To say 2020 was a whirlwind year would be a massive understatement. The effects of climate change, nature degradation, and health inequities made frequent headlines, and a global pandemic dominated our day-to-day conversations. Let’s start 2021 with a focus on our health and the health of our planet!
Here are a few suggestions for new habits that will benefit your health, the earth, and your budget (or view our infographic):
Active transportation for exercise and clean air
- Can you bike or walk to work to reduce your fuel use? If not, consider parking farther away from your destination and walking the rest of the way. You’ll still save gas money, get some exercise, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Try running some errands on foot. Consider businesses close to home, work, or other places you visit frequently.
Fuel your body without fueling climate change
- Centre your meals around plants instead of meat. Most Canadians don’t eat enough veggies and fruits, and producing plant-based protein releases much less GHGs than raising animals for meat.
- Take time to plan meals, including planned uses for leftovers. Reducing food waste will save you money and GHG emissions from food going to landfills.
- Composting fruit and veggie scraps is an excellent way to reduce GHGs and saves you from buying fertilizer for your garden.
Cut down your use of plastic
- Store leftover food in ceramic, stainless steel, or glass containers. Harmful chemicals in plastic can leach into hot food and get into your body. Repurpose old plastic containers as storage containers or plant pots instead of buying new.
- On top of containing harmful chemicals, plastic is made from the fossil fuels that are driving climate change. Choosing alternatives to plastic reduces the need for companies to produce them in the first place, and prevents plastic pollution.
Avoid toxic chemicals at home
- Try saving make-up for special occasions, avoiding fragrances, or shampooing less frequently. Using these products less can save you money and reduce your exposure to phthalates and other harmful chemicals
- Reduce dust (which can contain harmful flame retardants, metals, and other toxins) in your home by decluttering, dusting and vacuuming often, and leaving shoes at the door. Skip expensive sprays and wipes; a vacuum with a HEPA filter and a damp cloth is all you need.
- Make your own cleaning supplies using kitchen items. These cost less than commercial products and helps you avoid many toxic ingredients. 50% vinegar/50% water leaves mirrors and glass sparkling. 50% vinegar/50% dish soap will tackle most household tasks. Make a scouring paste of baking soda and water for stubborn messes.