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11 Habits For A Greener 2023

A tree-shaped lake

From hurricanes in the United States to deadly floods in Pakistan, last year’s climate change-fuelled disasters are getting increasingly frequent and scary.

Activists and scientists alike are urging world leaders to incorporate sustainability and real environmental reformation into their policies. A top down approach is important, especially when most climate impacts stem from a handful of the biggest businesses in the world.

But as regular folks, there are some habits that we can adopt to play our part in keeping our carbon footprint and impact low.

Here are 11 green habits you can adopt to make 2023 a more climate-friendly year:

Reduce your meat consumption

Woman eating a healthy Buddha Bowl

Slow down on your meat consumption. By eating less meat, you can make a big difference. But how? Animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and even water and land degradation.

Animal agriculture is responsible for roughly 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the emissions from transportation – that’s a lot of carbon emissions reduced if only the industry was smaller.

To start off easy, try a month-long vegan challenge or something as simple as Meatless Mondays!

Reduce your seafood consumption

Fish market in Naples, Italy

If you think meat consumption was bad, the seafood industry might have it worse in the sense that most commercial seafood is done through a technique called bottom trawling.

Bottom trawling is towing a large net to the bottom of the seafloor and dragging it along to pick up anything and everything. As you can imagine, it is extremely damaging to the ecosystems of the bottom-dwelling plants and animals, and even result in by-catches like dolphins and turtles.

Not to mention, bottom trawling stirs up the sediment in where our carbon is absorbed and stored. Once the carbon is released from the seabed sediment into the water, it can increase the ocean’s acidity and therefore, contribute to further loss of biodiversity.

Refuse, reuse, recycle

Aerial view of solid household waste

It’s not nearly enough to just recycle, we have to say no.

Did you know that in the United States, only 5% of all items thrown into recycling actually gets recycled? And less than 10% of plastic waste generated globally has been recycled so far. The rest is probably tossed in the landfill because it is just so expensive to recycle.

So the best bet to stay on the eco-friendly side is to just refuse. If it’s possible, say no to the plastic bottle, no to single-use disposable cutleries, no to the plastic bag when you checkout at the grocery store.

Refuse first, reuse, then recycle if there isn’t a choice. This can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

Carry reusable bottles and cutleries

A glass reusable water bottle on the beach

Carrying a reusable bottle is an easy and effective way to reduce plastic waste and save money. Plastic bottles are a major source of pollution and take hundreds of years to degrade in the environment.

In fact, the plastic bottle you used and tossed out when you were 10 is probably still around somewhere in the ocean. Crazy, isn’t it?

By using a reusable bottle, you can avoid contributing to this problem and instead help to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the world.

Sun dry your clothes

Baby clothes drying on the street

Depending on your location, this might or might not be doable. In the tropics, it’s pretty common to sun dry clothing instead of using a clothes dryer. But in countries where the sun might only peek out once every other day, it might not be practical.

But what we’re trying to say is that if it's summer and possible to sun dry your clothes, go ahead and try it. It’s easier on your electricity bills, too.

Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth

A closeup of water flowing on hand

We’ve all heard this a thousand times yet many people are still guilty of keeping the tap running while brushing their teeth.

Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth is an easy way to save water. Water continues to flow from the tap while you are brushing your teeth, which can add up to several gallons of water wasted each day.

It’s 2023 and water is one of our most precious resources. Come on, turn the tap off.

(Just like sun drying your clothes, keeping the tap off when you brush your teeth is another money saving hack.)

Walk, ride a bike, carpool, or use public transportation

Crowded subway

Cars might be highly convenient and even a necessity in your city.

But whenever possible, ride a bike or walk to your location to reduce carbon emissions, air pollution, and even traffic congestion.

Another great option would be to carpool or use public transportation like trains or buses.

Using public transportation can significantly reduce the number of cars on the road, which helps to decrease traffic congestion and air pollution. Plus, public transportation is often more fuel-efficient than cars, which means it produces fewer emissions per passenger mile.

Buy quality clothing instead of fast fashion

A seamstress cutting a pair of jeans

Let’s first clarify that it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you shop fast fashion. We get that not everyone can afford to buy more sustainable, expensive pieces of clothing. And that’s okay.

But if you have the option to choose between a cheaply made piece of clothing versus an item that's made to last, consider getting the more expensive option.

The fast fashion industry is arguably one of the largest contributors to climate change. The amount of textile waste and emissions that come out of this industry is disastrous.

With fashion trends changing so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up with the latest aesthetics in a sustainable way.

Practice borrowing instead of buying

Closeup view of grass mower and worker

There are so many things out there that would make more sense to borrow than purchase.

For example, if you have some renovation work that needs to be done at home, consider asking if your neighbors or friends have any of the tools that you need instead of getting one brand new.

Need a fancy dress to attend a wedding? Perhaps engage a rental service instead of purchasing an expensive dress that you might not find another opportunity to wear.

Support environmentally-friendly companies and politicians

Group of activists with banners protesting to save Earth

Though it might not look like it sometimes, our consumer and voting choices can have a big impact on the environment.

Support sustainable business practices and their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. Do your research about businesses claiming to be sustainable. Is it performative action or are they the real deal?

Vote for a government that holds environmental importance and rights in the same regard as you. Pressure your government to set greener targets and policies to encourage their own sustainable practices.

Here’s to a greener 2023!

By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can make a significant difference in reducing your environmental impact and helping to create a more sustainable future for all. Remember that change starts from individual action and every small step counts.

There’s so much more to learn about how to positively impact our planet that it can sustain for our future generations. Keep educating yourself and spread awareness!

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