Impact Resolutions for a Better World in 2020

(Originally published by Net Impact on January 27, 2020)

The New Year and a brand-spanking-new decade are here, and with that change comes an opportunity to think about setting intentions or resolutions for the months ahead. Whether you absolutely love the chance to start afresh or are new to making a New Year’s resolution, Net Impact is here to help you set your #ImpactResolutions alongside our network of changemakers.

The term of the year in 2019 was ‘climate emergency’. With news of the Amazon rainforest fires this summer, record-breaking temperatures worldwide, and bushfires currently ripping through Australia— it’s no surprise environmentalism and climate action is at the forefront of people’s minds. On an individual level, it can sometimes feel difficult to know how to make a change, and what to do to better impact the world. Set an intentional goal (or a few!) for 2020 to help shift your habits and live more sustainably where possible.

Here is a list of sustainable and actionable ideas for #ImpactResolutions from the Net Impact community to try out in the New Year. Our advice: try one at a time. It’s perfectly okay to build better habits incrementally to help make them stick. But if you’re pumped and ready for a New Year’s overhaul, then all the power to you.

1. Invest your money where it matters 

Whether it’s supporting community investments, using a socially responsible bank, or even pushing your employer to make more sustainable choices for your 401(k), there are many ways to engage in impact investing for your funds. A tool such as Clean Portfolios can be used to evaluate your choices. 

2. Swap disposables for reusable alternatives 

Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. From carrying your own water bottle and shopping bags to bringing utensils when you are out (ones from home work just fine), try to create a small low-waste kit to have with you when you need it most. 

3. Reduce driving when possible

We know this doesn’t work for everyone, but where and when you can, skip the car and walk, bike or take public transportation instead. You’ll get some good (free!) exercise while taking a huge bite out of your personal carbon footprint.  For every mile you don’t drive, you reduce your carbon footprint by one pound. Bonus points if you’re lugging bags of groceries home on your walk.

4. Shop secondhand first 

Choosing used and preloved fashion helps slow down the fashion production cycle, lightens the strain we put on the planet’s resources and contributes to freeing some workers from inhumane conditions. A lot of second-hand shopping (though not all of it) also takes place locally meaning that it cuts emissions connected to shipping an item all over the globe. Curious to know what how the clothing you already own stacks up? Online clothing reseller ThredUp recently released a calculator that helps you evaluate your current closet footprint. 

5. Commit to eating more plants 

Plant-based eating is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Shifting to a diet rich in plants is a demand-side solution to global warming that runs counter to the meat-centric, highly processed, often-excessive Western diet broadly on the rise today. Try a few new recipes to explore how you can cut back on meat in the New Year. Now that you are inspired, tell us what your #ImpactResolution will be and join the Net Impact community on our journey to create a more just and sustainable world! Don’t forget to share with family and friends and invite them to join you.

Sign up for updates and be sure to follow Net Impact on social for more ways you can make a difference and to connect with the Net Impact Chapters on your campus or community.

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