A Green New Year

The new year is well underway already as January is already packing its bags. Let's take a mental assessment of the month. How well have your actions and inactions been sustainable? If you've had a great start and you succeeded in living sustainably this month, say to yourself, ayamastar! If you made a few unsustainable decisions, work towards having a perfect score in February. And if you're yet to start making conscious efforts towards living sustainably, it's not too late to begin. You can join the train today. 

The goal is to have a green new year and a green new year we shall have. And as much as our lives are a blend of different spheres of life, it is imperative that we know which actions are sustainable in those spheres and which are not. So, today we'll be looking into sustainable tips to have a green new year at home and health-wise. 

A Green New Year — At Home

Sustainability begins at home. How you conduct yourself in your house is a determinant of how you will elsewhere. It's therefore important to begin your green new year from your home. Here are some sustainable actions you can engage in and inculcate into your lifestyle while at home. 

1. Monitor Your Energy Use

If you're in Nigeria, you're either using a prepaid or a postpaid meter. With a prepaid meter, you buy a certain amount of power units, and when it gets exhausted, you buy again. With a postpaid meter, you're supplied power first, then delivered the energy bill consumed by the end of the month, and then you pay. Whichever category you fall into, pick up your last receipt and check the amount of energy used. The goal this year is to keep cutting down on that amount until you get to a threshold just sufficient to keep your home running sustainably. 

So, how can you cut down on your energy consumption? You can begin with turning off the light bulbs during the day or when not in use. In addition, replace your bulbs with LED white light bulbs as they use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Did you know that unplugging appliances like TVs, microwaves, chargers, computers, from the socket when not in use can save you about 10% of your bill? These appliances still use little energy even when switched off, so long as they remain plugged. You can also do without some appliances that take so much energy, such as your washing machine and dryer. Occasionally go manual with washing clothes if you can and make sure to sun dry your clothes instead of using the machine dryer. Starting your new year with an energy audit is an effective way to measure your home's energy footprint and reduce it to the barest minimum sufficient for your home to run conveniently. 

2. Have a 'No Meat Monday' Resolution

This is one simple resolution that can have tremendous impact sustainably. Did you know that the meat production industry is responsible for 57% of Greenhouse gases released by the food industry in general, and these gases make up 14.5% of total human emissions that cause climate change. The real danger from the livestock farming industry is that it doesn't just release CO2, but NO2 and CH4 as well. And while these gases don't remain for as long as CO2 does in the atmosphere, NO2 has a climate warming potential that is 100 times that of CO2, while CH4's is 25 times more than that of CO2. To mitigate the risk of climate change caused by the meat industry, it is imperative to cut down on meat consumption. And you can begin by simply taking meats out of your meal on Mondays and replacing it with nutritious and organic vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts. Okay, we agree, it may not be so simple to begin with, but with consistency, by the end of the year, you may be hitting no meat everyday already. 

3. Manage Household Waste Responsibly 

The first step to accomplishing this is to minimise waste generated in your home to the barest minimum. Look into your waste bin and identify wastes you can reuse or recycle or even do without entirely. Take appropriate action on such wastes and be sure that what you have left are wastes you can't but generate and can't but dispose as well. Another aspect of waste you need to work on is food waste. Disposing food items is one quick way to cook the planet to toast from the kitchen. Instead of disposing, store or freeze food items so they don't get spoilt and eat them some other time. You can also repurpose food and come up with new meal ideas instead of thrashing food you don't want. Giving to others is another tip that'll cost you nothing. Anything to not waste that food is the way to go. 

4. Save Water

To have running water in your home takes a very energy-intensive procedure. As much as it lies in your power, try to save as much water as you can. If you still brush your teeth while the tap is running, you must be a cultist. To save water, you can repurpose used water instead of disposing it. You can plug your bathtub or bathroom drainage, for instance, and use your bathing water to flush your toilet. Or in the kitchen, you can use water used to wash fruits to wash plates afterwards. You get the gist, right? In essence, before you throw used water away, ask yourself, can I reuse this water for something else? You'll realise that you indeed can and that way, you get to save water and maximise its use in your home. 

A Green New Year - Health-wise

Now let's get to the fitfam! As you chase your body and health goals this year, don't forget the mission to save planet earth. Don't just chase fitness or eat on a diet alone, do them intentionally for the planet, like the superhero that you are. Let's see how you can save the planet as you stay fit and healthy.

1. Have a Green Diet

Everything you put on your plate has an impact on the planet. Keep these in mind for your diet. 

- Go green with your diet. You may not necessarily go 100% veggie but learn to minimize meat consumption. There's plenty of plant based alternatives so you don't have to eat meat every time.

- Be Adventurous with food. Don't just stick to a particular combo or you may end up wasting it. Explore and enjoy More Varieties, for the sake of the planet. Avoid food waste by all means.

- Eat Mindfully. For your health and for the planet, your diet is no joke. Pay attention to what you eat, especially how it is made.

2. Exercise Sustainably

We agreed to "hit the gym" this year, yes? Let's do it in style, the green way.

- Walk to the gym instead of going by car or bus. This nature walk keeps you fit and is sustainable for the planet. In our opinion, Natural Footprint >>> Carbon Footprint. 

- Buy Sustainable Gym Wears. They're made from recycled fabrics and plastics. When next you want to get a gym gear, make sure to be specific about its description and select an environment friendly one. 

- Use a Green Gym. Gyms that promote sustainability encourage more of manual workouts while still achieving the same results. They also do not use energy-intensive equipment. You can search for a green gym close to you and get enrolled. 

- Go Plogging. Plogging is a fun exercise that keeps you fit while you care for the environment. Killing two birds with one stone, smart move innit? That's the goal fam, let's keep fit as we keep clean and save planet earth.

Next week, we'll get into how you can have a green new year on the go. Until then, stay fit and stay clean. Have a sustainable week. 

Adeola Olalere

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