I’ve just come back from an overseas trip and am feeling that vibe to make change, to keep that momentum from the adventure going, moving towards positive change. Making positive resolutions and committing to a better future doesn’t always have to be restricted to the New Year.
Aside from resolutions that are focussed on eating well, getting fit, or saving pennies to buying something special like a possession or experience, many of the really worthwhile, meaningful and positive resolutions for change are related to sustainability and our patterns of consumption. Here are five things to consider for the bigger picture, which might have a surprising effect on your smaller one (your Self!)
New living resolution #1: Sustainable consumption
The need for sustainable consumption is reasonably well publicised. You would have noticed a trend towards ‘shrinking your personal footprint’, with new options available to you as a consumer around carbon offset and that sort of thing. Contrary to the beliefs of some, sustainable consumption does not inevitably mean a lower, totally ‘hippy’ standard of living. Rather, sustainable consumption is all about living with greater intention and commitment to products, systems and services that are truly sustainable. If you truly want to reduce your consumption, you can check out some resources like MY FOOTPRINT and Australian Solar Quotes to help see what you can do for your home.
It is encouraging that a number of large, global companies have made a genuine commitment to reducing their emissions, increasing efficiency, conserving water and reducing (even working towards the elimination of) packaging materials and wastes. It feels like we’re starting to ‘un-do’ some of that damage set in the high production ‘anything goes’ for profit days. Many of these fresh-faced companies are also committed to the education and behavioural change of consumers. These organisations are dedicated to even more positive significant impacts and they should be on your radar. There’s a website for reporting if you’re really keen to take a deeper look; http://www.npi.gov.au/ – otherwise just be aware of sustainability on packaging and regarding the product within. Make sure it’s more than a line, and just be aware of what you do and don’t agree with so you can make educated choices for yourself.
New living resolution #2: Be less reliant on your car
Easier said than done. I get it. In the communities we live in, there is a greater opportunity to make a positive contribution through a new living resolution to reduce the amount of driving that you do (helping to reduce the overall effect of emissions on our world). Walk or use alternative modes of transport such as public transport (even here and there if necessary), and try to shop locally whenever possible.
When you do drive, it’s also helpful to try to merge multiple trips into one. This means, when you take the car out, do several things that you would have ordinarily made multiple trips in the car to do… then think about having a ‘carless’ afternoon as you’ve got the driving jobs out of the way early.
New living resolution #3: Reduce the energy you use around the home
When items such as lights, heating and cooling systems, televisions and computers are not in use, they should be turned off at the wall. Instead of automatically turning on the heater when it is cold, wear extra layers of clothes and ensure that doors, blinds and curtains are closed in the colder months. I honestly have a ‘doona suit’ that I wear as soon as I get home from a cold day… it’s the fastest thing to get warm quick!
As summer’s coming up, it’s important to reduce dependence on cooling systems and a good way to do this is to open up doors and windows overnight. Make sure you’ve got the right sheets happening on your bed, you aren’t doing yourself any favours if you’ve got the full heavy doona and air-con pumping. Your skin will thank you when you spend less time in artificially cooled environments too.
New living resolution #4: Spend less on ‘stuff’
By spending less on material goods, and investing more in experiences, moments that are memorable, special and treasured can be savoured and given greater prominence. There’s no denying that some of these experiences – including: holidays and special outings – can be expensive, but saving up for these moments, which will be remembered for the rest of your life, is definitely worthwhile. I’ve just returned from a five-week European adventure and can count the number of ‘things’ I bought on my fingers and toes… but ask me to share my stories of the experiences I spent money on and I’ll need your ear for the better part of the day.
New living resolution #5: Water conservation
A genuine commitment to water conservation and improved use of water is one of the best ways to make a positive difference and is a very worthy resolution. Whenever possible, water should be used twice – for example, take steps to channel grey water from the bathroom or laundry to the toilet cistern, to the garden, or a water tank so that the water can be used at another time.
Installing a rainwater tank (if you’re in a house) or keeping a few buckets out on the balcony for apartments, and also choosing appliances with low water use, are two good ways to help improve water use and conservation. Personally, I like to collect the cold water that runs before hot water comes out of a tap… just keep a jug or 2lt bottles on the sink, then these are your fridge drinking water vessels. Since I implemented this I actively noticed a change on my bill dollars.
Many positive new living resolutions are so worthwhile, and have the potential to make an incredible difference to the individual, the environment and broader community. You might get that feeling of ‘giving’ just by shifting the way you do a few things, and the personal reward for doing so may be greater than you expect.
This article is sponsored by Australian Solar Quotes however has been created based on my own personal experiences.