A new year calls for some new resolutions. Usually, these are based around self-improvement, whether it be to stop bingeing Netflix or to learn a new skill. This year, why not try something a little different and make some resolutions to go green and help the environment around us. 

Despite the trials that 2020 threw at us, it was made a little more bearable by turning to nature. We suddenly had more time on our hands to enjoy a walk outside or to get some fresh air at the local park, and those with gardens no longer took them for granted when we were locked down in our houses.

This year, the RSPB have given some suggestions for us to make some greener changes to give back to the environment, and there’s no better time to start than the present!

There are some simple changes to implement in your daily life that could make huge changes. 

Here’s How You Can ‘Go Green’!

First up is swapping your toothbrush. The plastic toothbrush you’re using at the moment is not biodegradable and would take over 100 years to degrade in a landfill. Switching to a bamboo toothbrush, which is biodegradable and compostable, would mean that it can be degraded in 4-6 months. 

Another quick fix is using a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. In many cafes, this is encouraged with discounts on hot drinks when using your own cup and free refills on water. 

On a similar route, to avoid using and paying for single-use plastic bags, carry a reusable bag with you when you pop to the shops. There is no bigger guilt than paying for a shopping bag when you know there are so many at home!

When you are out shopping (with your reusable bag in hand), be sure to avoid as much plastic-wrapped food as possible. This is non-recyclable and will end up in landfills. Statistics show that only one-third of UK plastic packaging ends up being recycled. Additionally, in most shops, you are able to buy reusable, netted bags to carry your loose fruit and veg. Or opt for cardboard packing if possible. 

If you have a garden, you could plant a tree or hedge. With the increasing replacement of green spaces for concrete buildings, this could be your contribution to birds by providing a nesting site or food. Whilst you’re out and about, it’s also helpful to name and note the wildlife around you. This allows you to be more aware and protective of your surroundings, as well as giving you potential leverage in the next pub quiz.

2021: The Year to Go Green
Honey bee Apis mellifera, adult feeding on gentian, Scotland. Jenny Tweedie (rspb-images.com)

Year after year, the bee population is slowly declining as a result of pesticides and habitat loss. For those with or without a garden, you can help the bees by putting pots of bee-friendly plants on your balconies or window ledges. You can create similar environments for bugs and birds by building a bug hotel or a birdbox.

If you know of a space needing a bit of love in your area, you could start a community garden project. This would be great for wildlife and your local community!

You can find more ideas on the RSPB website and don’t forget to share these ideas with your family and friends, and on social media. We are living in an age where we are so influenced by one another, and easily too, so why not be the good influence that causes a positive chain of events? Choosing to do things differently, even just altering a few small habits, will make a huge impact if we do it together.

Let’s all go green and make 2021 a year of positive change!

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About Author

Cheryl is a Masters student studying Global Health and Development at UCL. She writes articles with the aim of driving individual and collaborative positive change by sharing the positive actions that are being taken across the globe.

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