21 Ideas for 2021

New Year’s resolutions are terrific. But not everyone uses the same calendar or counts the years by the Earth’s rotations around the sun And any time is a good time to do better. Here are 21 ideas from the David Suzuki Foundation for things you can do for yourself and the ecosystems that sustain you in 2021.

  1. Get involved. Your voice matters. Sign petitions. Call your political representatives Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers. Join a group demanding climate change/more public transit/bike lanes, etc. where you live. If you’re old enough, vote in every election you can.
  2. Waste less. Because of seasonal overconsumption, from mid-November to New Year’s Day, people in Canada generate 300,000 tonnes more waste than usual. Offset next year’s waste dump by honing your zero waste skills now.
  3. Think before you buy. That way you’ll end up returning less. Most purchased items can’t be resold as new. Retailers send billions of tonnes of waste from returns to landfills each year.
  4. Shop local. Reduce your footprint (and your “foodprint”) and support the businesses in your community.
  5. Give gifts of experiences. Is there an activity or service you like that you’d like to share? Even during lockdown, you can give food delivery, online streaming, Parks Canada passes, cleaning services and more to people who need them and as celebratory presents.
  6. Don’t rush. Choosing rush delivery can mean cargo planes and trucks go out half-empty. (Slowing down for COVID-19 has taught humanity a lot!)
  7. Prioritize quality. If you’re going to buy stuff, invest in pieces that will last — maybe even get passed down to future generations.
  8. Learn a new skill. Online videos can teach you how to knit, crochet, draw, pickle, quilt, bake, can, build furniture, dance, repair stuff — just about anything! — as you shelter in place. You can even take online classes with your friends.
  9. Eat lower on the food chain. Try meatless Mondays. Be a weekday vegetarian. Go at your own speed and put your health first.
  10. Go organic. Organic produce often costs the same as conventional. And if you’re eating less meat, you can shift that expense to invest in pesticide-free food. (You’ll help make life safer for the people who grow, pick, package, transport and sell your food, too.)
  11. Buy from bulk bins. Bulk buying means less packaging. You can use washable, reusable bags. And you can buy as much or as little as you need.
  12. Reduce food waste. Take the “whatever’s in the fridge” challenge. Say you only have two or three ingredients. Enter them online and watch new recipes come up. Expand your culinary repertoire!
  13. Reduce your wardrobe. How often do you wear everything you own? Consider a “capsule” wardrobe with a smaller number of pieces you can mix and match to create variety (if that’s what you want). Or express yourself by wearing the same thing over and over!
  14. Be energy efficient. Winter is cold in the great white north. Try staying toasty by wearing layers indoors and turning down the thermostat a smidge.
  15. Speak up. The people running businesses you frequent want to know what you want and need. That’s good customer service! Maybe you want to know if they carry organic/made-in-Canada/fair trade, etc. products. Or if you can leave product packaging at the store (make sure they’ll recycle it). You don’t ask, you don’t get.
  16. Ask manufacturers questions you want answers to, too. Where was this made? Can it be easily repaired/recycled/composted? Will you take responsibility for it when it’s worn out/broken/done?
  17. Tune into the natural world. Science shows that nature calms the brain and heals the body. Go outside. Look out your windows. Check out books, photographs and documentaries about Earth and beyond.
  18. Plan seeds. Most of Canada is too cold in winter to plant seeds. But you can still PLAN for the spring! Whether you’ll be growing a backyard, windowsill or patio garden or in a community plot, consider planting food crops, native wildflowers to attract essential pollinators — or both.
  19. Support science. You can help advance research about climate disruption, biodiversity and more from wherever you are.
  20. Count birds. Help conserve avian life. Take part in the Birds Canada/Oiseau Canada Christmas Bird Count, which ends Tuesday, January 5. Find a count in your region.
  21. Learn how to spot greenwashing. Eco-friendly is trendy. Yay! But not all green claims are true. Boo. And greenwashers want you to think they’re doing more for the Earth than they are. Sigh. Research. Ask questions. Look for reputable certifications. Check products with the Environmental Working Group website and app (you can even add ones that aren’t listed).
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