10 Resolutions for a Green Revolution
It’s that time of year again to reflect on the past and map out plans toward a better future. This year, while drawing up strategies for a new and improved you, we encourage you to include some resolutions focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. Climate change is real and the effects can be seen all around us – and because climate change is heavily influenced by human activities, each and every one of us can be part of the solution. Small changes in our daily routines can go a long way, and collectively, make a powerful difference. To make it easy for you we’ve come up with a list of 10 resolutions you can implement for a greener New Year.
It is estimated that somewhere in the realm of one trillion one-time use plastic bags are used globally every year. Made from petroleum-based polyethylene, plastic bags require about 12 million barrels of oil for production each year. Get in the habit of bringing your own reusable shopping bags and say no to one-time use plastic. You can also use reusable shopping bags as alternatives to gift bags and wrapping paper for birthdays and holidays. You’ll reduce waste and encourage your friends to join the movement while you’re at it.
2. Drive Less
According to ODOE’s 2018 Biannual Energy Report, the transportation sector is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon, and half of those are generated by passenger vehicles. Do your part to lower emissions by biking, walking, using public transit systems, or carpooling whenever you can.
3. Go Electric
Oregon’s goal is to have at least 50,000 electric vehicles registered in the state by the end of 2020. Help us reach our goal and reduce emissions by purchasing a zero emissions vehicle. Learn more about the benefits of going electric and find information about available incentive programs at goelectric.oregon.gov.
4. Get a Home Energy Score
You’ll be surprised by all the little ways you can make your home more energy efficient, and how much you’ll save as a result. Home Energy Score systems help homeowners and homebuyers better understand a home's energy use, and how even small improvements can make a big difference in energy savings. Learn more about Home Energy Scores and their benefits on our website.
5. Go Paperless
Enrolling in electronic options for utility billing, bank statements, and newsletters, or unsubscribing from mailing lists can help reduce waste and clutter. You might even find paperless options help you stay more organized and on top of things. Ask your service providers how to go paperless today.
Pro Tip: The FTC has a website designed to help you stop unsolicited junk mail:
6. Enroll in Renewable Energy
Your electricity provider may have optional green energy programs available to you. For a nominal monthly fee, your home could be powered by renewable energy, such as solar, wind, hydropower, and others. Contact your utility provider to learn about your options.
7. Eat Less Meat
Industrial livestock and meat production require a lot of energy, use a lot of natural resources, and account for a large percentage of our greenhouse gas emissions. You don’t have to go full vegetarian to make a difference – passing up meat for even just a few meals per week can result in major benefits to the environment – and maybe even your health.
8. Don’t Waste Food
According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, it is estimated that one third of all food produced in the world is wasted. When we waste food, we also waste all of the energy that was put into producing that food. Some easy ways to reduce food waste include saving and eating leftovers before making more, not buying more than you need, and practicing the first-in-first-out method when stocking the fridge or pantry.
Pro Tip: Learn more about food waste on the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s website.
9. Invest in Reusable Tumblers, Water Bottles, and Food Storage Options
Earth Day Network claims humans throw away about 16 billion disposable coffee cups, more than 480 billion plastic water bottles, and over 269,000 tons of plastic takeout containers each year. Imagine how much energy we could save and the amount of waste we could reduce if everyone brought their own reusable cup to coffee shops, drank from reusable water bottles, and used their own reusable containers for leftovers or takeout.
10. Grow Your Own Food
There are many benefits to growing your own food, such as reduced environmental effects from production and transportation and significant financial savings. On top of the environmental and financial benefits, gardening can be a fun, healthy, and rewarding hobby that the whole family can enjoy.
Pro Tip: Oregon Food Bank teamed up with OSU to offer Seed to Supper™, a free beginning vegetable gardening course that teaches participants how to garden on a budget. They also offer free seeds and starts for your garden (on a seasonal basis).
The Oregon Department of Energy is committed to leading our state to a safe, clean, and sustainable energy future – and we invite you to join our cause. There are so many little things we can easily do to improve energy efficiency and promote sustainability throughout our everyday lives. If we all do what we can, where we can, whenever we can, we’ll start to see big differences that will positively affect many generations to come.