Well 2017 is finally over. Here’s hoping 2018 will be loads better. I usually don’t do New Year’s Resolutions but I figured this year I would give it a go. I’m trying to keep them realistic and doable so I thought I’d share.
Work on being vegan at home: I’m vegetarian and I rarely (if ever) drink cow’s milk. I do love cheese though. However, due to how bad animal agriculture is for the environment, I really want to work on lessening my impact. While I can have full control over the ingredients when I eat at home, going out to eat while vegan is pretty difficult. So I’m going to try my damndest to be vegan at home and vegetarian when I go out.
Workout 3x per week: This one I would really like to stick to and there is no reason I should not be able to. I notice a big difference in my fitness levels since I moved home to sedentary America. My parents have a tiny home gym and I’ve recently fallen in love with the elliptical, so working out is going to cost me literally nothing. My new trick to motivate me is to pick a TV series that I am ONLY allowed to watch while I work out. I’m currently working my way through The West Wing, a series I haven’t watched since high school. The episodes are a respectable 45 minutes each and they always leave me itching to watch the next one.
Have a monthly budget: This is something I really need to work on. I’m okay with limiting my purchases but I think setting a figure and seeing how much I spend on unnecessary things and saying “no” to going out and spending money will be a real eyeopener.
Travel back to London: This one is a confirmed thing! Hurry up May! Have decided that I will be adding this to my resolutions every year from now.
Buy majority of clothing second-hand: I want to lessen my environmental impact as much as possible. Plus I really like thrift shopping. It’s fun to never know what you are going to find or what deal you are going to get. I’ve recently discovered the Savers stores and now I can’t fathom spending more than $12 on any item of clothing.
Journal/write more: This is something I strive towards every year. I so want to be a journal person. I’ve also bought a book of 300 writing prompts to help me as I usually don’t write because I feel like I have nothing to write about.
Be asleep by 11PM: This one will be hard. It’s not so much about going to bed earlier, but becoming more of a morning person. I’m hoping a set bedtime will help.
Read every night: I love to read and I do read a lot, but I would like to start reading more in bed. I usually read for a bit but then turn on the TV and watch until midnight. Hopefully this one helps me stick to #7!
Blog 2x per week: I would really like to have this blog be a portfolio of my writing. Just purchased this domain name so hopefully I can get my money’s worth =]
Keep making #zerowaste switchups: I recently wrote about this and I would like to keep improving and lessening the amount of plastic waste that I produce.
Find a job that let’s me do some good: This will be probably my biggest resolution of 2018. I am determined not to work for a company unless it does some good for the world. I refuse to dedicate 40+ hours to something that I am not whole-heartedly passionate about. Interning at this summer really taught me that I am the most professionally fulfilled when I work on something related to environmentalism and that I can combine that with my skills in PR/communications. I currently have a part-time job at a bookstore that I am happy to keep until the right thing comes along.
I do not have a lot of fears. I am not afraid of heights, flying, spiders, the dentist, needles, snakes, water, clowns, germs, thunder, or the dark. But lately I have been feeling something that is absolutely fear: fear that within my lifetime the effects of climate change will be so great that life as we know it will cease.
Now, I don’t think the world will end, or that all of the catastrophic things that are coming (and they WILL come) will happen at once, but I do think that we as humans are going to be tested like never before. Natural disasters will continue to get worse and more frequent. They will also start to happen in places that they previous have not. Sea levels will rise – it is not out of the question that Boston, NYC, and London will be underwater within my lifetime. Forget about fighting over the ever-dwindling supply of oil, drinkable water will be the next thing to cause mass panic (look at the recent price gouges during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – taking advantage of people’s panic and the very real chance that access to safe drinking water could be compromised, some stores were charging up to $50 for a case of bottled water).
I am SO afraid that society will just dissolve into chaos, even though the effects and consequences of climate change have been known for decades and we have had YEARS AND YEARS to get our acts together and change our ways.
I try SO hard to lessen my impact of the environment, with my biggest contribution being that I went vegetarian in May 2016. There is so much evidence that finds going veggie to be a key factor in dramatically lowering CO2 emissions. Science Daily states that “If Americans would eat beans instead of beef, the United States would immediately realize approximately 50 to 75 percent of its GHG (harmful greenhouse gases) reduction targets for the year 2020…without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing.”
Two weeks ago I decided to try a vegan lifestyle. I have been a vegetarian for ten months and I do not drink dairy. BUT I eat eggs, butter, and cheese. I have wondered for a while if I would have the willpower to commit to not eating any animal products. I knew that I could probably give up eggs and there are plenty of butter substitutes, but CHEESE I knew would be the absolute hardest.
I am proud to say that I went a full 14 days without consuming any animal products. It was actually a lot easier (when I was at home) than I thought it would be. I didn’t miss cheese that much and most of my food staples (spinach, rice, chickpeas, garlic, pasta, etc.) were already completely plant-based anyway. I really recognized the difficulty of a vegan lifestyle while I was out though. For example, I went to Starbucks with two friends for some almond lattes and we ended up staying and chatting for almost three hours. Towards the end, I was properly hungry but soon realized that next to nothing on the Starbucks food menu was vegan. There were plenty of vegetarian options but they all had either cheese or eggs listed as ingredients. I know that it doesn’t sound like much of anything, but when your hands are shaky and you feel slightly faint (which sometimes happens to me if I go without eating for a while), it became a big deal. Little instances like that, things you do not plan for, are what make being vegan hard for me. Plus all I wanted was a croissant.
What I have taken away from the experience is this: I have MAJOR respect for people who live a vegan lifestyle 24/7. It is something that I think I would ultimately like to work towards, and with the acceptance and science promoting a plant-based lifestyle increasing, I think more brands and restaurants are going to make it easier for me to be able to. I also want to try being vegan at home and vegetarian while I am out. I eat at home probably 85% of the time, so this will really help me curb my environmental impact (my reason for going vegetarian and a big reason why I want to go vegan). But when I am out, I think I am going to let the standards slip a bit. Because sometimes you just need that ice-cream or bowl of raviolis and that is okay.
Last May I saw a documentary that was going to change the way I ate forever. The film was Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. The film, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, follows filmmaker Kip Anderson as he learns how devastating the meat and dairy industry is to our environment and why respected environmental advocacy groups seem afraid to even mention it.