The Real 2020: 5 New Year's Resolutions
You Can Actually Keep
It’s a new decade, and with it comes a whole new set of resolutions – and expectations – to live better. In the past, I’ve set ambitious resolutions to meditate daily or to stop eating dairy in the hopes that I could be motivated to change my ways. Knowing myself, these expectations were in fact unrealistic and I was inevitably disappointed when I couldn’t stick to them. So, now I’m trying another approach – one where I set realistic goals considering my habits and I stick to them. I am committed to living by my values of minimizing my impact on the environment, supporting local businesses and doing my best to buy products from abroad that are sourced ethically and sustainably. As long as I live by my values, I can only win…right? Right 😉
For those of you who are making sustainability part of your New Year’s resolutions, I’ve come up with a list of 5 tips that you can easily implement into your daily habits (it may take some time – don’t give up!):
1. Bring your own reusable cup at coffee shops & reusable water bottle
Did you know? Close to two billion disposable coffee cups are used in Canada each year. The same amount of plastic water bottles is used each year, the equivalent to 5.3 million per day. Although Canada has set a single-use plastic ban starting in 2021, the sooner we reduce our plastic waste the better.
Some of the 3 most important things in my life: coffee, plants and water.
2. Go Strawless
Oftentimes when we order a drink from our waiter at a restaurant or bar, it automatically comes to us with a plastic straw, even if we didn’t want or need it. In fact, Canadians use close to 57 million straws per day, many of which end up in landfills and, eventually, in the ocean.
If you really want or need to use a straw for your drink, I recommend getting a stainless steel or bamboo one. I’ve seen some at NU Grocery and Bulk Barn. The turtles will thank you – and so will I. If you’re concerned about how you’ll look – don’t fret. There is no one cooler than someone who cares for the environment. Trust me, I speak from experience. 😆
Enjoying the BEST coconut smoothie with my reusable straw and delicious soup with handmade noodles
3. Carry (a) reusable bag(s)
That’s where the reusable bags come in. While some items such as apples, onions or potatoes may not require a bag, others such as grapes or fresh kale may be easier to carry with one. There are many options for reusable produce bags, which you can get at grocery stores such as Farm Boy or NU Grocery.
Since plastic bags are not recyclable in Ottawa, plastic-free alternatives are preferred. However, if you do have clean and dry plastic bags you are no longer using, you can bring them to any of the grocery stores participating in the Take it Back program.
4. Bring your own container…
If you’re going to buy food such as meat, cheese or fish at a grocery store, you can ask staff to put it in your container. Unfortunately, not all stores accept this practice due to “health regulations”. To make it simpler for you, a great initiative called Ottawa Reduces has identified all shops that accept to serve customers in the container they bring.
I brought my own containers to a small chip stand called Ti Ray’s in Ste Cécile de Masham, Québec and they were happy to accommodate my request.
5. Go Strawless
If you’re like me, the cold winter months and lack of sunlight affect my mood. Being outdoors and getting some fresh air usually makes me feel better so I highly recommend going outside, even when all you want to do is be in your comfy PJs and eat chocolate, reminiscing about summer (or is that just me?).
– Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding: Camp Fortune
– Skating: City of Ottawa (List of the city’s skating rinks and schedules
– Snowshoeing; Cross Country Skiing; Hiking : NCC – Winter Activities
– Go on and treat yourself by going to the Nordik Spa – North America’s largest outdoor spa nestled in the forest of the Gatineau Park in Chelsea, QC.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we have to hibernate for the rest of winter. By doing some of these outdoor activities, you can focus on being in the present while reconnecting with nature, and reflect on all your New Year’s resolution victories so far.
Hiking through Mer Bleue Bog
I hope you find that these tips on how to be more eco-friendly are helpful. I’d love to know which one(s) you’ve tried and which you’ve been able to stick to, allowing for some only-human transitional slip ups, of course!