The historic string of natural disasters in 2020 exposed an undeniable reality: the effects of climate change are here. Although the enormous weight of climate change shouldn’t fall on any one individual’s shoulders, our actions can make a difference, little by little.
This year, let’s continue to support climate action and set new sustainable intentions to be kinder to the Earth, each other, and ourselves.
Here are 21 sustainable intentions to set in 2021:
1. Be aware of the agricultural practices behind the foods you buy.
When you can, choose foods sourced from clean farming practices. Chemical-based agro-toxins leach into our soils and waters, affecting all nearby life.
2. Compost your food scraps and improve your soil.
Not only does organic recycling benefit the environment and free up space in landfills, but it can also supercharge your home gardening. Once you begin composting, use this nutrient-dense fertilizer to grow vegetables and give your plants some extra love.
3. Be a more conscious consumer.
Try to purchase products that support renewable and regenerative efforts rather than promote waste.
4. Support local small farmers and artisans.
Shopping locally is a fantastic option for several reasons, one being that it significantly reduces the distance your food travels. That means less fuel consumption and air pollution to bring you your groceries.
Recommended by: Camino Verde, a member of the Climate Action Fund working to protect and understand biodiversity in the Peruvian Amazon.
5. Teach children about sustainability with fun environmental activities.
Simple resolutions like “plant a tree with a child” can make a difference for years to come. Have the child name and take care of the tree to make the experience even more meaningful! This type of activity shows younger generations what it means to care for our planet.
6. Look out for discarded plastic when you’re walking or hiking.
Pick up plastic when you see it lying around and properly dispose of it. That might even lead to conversations with your friends and family about the toxic effects of plastic accumulating in our food chain. Awareness is key!
7. Cook more healthy meals at home.
You can start with one healthy meal per week and work your way up as you go. Preparing meals at home gives you the freedom to use sustainable ingredients, waste less food, and use less energy. The nonprofit Obrobibini Peace Complex recommends learning about the ingredients, their nutritional contents, and their medicinal values to reap all the benefits of this intention!
8. Adopt sustainable and low-impact habits.
An activity such as meditation is not only great for mental health, but it’s also a low-impact way to make us more mindful of the world around us. This sustainable intention can help us treat the Earth and ourselves a little better. Not to mention it’s COVID-safe!
Recommended by: Obrobibini Peace Complex, a member of the Climate Action Fund working to make sustainable living mainstream in Ghana by offering courses on sustainable agriculture, healthy diets, herbal medicine, water recycling, and renewable energy.
9. Plant trees in your neighborhood.
This sustainable resolution is a great way to reduce ozone in urban areas and even reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, a major contributor to the greenhouse effect.
10. Buy organic, locally grown food when you can.
Organic farming tends to be better for the environment and may reduce pollution and soil erosion, conserve water, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without synthetic pesticides is also better for the people and animals living near the farms.
11. Learn and share information about ecological solutions.
There are tons of different sustainable solutions you can learn about, from gravity-powered irrigation to floating ecosystems for restoring rivers and water quality.
12. Plant your own herbs or vegetables.
The best way to reduce the distance your food is shipped is by growing it at home!
Recommended by: Sadhana Forest Kenya, a member of the Climate Action Fund working to sustainably bring water, forest, and food back to the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya.
13. Be more conscious with your eating habits.
If avoiding red meat is out of the question, consider cutting out beef in places where you can’t be sure of its origin. The meat industry is one of the principal causes of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Another one to avoid is palm oil, which is a major cause of deforestation in tropical areas like Indonesia.
14. Consume fair trade products when possible.
Fair trade is a global movement working to ensure equitable practices at every level of the supply chain. You can support sustainable social projects in small communities by buying organic and fair trade products.
15. Don’t waste paper.
We live in the digital era, so enjoy your favorite magazines and newspapers with digital subscriptions, and read books on electronic devices. If using paper is inevitable, then reuse and recycle it.
16. Support local people doing important climate work.
Get involved with local initiatives working to raise awareness and advocate for sustainable policies. Talk with friends and relatives to explain what you learned—your personal example could have a greater impact on them!
Recommended by: Instituto Chaikuni, a member of the Climate Action Fund working to regenerate degraded landscapes in Peru through traditional knowledge and permaculture design training.
17. Educate yourself about ecosystem restoration.
18. Support the restoration of biodiversity hotspots.
If you want to have a global impact with your sustainable intentions, look for local organizations working to restore carbon and water sources in biodiversity hotspots.
19. Use natural resources like water mindfully.
Learn how organizations are restoring water resources through sustainable farming and forestry techniques, and support them if you can!
20. Set a positive example.
These sustainable intentions—from sourcing food from local farmers to thinking carefully about the products we purchase—will begin to have more of an impact as more people adopt them. Making simple, everyday choices that benefit the environment can encourage the people around you to do the same.
Recommended by Iracambi, a member of the Climate Action Fund working to foster environmental awareness among local communities to restore Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
21. Make a monthly donation to the Climate Action Fund.
The communities most affected by our climate crises are also home to the most innovative solutions. A monthly donation to the Climate Action Fund will provide critical resources for five local leaders at the forefront of climate action.