consumer whose lifestyle is more environmentally-friendly. And honestly, it won't be just our planet seeing the benefits, a sustainable and more minimalist lifestyle can take some worries off your shoulders, make your life simpler and thus, happier. Are you in? Then, continue the read to find great sustainable resolution ideas worthy of your 2021 New Year's resolutions list!
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The key to any New Year's sustainable resolution is to set an achievable goal. So make it realistic. Probably, you won't be able to 'wear only sustainable clothes' when your wardrobe is still full of clothes you bought from fast fashion brands in the past.
And that is completely okay: simply being committed to not contributing to the fast fashion industry anymore, and only buying (or even better, swapping, renting and thrifting) ethical and sustainable clothes from now on, while still wearing and making use of clothes that are already hanged in your wardrobe is probably the most environmentally-friendly and ethical approach you can take.
Also, making your resolutions more specific and setting measurable goals will increase your chances of actually achieving them. This means that writing down 'I will eat vegan food six days a week' is more effective than 'I will eat more vegan food' and 'I will buy only 10 pieces of new clothing this year' is more effective than 'I will shop less'.
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Changing your (fashion) shopping habits can have a great impact on our planet. Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for about 10% of all humanity's carbon emissions?1 This is more than the amount produced by all international flights and maritime shipping combined!.
So, it would be amazing to leave your support for fast fashion brands in 2020 and go for the equally stylish but sustainable and fair alternative. But - how?
Reading tips that will make your sustainable journey in 2021 a lot smoother:
Your environmental resolutions could also focus on the food you put on your plate. Did you know that...
So, make sure that your sustainable resolutions for 2021 have the greatest impact possible!
How to ease into a plant-based diet?
In the wise words of Colleen Patrick Goudreau: “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.” Take it slowly and at your own terms, like with the example with cheese. At least do what you’re able and willing to do at this very moment. But to not do anything at all, just because you think you have to do everything, makes absolutely no sense. “It’s the ultimate example of self-sabotage.”
A great start to a vegan New Year is doing the Veganuary challenge. Trying a vegan diet cannot get any easier - you will get delicious recipes, easy meal plans and helpful tips for this transformation. This challenge only takes 31 days and by the end of it, you will know how to cook delicious and easy vegan meals and how to properly eat a vegan balanced diet.
Not only that, in those 31 days you’ll save around 125 litres of water, 543 kg of grain, 84 m2 of forest, 273 kg of CO2 emissions...and 30 animals!3
Tip: Try Veganuary (in English) or the Vegan Challenge (in Dutch)
Reading tips that will show you everything you need to know for your vegan journey in 2021:
There are quite a few more things you could add to your New Year's resolutions:
Tip: It will be so much easier to stick to a more sustainable lifestyle once you know all your facts. You might want to watch:
The year 2020 has taught us many lessons, one of which is that every individual matters and every ounce of positive change you can bring to this world matters too. In 2021, you might feel the urge to help the cause you believe in and feel so passionate about.
You can start your own project, join an existing social, environmental or animal rights organization and dedicate your time to a future from which everyone can benefit. Working with like-minded people who are driven by the same passion, knowing that together you are contributing to a better, sustainable and compassionate world is wonderful and so worth it. (Trust us, we know 😉)
Or to put it more simply - give back in 2021. Whether it is by investing your time, energy, attention or money. Anything you're happy and able to share. It will not only make a difference in your life but also in the lives of the people or animals you choose to help.
In 2021, don't underestimate the power of donating money to non-profit organizations. They say 'money can't change anything'. But giving money to people who are committed and passionate about the cause and are willing to work full-time to create a better world can. So, in 2021, you might want to choose an effective charity or organization and donate what you can.
For instance, you could:
Tip: Find out what effective animal charity you want to support by using the Animal Charity Evaluator.
Did you end up with a list full of sustainable New Year's resolutions? If so, we are happy to see that these tips helped you and that you are ready to make the world a better place in 2021!
Happy (Ethical & Sustainable) New Year!
1. 'The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Here are the biggest ways it impacts the planet.' M, McFall-Johnsen. 2019
2. 'Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth.' D, Carrington. 2018
3. 'How Much Have You Saved?' The Vegan Calculator. n.d.