It’s a new year, time for new beginnings and new habits. For many, a common New Year’s resolution is to make greener choices. Some things are easy—like recycling, switching to reusable bags and things like that. Other things take some thought. They’re not hard, not really, but they require being a more conscious consumer. That’s what this post is all about—taking the time to evaluate your choices before you open your wallet.
Consider the source—from food to clothing and home products, think about where you goods are coming from. Just like organic produce, a little legwork will turn up better quality goods that will stand the test of time. Think about who you’re buying from as well—do the companies have a green policy and does it ring true? Look at the whole picture, not just their advertising.
Become a localvore—get as much of your food as possible from local farmers, stands and smaller, area markets. You’ll notice the taste difference, but you’ll also be helping the environment since locally-produced foods aren’t shipped hundreds of miles in refrigerated trucks. Organic is good, local is even better. And if you can get both, celebrate!
Dress green—and we don’t mean the color. Look for smaller craft labels, local designers, eco-friendly fashion labels and others who are supporting fair trade practices. You’ll be supporting sustainable economy as well as sustainable agriculture and manufacturing, all while looking great.
Move smart—if you must have a car, buy one that gets good mileage, or invest in a hybrid. Better gas mileage not only means more cash in your wallet, but fewer carbon emissions, cleaner air and an incremental slowing of global warming. Better yet, carpool, take your bike, or switch to public transportation for even bigger impact.
Consider an upgrade—is your home due for a new heating and cooling system? How about additional insulation or new weather stripping? If you’re not ready for a big investment, try a programmable thermostat. Any of these upgrades will save you money on your heating and air conditioning bills, which means you’re using less fuel and lowering your carbon footprint.
Donate—make this the year to finally clean out those closets, unearth the garage and excavate the basement. Get rid of the things that are cluttering your life and give them to someone who can use them or donate them to a charity. Make this the year that you invest in your life wisely, stylishly and most of all, sustainably.