I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. In a normal year, I think they can be a lot of pressure. Often people make lofty goals or long lists, focusing on too much or too large a task to achieve, which inevitably results in failure and disappointment. After the year we’ve just had, I think everyone is well within their right to make absolutely zero resolutions for 2021.
That being said, if you are keen to make some sustainable shifts that are more achievable and won’t take up enormous amounts of time and energy, I thought I’d compile a list of things I’ve covered in the past that might work for you!
One-off actions that make a difference
– Move your money into ethical and sustainable bank accounts. Did you know most banks use your money to invest in fossil fuels and the arms trade? It’s horrible, but there are also options that don’t do this. Moving your money (and telling the bank why you’re leaving) can have a huge impact.
– Sign the international petition to make ecocide an international crime. This will make mass destruction of ecosystems illegal under international law, meaning that destructive corporations, insurers who underwrite them, and politicians who give them the go-ahead, will all be able to be tried in international criminal court. As well as holding people accountable, it also acts as a deterrent that stops ecocidal practice before it can even begin.
If accessible to you, there are many causes that would benefit from even a small monthly donation. It all adds up over time! Here are a few I’ve covered before:
– Find an Indigenous organisation to support
– Set up a regular donation to Bankuet. Bankuet allows you to donate to food banks from home, while also ensuring each food bank gets what they actually need, delivered at a time that best suits them.
– Subscribe to The Big Issue. The Big Issue supports homeless and vulnerable people across the UK, order the magazine to your door or digitally for some lockdown reading, helping vendors remain in business and stay financially stable.
– Buy something from Choose Love. Choose Love have ensured hundreds of refugees have been rescued at sea, while providing thousands of tents, sleeping bags and nearly 1.5 million hot meals. The Choose Love store is the world’s first shop that sells real products for refugees, every item in-store represents a similar product/service provided by one of over 120 projects they support around the world.
As I said, don’t create some large goal for yourself that would be difficult to commit to in a normal year. This just isn’t the time for it – be nice to yourself! However here are some changes that can have big impacts, while hopefully not being too overwhelming.
– Join a CSA scheme near you. This will help you eat locally and seasonally, drastically reducing your carbon footprint, while also supporting local farmers and regenerative practices, getting tasty organic produce for yourself, and providing food security with no Brexit-induced shortages in sight.
– Divest from Amazon (where you can). We all, by now, know that Amazon is terrible. So, why not start buying your books from independent shops and start using The StoryGraph instead of Goodreads? Also, while fully getting rid of Amazon may not be an option for you, you can definitely join the movement to make them change here.
– Offset your plastic waste with rePurpose. I really don’t think now is the time for anyone to be beating themselves up about waste you may be creating. However, if this is something that has been hard for you, rePurpose offers you the ability to offset your plastic use. They intercept plastic that wouldn’t usually get recycled, keeping it out of landfill and oceans by upcycling it into useful products, while also supporting marginalised workers. All for a few pounds per month.
– If you’re using a lot of packaging due to lockdown deliveries, you can help it be reused with Packshare. Packshare helps people with packaging connect with businesses who would usually buy in packaging, helping them reuse it and promoting the circular economy.
– Try composting. I love this guide from Dominique Drakeford to get started!
Finally, of course, there is activism. While most things are happening online these days, there are still movements you can get involved with. Whether it’s a local branch of an activist collective, joining the divestment movement, getting into craftivism, or using your creative skills to protest oil companies, there’s something out there for everyone to get involved in.
Remember that the responsibility for climate breakdown lies with corporations and the governments that have aided them. While individual change is important, it is activism that will make a difference. We need everyone involved, no matter how small you may think your part is!