Sustainable New Year’s resolutions

Welcome to 2022. To mark the New Year and honor the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, here are a few resolutions with a sustainable twist.

Traditional resolution: Eat healthier

Public and planet health boost: Reduce or eliminate meat and dairy from your diet

With livestock contributing about 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases, a worthy goal is to reduce meat and dairy consumption incrementally, if not entirely. For example, choose two days per week to replace meat and dairy with protein-rich plants such as beans, legumes, nuts and grains. Likewise, know your meal’s origin story; ask your local butcher about the location and living conditions of the animal. Or better yet, purchase directly from local, ethically-minded and sustainable small farms.

Traditional resolution: Exercise more

Public and planet health boost: Establish or increase active-commuting habits

A simple but brilliant way to increase exercise and protect our planet is to change how we get to and from our daily activities. For example, walking or cycling to work allows for daily exercise without scheduled gym time. Opting for a brisk walk to a public transit stop provides exercise and contributes to a significant reduction in emissions.

Traditional resolution: Spend more time with family and friends

Public and planet health boost: Create environmentally-friendly habits with loved ones

Make a list of efforts (such as eating ethically, active commuting or recycling) and enlist those closest to you to help make a difference. For example, children can participate by picking out favorite fruits and veggies, ensuring unnecessary lights are turned off and sorting recyclables. Likewise, events hosted by local advocacy groups (such as Keep Omaha Beautiful or Mode Shift Omaha to name two) can be a great place to gather and meet new people.

Traditional resolution: Get involved/volunteer

Public and planet health boost: Fight social injustice

Recent studies have demonstrated that racism and inequality can lead to health disparities and consequences for the natural environment. Antiquated urban designs such as redlining and residential segregation provide unequal access to nature, along with excess pollution and biodiversity loss. Joining (or creating) groups that stand against systemic racism and promote environmental protection/rehabilitation is a phenomenal way to bring nature back to communities.

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