Not Your Typical Resolution

8 Jan 2021
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January. The month of motivation to better ourselves, when gyms witness more footfall than ever, restaurants and supermarkets are flooded with vegan products to support the masses who challenge themselves with veganism. Lose weight, eat healthy, get organised, read more, don’t drink, no sugar, spend less; seems we have heard it all..

However, this year, we face two unprecedented challenges. The first, more pressing than ever as elucidated by the dreaded doomsday countdown provided to us by The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). The MCC’s Carbon Clock warns that global warming must be limited to a 1.5⁰C increase in order to avoid dangerous climate change. Based on the report, this can only be achieved by limiting the total amount of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere to a maximum of 420 gigatons (Gt). However, since the world emits around 42 Gt of CO2 every year, that budget is expected to be used up in about six years. The budget for staying below the 2⁰C threshold, for its part, of approximately 1070 Gt, will be exhausted in about 24 years. As I write this sentence, the clock changes at a pace so fast outlining the dire consequences: we will reach the 1.5⁰C threshold in less than 6 years, 11 months, 25 days, 23 hours, 28 minutes. What we once anticipated would occur in our grandchildren’s lifetimes, is happening now. 

The second challenge is of course the global pandemic that is raging on, ruthless as ever, inhibiting any sense of normalcy in many of our lives. As we enter our third national lockdown in the UK, daily activities like going to work, meeting friends, retail therapy or eating out are all at a standstill, completely transforming our lifestyles. We have turned to the intangible world of digital and technology to fuel these everyday tasks to restore some semblance of business as usual. 

Over the years, studies have shown that under 25% of people commit to their resolutions after just 30 days, and under 8% accomplish them. This percentage is so low as often we tend to set high, unachievable and unsustainable goals.The global pandemic has decreased morale and motivation further, leading to many individuals not even committing to resolutions in 2021. 

While we may decide to pause from goal setting this year, the Carbon Clock certainly knows no pause. We cannot afford to be lazy or turn away from resolutions even though many of us are facing pandemic caused hardships or anxieties. This is a crucial year for our planet, a year that will determine our futures. The Covid-19 pandemic has been proof enough that humans cannot control natural disasters as we thought we could, which only reinstates the urgency of action. In six years, we could be seeing another global disaster, or multiple clusters of disasters leading to even more loss, hardship and consequences. 

If, like me, you are eagerly awaiting the return of normalcy, take a second to reflect upon your role as an individual to help counteract the Carbon Clock and global warming. While we are stuck at home, it is the perfect time to educate ourselves, reflect, and begin to make small, sustainable changes to our lifestyles that will positively impact the planet. Apps like Yayzy and CoGo that quantify the impact of your spending and daily activities,  are handy in educating ourselves on our carbon footprint. Reflecting and actioning upon this can sound overwhelming, but here are a few minor changes that go a long way: 

– Change to LED lightbulbs at home, not only are they more energy efficient, but also last longer saving the effort and cost of purchasing new ones.

– Say goodbye to plastic bottles and cling wrap, using easy alternatives like refillable bottles and wax paper coverings for food. 

– Waste less! Make enough food for yourself and those around you to avoid food waste (This also helps in portion control and not overeating!) Apps like Olio and Too Good To Go are great to use too.

– Recycle and Compost! 

– Invest in a nice reusable shopping bag to accompany you to the supermarket.

– Eat less meat. Try Meatless Mondays or minimising your consumption of animal products. There are great vegan alternatives to meat that taste very similar. 

– Digitise your wardrobe! Dig deep and face the wrath of your closet to upload all that you own, to help you be more mindful in purchasing new items. Only buy what you really need and use tools like Good on You to educate yourself on sustainable swaps of brands. 

– Change the way you care for your clothes. The temperature you wash your clothes, where you dry clean items, where you shop from, where you donate items all make a huge difference to energy, water and carbon footprint levels.

Any small, yet long term change to your lifestyle is worth a celebration and feeling good about. The more we credit ourselves and feel good about these changes, the more likely we are to stick to them. So as we sit at home, twiddle our thumbs and browse Netflix during Lockdown 3.0, take the time to think about what you can do as an individual or collective to slow the ticking of the clock. Be a proud member of the 8% and commit to a resolution you can stick to, with us by your side.