2019 was a big year for environmental activism and raising awareness for the climate crisis. Naturally, that makes 2020 a year for action, right? Put yourself on track for action with these Earth-friendly New Year’s resolutions.

We’ve identified 15 measurable and achievable New Year’s resolutions that can contribute to an Earth-friendly lifestyle, and we would love to share your resolution with the community. Leave a comment or contact us here and we will add yours to the list.

Emeraldology’s achievable Earth-friendly resolutions

1. Refuse to buy bottled water. This one is pretty simple. Check out the “Troubled Water” episode of Rotten on Netflix for encouragement.

A sign outside Vegan Haven in Seattle’s University District gives one of many reasons to reduce meat consumption. Photo by Sam Wigness.

2. Eat less or no meat. Start with one meatless day a week or just cut out beef (the meat with the highest carbon-cost per pound). If that’s going well, bump up to two or three meatless days per week – there’s nothing that says a resolution can’t change throughout the year. Or, set a goal for number of meatless days for the whole year. Can you go 100 days? 175? 250?

3. Drive less. Make it a resolution to find a carpool buddy or a car-less way to get to work. Once you have it, carpool or commute car-less one day per week. Then bump it up to two, and so forth. Or, set a number of miles to stay under throughout the year.

4. Personally divest from fossil fuel. If your money is in a major bank like CHASE and Wells Fargo, it’s likely being used to fund fossil fuel projects like Arctic drilling. Make it a year-long goal to move your money to a credit union or an institution that isn’t backing fossil fuels. (We are working on a guide for this).

5. Set goals to reduce home waste. How many bags of trash are in your can each week? Can you go from four to three? Three to two? Make a goal to cut your trash to one bag per week. (Hint: this has as much to do with buying as it does with recycling and composting.)

6. Buy no new clothes. Save money and resources by avoiding new clothes in 2020. Focus on repairing and repurposing old clothes rather than buying new ones. If you must add to your wardrobe, consider a clothing swap or buying secondhand. Check out our secondhand fashion guide to Seattle to get started.

7. Take a year off from Amazon. If low prices and one-day shipping seem too good to be true, it’s because it is. Despite its climate pledge, Amazon can hardly be considered Earth-friendly. Instead of one-click shopping, seek out small, local businesses to support. (I said these resolutions were achievable, not easy.)

Photo by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash.

8. Make a list of hikes and peaks to conquer. We believe spending time outdoors contributes to overall well-being and a greater appreciate of the natural world. Write down five – no 10! – places you want to hike throughout the year. Use our list of Seattle-area favorites to get started.

9. Limit personal air travel. In terms of bang-for-your-buck, air travel is among the carbon costliest consumer choices available. Challenge yourself to fly half as many times in 2020 as you did in 2019. Or, find alternate transpiration (train, bus, car) for one trip this year.

10. Buy all organic produce in 2020. Maybe your already doing this, or maybe you only buy organic when the price is right. Regardless, see if you can go 100% organic in 2020. It’s a bit of an investment, but local, organic farmers are investing in the health of our state and deserve some support. Plus, farmers markets!

Visit Elliot Bay Brewing for local, USDA Organic beer. Photo courtesy of Elliot Bay Brewing.

11. Only drink locally made beer and wine. Thanks to the farmers mentioned above, Washington has a flourishing beer and wine industry. There’s no need to buy adult beverags that have been shipped across the country or world. Use our Earth-friendly breweries list to get started. (Wine list coming soon!)

12. Set a tree planting goal for 2020. Trees provide oxygen, wildlife habitat, erosion control, shade and numerous other benefits to our state – especially in urban areas. Make a goal to plant (and water!) 3 trees this year. Or, set that goal at 50 and partake in several volunteer planting events throughout the year. Aside from protecting mature trees, planting native ones is the best way to benefit our local environment.

13. Volunteer outdoors! If you have never volunteered for a conservation non-profit, make 2020 the year to start! Sign up for tree planting, trail work, salmon surveying, or a beach clean-up. If you are a regular volunteer, set a goal to recruit a friend or sign up for a new opportunity.

14. Set gardening goals. New to gardening? Challenge yourself to grow and eat 10 tomatoes this year. For the green-thumbs, challenge yourself by growing new crops and increasing biodiversity. Better yet, make 2020 the year the begin the transition to a natural, right-sized lawn.

15. Vote! Not just in the general election, but in local elections too. Research the candidates on your ballot, see who the local environmental groups are endorsing and vote according. Your vote is the sharpest tool in your eco-toolbox and it would be a shame to waste it!

That’s it for now, but please share your own resolutions in the comments!

Feature photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.