New Year, Same Earth: Going Sustainable and Reducing My Impact


Original art by Arts Editor Kathryn Welch

Kathryn Welch, Arts Editor

New Year’s resolutions–I’ve never been one for creating a long list of near impossible goals I hope to somehow achieve in the new year. Sure, I’ve made a normal list of things like “journal every night, read more, workout twice a week,” but these things often become a distant thought as the days of January roll into February and so on until I’m back to New Year’s Eve writing another list of things I hope to accomplish.

This year I knew I had to try something different, something that would encourage me to keep moving forward with my goals.

Before the end of 2019 I began watching a multitude of YouTube videos that were all centered around the subject of living a more sustainable lifestyle.

I had never before thought how much trash and waste I produced that added to the ever growing landfills and pollution. After further research, I decided my New Year’s resolution for 2020 would be to live in a way that is mindful of the things I consume, use, and buy so that my environmental impact would not be as harmful.

I realized how simple changes could be made in my everyday life that would decrease the amount of plastic and nonrenewable items I normally would use or buy.

One way I plan to live more sustainably is to have vegetable and herb gardens. The produce may not grow to be as large as they are at the grocery store, but the fact is that these items would cost me little to no money at all. Not only will I be living in a more sustainable way, but I can save a few bucks in the process.

My gardens will not be full scale, but they really don’t have to be. There are plenty of small DIY garden box ideas you can make yourself and you can even grow herbs inside old mason jars on your window sill. 

Another way I plan to obtain my goal of sustainable living is by composting old food scraps that can be used in the vegetable garden.

When food scraps are placed into trash bags and then thrown into landfills, natural decomposition of these items is restricted and instead produces harmful gases. This issue can be easily avoided with the use of a compost bin.

Through the process of growing my own vegetables and buying fresh foods locally, I will be able to consume nutrients mindfully and sustainably.

I have also started remembering when grocery shopping, whether by myself or with my family, to grab my reusable tote bags to keep from using typical plastic bags offered at grocery stores. This helps to declutter your home from all those left over bags after you empty them and reduce the amount of plastic you will inevitably throw away.  

The final way I have been more mindful is the purchase of items secondhand. Thrifting and secondhand stores have recently become a popular outlet for those seeking a more sustainable lifestyle.

The purchase of clothing, houseware, and other resources secondhand gives life to older items that still have use. Choosing to thrift a shirt or even making a new piece of fashion out of an old one is one of the best ways you can make the switch to living more sustainably.

My goal for the new year is not unattainable because I’ve already put forth the steps to changing my habits. 

Resolutions don’t have to be an illusion. 

If you have a goal, reach for it. Plan the steps you will take to achieve it. 

Don’t stop yourself short before you’ve even reached out your hand. Make this new year yours and choose to make a change.