The start of a new year is often filled with fresh to-do lists (or not-to-do lists), meal plans, and, almost always, resolutions! Ah, resolutions! Those decisions you put your foot down on, vow to start doing (or stop doing), and the things you commit to knowing that the year ahead will be better if you do. Meredith and I added some easy-to-do resolutions to our list this year that focus on doing good where we can, and when we can, and wanted to share them with our fellow change makers! Ready, set, GO!
- Stop forgetting your reusable shopping bags! Seriously. Who else has a stack of colorful reusable bags that you seem to forget every. single. time. you hit the market? Not anymore! Place those bad boys in your car and vow to never forget them again, or face carrying your groceries to your car in your hands! Here's a place to get some cute ones that you won't want to forget.
- Speaking of your car, show some love to the planet and reduce your vehicle pollutants by choosing to walk or ride your bike more (your calf muscles will thank you too!). Cars release approximately 333 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually, which is 20 percent of the world's total, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. *insert shocked emoji*
- Shop at companies that do good. Obviously we're a little biased on this one! But in all seriousness, why by just any addition to your wardrobe when you can buy products that improve someone's life? It's chilly here, so check out this modern scarf that supports girl's education, and these cozy socks that fight poverty!
- Ditch the plastic when you can (you often can!). Say no to the straw when you go out to eat, or if you're like me and drink more water with a straw, invest a few dollars into a glass one, like this. You'll be the coolest conscious person at brunch and you'll be protecting the planet from the billions of pounds of plastic in our oceans!
- Do a spring purge on your house! We all have clothes that we haven't worn in years, and if you haven't worn it in the past six months, face it - you probably won't! Someone in need could definitely get some use out of those gently worn clothes and shoes though! Do a weekend purge and donate to your local homeless shelter.
- Spend a little more time on yourself. #Selfcare is all the rage these days, and for a good reason! It's hard to take care of anyone else when you're not performing at your best. Pick an afternoon every week to devote to yourself, whatever that may look like!
- Commit to volunteering in your community once a month! We may not always be able to find a free afternoon every week, so starting at once a month is an easy step to giving back where you're at (use that planning time to invite your friends!). Whether you walk dogs at the Humane Society, tutor underprivileged kiddos, or interact with your local homeless population at the shelter, you'll be building up your community and spreading the love! Plus, doing good makes you feel good. Thanks, science!
- Recycle the old plastic shopping bags that you received all those times you forgot your reusable ones! Did you know that every year Americans alone use 100 billion plastic shopping bags and it can take one plastic bag 500 years to degrade?! 500 f-ing years. A Bag's Life will help you find where you can recycle them - do it, do it!
- *Cue your mother's voice* stop wasting water! This can be as simple as spending three minutes less in the shower, or not letting the faucet run while you brush those pearly whites! Fast fact: wasting water is actually bad for the environment. There are anthropocentric, biocentric, and ecocentric reasons why wasting water is bad, and you can read about them all here!
- Invest in a cute and durable coffee tumbler! Our day does not start without a dark, bold cup of caffeinated goodness and we've committed to ditching those disposable cups by carrying a reusable one! 58 billion disposable cups are discarded to landfill each year in the United States alone, switching to a tumbler will help you waste less, protect Mother Earth by reducing emissions, and save - a lot of cafes will offer a discount if you bring your own mug #winning. P.S. here's some coffee that gives back, and smells like heaven.
There ya have it! Doing good and giving back doesn't have to be overwhelming and difficult, it can start with seemingly small decisions (resolutions) like these! The good we wish to see starts with each of us. Now go crush the rest of your goals this year! Happy 2018! :)