7 Super Green Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Let's make this year the Year of the Planet.

Jan 1, 2014

Photo by Flickr user Aproximando Ciência e Pessoas

When it comes to making New Year's Resolutions, we're generally pretty self-centered. Save money, get fit, learn a new skill – and how long until we give up on them and carry on just as before anyway? While there are certainly adjustments you can try out to make your resolutions more achievable, why not change your outlook this year and make some resolutions for the planet? These seven ideas are easy to keep, benefit Mother Earth and in turn - all beings on the planet.  

1. UNPLUG

GREEN: Taking a few minutes to turn off your electrical devices won’t just help you save the planet - it can also save you a few bucks off your electric bill. Turn off the lights when leaving a room at home, and shut down your computer and printer instead of letting them idle.
GREENER: For bonus points, make a morning ritual of unplugging TVs, fans and stereos before you leave for work.
GREENEST: When you're in the market for a new appliance, look out for energy efficient models, and make sure to keep current devices running as smoothly as possible.

Photo by Flickr user Robert S. Donovan

2. GO ORGANIC & LOCAL

GREEN: By now you've probably heard all about how organic food is better for your health, but did you know it's also better for the planet?  Buying locally-grown, organic produce conserves fuel and reduces pollution.
GREENER: As an added bonus, food grown locally doesn't require preservatives and waxing to keep it fresh. And less preservatives means more natural good taste.
GREENEST: By supporting organic farmers you'll be helping to protect water from pollutants, cut down on soil erosion, and conserve the energy and money it takes to produce synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Photo by Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography

3. SAVE WATER

GREEN: Water is a finite natural resource all over the world - and just being conscious of your usage can make a real difference. On top of saving drops, you can help cut back on the energy needed to pump, heat and process water.
GREENER: Turn the tap off when you're shaving, brushing your teeth or scrubbing the dishes – every drop counts.
GREENEST: Upgrade your toilet to a low-flush or dual-flush model, and remember - only flush when it's absolutely necessary.

Photo by Flickr user laszlo-photo

4. SWITCH LIGHT BULBS

GREEN: Fluorescent light bulbs have come a long way, and are now available in a variety of different "warmths" – so there's no excuses for holding back any longer.
GREENER:  Make a list of all the bulbs in use and around your house, and buy energy-efficient bulbs in one go so you can replace each one as needed.
GREENEST: Check out Energy Star's Home Energy Yardstick to see what other easy green changes you can make at home.

Photo by Flickr user bleggg

5. PARK THE CAR 

GREEN: Daily commutes chew up energy and money alike – and that's before factoring in the costs of parking and car maintenance. Look into car pool or public transport options to save both money and the environment.
GREENER: Better yet, join eco-consciousness with a New Year's health craze and ride your bike around town instead of your car. Get yourself a funky basket so your wheels can handle grocery store runs (for organic, local produce of course!)
GREENEST: Most importantly, put some thought into how you're getting around. If a car really is the only option for you, so be it – but try to combine trips, choose efficient routes, and offer friends and family a lift whenever possible.

Photo by Flickr user Thomas Hawk

6. RECYCLE

GREEN: There's almost no end to the recycling you can do these days if you just put a little creativity into it. Bottles, cans and paper are probably already second nature to you, but what about your old electronics? There are plenty of up-and-coming initiatives around which encourage recycling phones and other items – get online and check out options in your area.
GREENER: Keep your recycling hat on when you hit the mall, and stick to stationery and other office supplies which are enjoying a second time around.
GREENEST: There are few things greener than compost – and it's another way to put your waste to good use. Start a compost bin in your yard, and watchyour garden reap the benefits.

Photo by Flickr user antwerpenR

7. PLANT A TREE

GREEN: Lastly, get down and dirty in the garden and plant a tree. Not only is it super fun and rewarding, your green friend will transform pollutants into clean, pure oxygen – and maybe even become a home to local wildlife.
GREENER: Location, location, location! Space permitting, plant your tree in a spot where it provides a pretty patch of shade, and can eventually grow to help cool your home.
GREENEST: If you're living an über-urban lifestyle and planting a tree is not an option, you can look into supporting green initiatives online, or getting involved in an inner-city gardening project.

Photo by Flickr user Pink Sherbet Photography

As well as managing Goodnet.org, Elana writes happy headlines with a particular focus on yoga, meditation and family matters. She has a background in online journalism and web content.