Sustainable New Year’s resolutions for 2022

2022 has already started and we are a couple of weeks into January, but it is never too late to start a New Year’s resolution especially if it is one related to the climate! Following this spirit, we have collated a list of suggestions designed to inspire you to take action!

Note: not everything will be accessible to everyone, adapt them in a way that works best for you—good luck!

Committing to never buying another plastic bottle.

Our planet is covered in plastic, yet so much of it can be avoided. A good place to start is with plastic bottles. Even when getting a Tesco meal deal, resist the Naked smoothie because, while it feels like such a steal, the plastic is costing the planet. Ensure to have a look around for canned drinks, but if not, go without and bring your own water! Even better, if you plan your meals ahead of time, a meal deal will never again be necessary (so much waste!) Planning ahead can work out cheaper anyway— many students already bulk cook, freezing the rest for other days.


Cutting out fast fashion— Good On You app. 

Giving up on needlessly buying new itemsotherwise known as the fast-fashion phenomenonis one of the best things you can do. This is because the industry simultaneously exploits the planet and people. Indeed, if you want to check how sustainable or ethical a brand is, try the Good On You appit may surprise you just how damaging high street brands are. Despite the bad press, Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and Shein are not the only companies with unethical practices: brands like Urban Outfitters and Zara are just as exploitative.

In truth, cutting out wasteful fashion choices is definitely easier done with friends, as they can be especially useful in keeping you accountable. It also leaves loads of space to be creative! Alternatively, learning how to fix clothes before you discard them, alongside trying out new sustainable habits such as swapping and renting, is a lot of fun. In fact, in conjunction with Durham Students’ Union charities, Just Love is hosting a clothes swap event in the last week of January, making it an opportune moment for fashionistas to get involved. Indeed, if you still can’t find anything that suits you, there are plenty of websitesnamely DePop, eBay and Vinted and charity shops that offer great collections to choose from!


Eating less meat and/or dairy

One of the best ways to adopt more sustainable behaviours is to eat better. Only you know what your own habits are, so here are a few suggestions to tailor to your dietary behaviours: 

If you are totally new to this prospect, then something like meat-free Mondays or meat-free weekdays can be a great starter challenge. Indeed, the advent of Greggs’ vegan sausage rolls was so successful because of so-called ‘flexitarians‘-  demonstrating how easy it can be to manage a meat-free diet in small, specific chunks. Here, the key is to schedule the days whereby you plan not to eat meat, otherwise it can quickly become hard to follow. In essence, the same rules can be used for going Vegan. Here are some examples: 

  • Always ask for oat/soya milk in coffee shops: I can personally assure you that a flat white coffee or a chai latte with oat milk is divine! This is a great first step for entering the world of dairy alternatives.
  • Opt for local and seasonal fruit and veg. Grocery stores are great for this and are often plastic free!
  • Veganuary can also be a great way to get into veganism!


Travel Flight Free

Could you commit to a flight free year for 2022? With many of us thinking about going abroad this summer, this question may be hard to answer. Yet, for those of us who can make that commitment, visit Flight Free to register your pledge! According to its research, taking the train instead of the plane can reduce emissions by as much as 90%! With Europe just on our doorstep, taking a cross-border train is an easy and more economical option. 

Campaigning for a better climate: 

Finally, we all know that the climate crisis goes beyond individual actions. Our last idea, then, is to use 2022 to get stuck in with campaigningThis could be as simple a task as signing a petition each week; regularly emailing your MP; attending protests; or joining a climate action group in Durham or elsewhere. In Durham, Eco DU engages with excellent causes, so make sure to get involved if you have the time.  Away from campus, a plethora of activist and campaign groups meet regularly online. Green New Deal, Friends of the Earth and Fridays for Future are just some fantastic examples. 

Featured image: Kevin Gill on Flickr with license

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