Every year we make New Year's resolutions that most of us never actually fulfil. From joining the gym to saving money by sticking to a pre-planned budget each month.
We might have the best intentions at heart, but the reality is that nothing bad will happen if we don’t keep to our promises.
That’s why our New Year’s resolutions should be a little different this time round.
2022 is a crucial year to protect the fragile planet we are living on and if we can adapt to live more sustainably day to day, this will make a huge difference.
Here are seven realistic changes you can make in your life, to help make 2022 the greenest year yet.
7. Fly less
We all know it: flying as usual just isn’t compatible with a secure climate. One study from Lund University found that avoiding just one transatlantic flight saves eight times more greenhouse gas emissions in a year than recycling.
Short-haul flights are problematic too, and often unnecessary with the speed of rail travel these days. Staying grounded will look different for different people, and isn’t always possible for those in remote locations, or with family half a world away.
But cutting down your aviation emissions goes a long way. You’ll discover some amazing places en route, and travel companies who share your commitment.
6. Read more books
If you’re considering making a pledge for the planet in 2022, chances are you’re already pretty environmentally-conscious.
But educating yourself further is one of the best things you can do, building up your knowledge of the history of environmental struggles - and solutions - around the world.
5. Attempt to go plastic-free
Plastic is so last year. Each year around 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean. Europe is responsible for one fifth of plastic production but in 2016 only 30 per cent of plastic waste was recovered.
With more and more plastic-free alternatives popping up on the market, you are blessed with a multitude of choices when switching out your products.
Here are some plastic-free alternatives for your bathroom.
4. Become vegan
Going vegan has been proven to be the single biggest lifestyle change you can make to help save the planet.
A study by Oxford University in 2018 found that cutting meat out of your diet could reduce your carbon footprint by 73 per cent. Researchers also found that a diet without meat would require about 3.1 billion less hectares of farmland.
But if going completely vegan seems too daunting at first, why not start small by participating in Meat Free Mondays or Veganuary?
3. Use a reusable water bottle
You’ve probably heard this before. But plastic bottles are still being sold in shops, with 46 billion of them bought in the EU each year.
2022 is the year we should try to reduce that number significantly. With so many funky alternatives to choose from on the market, you can be sure to look cool and help the environment at the same time.
2. Shower less
You may love a long, indulgent shower in the morning, but did you know that the process wastes a huge amount of water?
For example, the largest use for water in British households is the shower. Cutting the time you spend in the bathroom will help the environment and also save you some money.
Simply spending one less minute in the shower can help save 2,400 litres of water (which is 40 kg of CO2 per person).
If you find that time flies by when you’re having a soak, think about investing in this quirky waterpebble which can help remind you when it’s time to wrap up!
1. Shop second-hand
The fashion industry is estimated to be responsible for 10 per cent of carbon emissions globally.
And with more voices calling out the wasteful and unethical fast fashion supply chain, this is the year to try and only buy second-hand clothes.
By choosing to shop sustainably you will help reduce waste, pollution, energy and save yourself money.
Keen to know more? Here are some more tips on how to live a sustainable lifestyle.
And ultimately, one of the most empowering things you can do in 2022 is join a protest movement. Find your local climate action group - Friends of the Earth could be a good place to start - and apply pressure on governments and policy makers where it’s really impactful.