As the new year starts, make each month greener with these 12 green ideas for 2022 to keep you motivated all year long
January – Love Your Kitchen
One of the best decisions we can make for the planet is to eat less meat. Whether you are choosing to join in with veganuary or simply deciding to eat healthily after the excesses of Christmas, you can make better choices when you gain confidence in the kitchen.
Make January the month you master some kitchen basics or finesse your techniques.
February – Frugal February
A month of no spending will make a positive impact on the environment and your bank balance. Apart from essential spending (bills, mortgage and transport), cut out all discretionary spending for a month. Use your newfound cooking skills and ditch dining out and takeaways, bring hot drinks from home and meet friends in the park rather than a coffee shop and pack a lunch for work.
March – Rewild Your Garden
Spring is the best time to plant a garden that will attract bees and other pollinators all summer long. With many plants to choose from like foxgloves, buddleias, cornflowers and garden herbs, there is one to suit all size and type of garden.
April – Curate Your Closet
Fast fashion is an environmental disaster with the annual carbon footprint of the fashion industry purported to be higher than all international flights and shipping combined. Streamline your spending with a capsule wardrobe challenge. Follow bloggers like Courtney Carver of Project 333, Caroline Joy of the Unfancy blog and youtuber A Small Wardrobe for inspiration.
May – Be Your Own Repair Shop
Extend the life of household objects and clothes by learning how to do simple repairs. Take a sewing class or learn basic car maintenance with an adult education class. Check out your local city college or university to see what they offer.
June – Eat With The Seasons
There were many foods that should be consigned to the dustbin of history (spam anyone?), but one lesson we should take from forebears is seasonal eating. Choosing local, seasonal food is the most sustainable option, reducing the need for processing and transporting goods. That organic avocado no longer looks like a great environmental choice when you consider its air miles from Mexico. Seasonal produce also uses less carbon intensive practises like artificial lighting and fertilisers that are needed to force crops all year round.
July – Make Your Voice Heard
Non-violent action has always had the power to make change in the world from Ghandi’s salt march to Rosa Park’s bus journey. Research has found that just 3.5% of a population engaged in non-violent protest can achieve political change – that is around 2 million people in the UK. With 76% of UK adults claiming to be concerned about climate change, that is potentially millions of people who could demand faster action to limit global warming.
August – Travel Slow
After the last couple of years, you can be forgiven for wanting to travel as far from your own four walls as possible, but there is no escaping the fact that tourism can have negative environmental impact from the obvious polluters such as air travel and cruise ships to less visible contributing factors like air conditioning in hotels and using bottled water.
For a greener holiday avoid short haul flights, choose a responsible tour operator and respect the local environment.
September – Winter Proof Your Home
As the weather turns cooler, get your house winter ready without skyrocketing your energy bills. Magnify the heat available with cheap fixes like radiator reflector foil and hot water tank jackets. Stop up draughts with a draught excluder and get cosy on the couch with extra blankets in the evening. For a big money saver, set your home thermostat to a recommended 18℃. This could cut your energy bill by 10%.
October – Swap Don’t Shop
The pandemic hasn’t brought many silver linings, but one shining light is the increase in community groups springing up around the UK. Many unofficial volunteer groups that started by providing food and support to shielding families have evolved into wider schemes such as swap shops and food cooperatives. If one does not exist where you live, why not consider starting a local swap scheme for skills, garden equipment and other goods. It helps the environment and builds stronger communities.
November – Shop Small
As the year heads towards its final months, thoughts will turn once more to Christmas. Choosing to shop at well-considered small and independent retailers either in your town or online can support local communities, strengthen local economies and be the most sustainable option. If you’re looking for unique and thoughtful gift ideas but don’t want to give your money to Jeff Bezos, then try Not On Amazon – a community for small independent businesses whose products are not listed on Amazon.
December – Secondhand Christmas
The excesses of the festive season can see huge amounts of waste generated with an estimated 100 million bags of rubbish heading to landfill by Boxing Day and that is before you consider the environmental and financial cost of unwanted and unnecessary gifts.
This year try a secondhand Christmas instead, with a family challenge to find the perfect presents in charity shops and flea markets or set rules for the office Secret Santa game where nothing gifted can be brand new. Shopping this way demands more thought and creativity and creates a conscious approach to gifting and can also be great fun.