2022 is just around the corner. As the days tick down, we’re taking what we learned this year and using it as inspiration to create sustainable resolutions that’ll benefit both us and the planet. And the best part is, we’re sharing it with you.
This year, we’re focusing on making small changes within ourselves that will lead to big changes in how we show up and care for our planet. These resolutions are easy to incorporate into your day, you don’t have to spend any money, and most importantly, they encourage you to take climate action this year with optimism, knowing your contributions really do matter.
Here are five Earth-First resolutions that anyone can make for the year ahead.
1. Make a resolution to commit to a daily practice of gratitude.
We’re encouraging you to foster an attitude of gratitude in the year to come. It may seem simple, but creating space to identify what you’re grateful for each day and bringing nature into this reflection can profoundly impact our planet.
From the roof over your head to the friends who are always there to support you, most of us have a pretty extensive list of things to be grateful for each day. But when we live in a consumer culture that highlights what we don’t have and constantly pushes us to acquire more things, it’s often easy to find ourselves focusing our attention on what’s missing.
But when you take the time to reflect on what you’re genuinely grateful for each day, you start to cultivate a mindset of abundance and your focus moves away from what’s lacking. Instead, you’re focused on celebrating what you do have and the desire to go out and buy more stuff fades over time. In the big picture, less consumption means you’re using less natural resources and reducing the emissions fueling climate change, which is good news for the planet.
Some more ideas
- Write down or say out loud three things you’re grateful for each night before you go to bed.
- Choose one person each week and send them a text expressing why you’re grateful to have them in your life.
- Make it a practice to voice gratitude aloud when you feel it in the moment.
Now, let’s extend this idea of expressing more gratitude to include nature. Each day we rely heavily on nature’s resources. Nature provides us with food, water, and shelter, just to name a few, but when was the last time you paused and expressed gratitude for these things? It seems simple, but cultivating environmental gratitude can help inspire positive action for our planet. Noticing and feeling grateful for your surroundings can help develop an attitude of concern for and commitment to planetary well-being. By extension, this mindset can help us to identify problems and create solutions when it comes to our own carbon footprints.
Some more ideas
- Notice three things in nature or things that nature provides you that you’re grateful for each day.
- Imagine how different your life would be if you didn’t have access to natural resources you might usually take for granted.
- Think about natural spaces you’re grateful to have access to and how they benefit you.
2. Make a resolution to spend more time in nature.
You can’t save what you don’t care about. If you’re removed or disconnected from the natural world, chances are you aren’t going to be too concerned with the issues facing it. Research shows that people with a greater connection to nature are more likely to behave positively towards the environment, wildlife and habitats. Renew your connection with nature this year by making time to get outside and enjoy all it has to offer. Remind yourself just how incredible our world is, and get inspired to protect it for generations to come.
Spending more time outside this year also has the added bonus of benefiting your physical and mental well-being. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce feelings of fear and stress — emotions that can commonly be triggered when talking about climate change. So not only will a walk through the park make you feel more connected to nature, but it will also put you in a better mindset to protect it.
Some more ideas
- Schedule time each day to get outside for at least 10 minutes.
- Schedule a recurring walk or activity in nature with a friend or family member.
- Make it a habit to mindfully sit and observe nature without any distractions.
3. Make a resolution to identify your talents and what you’re passionate about.
This resolution gets us excited because not only is it something that can lead to impactful climate action, but you get to know yourself a little better in the process.
Each of us has unique talents, interests, and passions that we can use in a meaningful way to help the planet. When you take time to identify your skills and passions, you’re finding tools you can use to take climate action. Once you’ve taken stock of your superpowers, start exploring problems that need to be solved and how you can help. And for this step, think local. Climate change is a big issue, but change needs to start at a community level. You’re in a unique space to create real change in the communities you’re a part of and the spaces you hold.
For example, maybe you identify that you have a knack for relaying information and teaching people things. You could use this skill to change a parent or coworker’s perspective on climate change in a meaningful way. Or perhaps you’re a graphic design whiz. You could help a local environmental group create an eye-catching ad for their upcoming event. If you play on your passions and enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll start to find your climate action fuels you instead of draining you.
Some more ideas
- Make a list of your skills and passions.
- Connect with people and groups in your community and learn more about local environmental issues.
- Volunteer your time and skills and encourage other people you know to do the same.
4. Make a resolution to learn more.
Educating yourself on the issue of climate change is another powerful resolution to make for the year ahead. But we know first hand it can feel overwhelming and sometimes unclear where to begin in your quest for more knowledge. To get started, we recommend circling back to your resolution to learn more about what inspires you. If you’re passionate about the ocean, start learning about climate change and the different ways it’s impacting the ocean. Break things down and use the topics and areas you’re interested in as your jumping-off point.
Next, identify the best way you absorb and digest information. Does a short informative Instagram post with a good graphic draw you in? Are you more of a long-form blog person? Or are podcasts your go-to? Once you’ve nailed down the medium you like best, start searching for climate-related accounts and sources. (If newsletters happen to be your jam, you’ll definitely want to sign up for the #EarthStuff Newsletter. You can sign-up on the homepage of the blog) We’d also recommend talking with friends and family. Learn what environmental issues they’re concerned about and their go-to sources for information.
Some more ideas
- Schedule time each day to learn more about an environmental topic that interests you, listen to a podcast, or read an article.
- Find at least five new sources of information that can teach you more about climate change.
- Look for free courses or virtual lectures you can attend.
5. Make a resolution not to buy anything.
Finally, we’re resolving to take a break from buying this year and we encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s for a month or just a week, take a break from buying anything except the daily essentials. Every time you get the urge to splurge, note down the item you want to buy. Then add it to a running list on your phone. Then, when your no shopping period comes to an end, review the items you wanted to purchase and a) determine if you really need them and b) explore how you can make the purchase more sustainable.
Modern convenience makes shopping way too easy, and we don’t have to put much thought into it. By putting a pause on purchasing, you give yourself space to get mindful and hopefully make a more sustainable decision than you might have in the moment. For example, if you have the urge to buy a new shirt and after reflecting on it, you do need it, take time to explore your options and look for brands (hint hint: tentree) that use sustainable practices and materials.
Some more ideas
- Get curious about what you consume and investigate how sustainable these items are.
- Research and prioritize shopping with brands that put the planet first when it comes to doing business.
- Stop supporting companies that neglect the environment through harmful manufacturing and operation practices.
Big change starts small, and with a little planning, we hope you can make the year ahead your most sustainable one yet. Get inspiration for the year ahead by looking back at the big hits of 2021.