Ditch your resolutions: tips to live more sustainably in 2024

By Farah Bassyouni Jan 29, 2024

Toward the end of last year, I began making a conscious effort to learn more about the climate crisis, its causes, and possible steps that individuals can take to be a better inhabitant of the earth. After watching countless video essays and reading some articles, I started to learn about the phenomenon of “Positive Panic” – turning your fear and anxiety about the environment into fuel to live a more environmentally conscious existence. As the first month of the new year comes to a close, I decided to compile a list of easy and attainable habits to help anyone live more sustainably in 2024.  

  1. Stop buying things you don’t need

This year, I’m setting a goal for myself to stop buying things I don’t need. Not only is it better for my carbon footprint, it’s better for my bank account. As for the things you do “need”, consider the importance of those items’ newness. For years I’ve been buying things like books, clothes, and most electric appliances second hand, either from online sellers like ebay or local thrift and charity stores. It’s an amazing way to find older, more unique items that you otherwise might not, and the ThredUp advertisement states, if everyone thrifted one item of clothing instead of buying it new, it’d be like planting 66 million trees. 

       2. Eat less red meat

Look, I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, and I won’t scold you for not being one either. I think I would cry if someone told me I couldn’t eat chicken. But when it comes to red meat, the water consumption from production of red meat versus white meat is almost five times greater. It takes roughly 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. Not to mention the fact that red meat in large portions isn’t good for you. 

       3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle baby

For me, 2024 is the year of less single use plastic, mending/fixing what you already own instead of throwing it out, and recycling smart. We all know the downsides of single use plastics despite their convenience. Next, make do with what you have by mending or subtly altering pieces of clothing, furniture and decor. One snag or dangling thread shouldn’t mean your favorite top going in the trash (also, don’t ever dispose of clothing by putting it in the trash). But, if an item of clothing or other material object is on its last leg, you can always find ways to repurpose parts of it, for example using fabric from an old blouse as part of a patchwork jacket or converting an old dresser or end table into a bathroom vanity. Lastly, recycle. I know it sounds redundant, but even though our recycling efforts have gotten better as a whole, many people aren’t doing it properly, which ends up causing even more problems despite good intentions. When disposing of waste, especially food containers, always make sure recycled materials are clean and empty. The recycling plant doesn’t want your dirty Prego jars with sauce still lining the insides. Learning what things should and shouldn’t be recycled can help ensure your good intentions have good follow through.  

If you also want to start living more sustainably, but don’t know how without drastically changing your lifestyle, join me in ditching typical New Year’s resolutions and adopting these three simple habits. 

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