Every new year, we face a rather tricky situation regarding goals and resolutions. Can we fit some gym time into our busy schedules? Should we volunteer more? Do we want to save for a house? January brings a fresh slate, and it’s often hard to figure out what to do with it. 

That said, 2020 isn’t only a new year – it’s a new decade. As climate change continues to accelerate, we must take on some eco-friendly habits. Here are a few ways you and your loved ones can commit to a sustainable lifestyle this year.

1. Eat Less Meat

Many of us live on diets of chicken, pork and beef. This practice isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but it turns out that meat consumption has tremendous implications for our environment. It takes thousands of gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. The dairy and meat industries are also responsible for a decent amount of greenhouse gases and often mistreat animals. 

Take steps to eat less meat this year, even if you don’t want to go vegetarian or vegan. Incorporate Meatless Mondays so that you can become acclimated to the difference. 

2. Create an Energy-Efficient Home

Our homes usually run on some fossil fuel, like coal or natural gas, which are detrimental to the planet. Thankfully, we can offset our carbon footprints through renewable energy options. Renewables include solar, geothermal, hydroelectric and a few others. 

If you aren’t in the market for a new system, there are smaller ways to achieve similar results. Seal your windows, replace incandescent light bulbs and invest in a smart thermostat. No matter how you go about this process, you’ll want to calculate your total energy usage and go from there.

3. Reduce Your Consumption

Consumerism plays a huge role in climate change. We’re always buying new items and throwing old ones out. In fact, Americans generate about 258 million tons of solid waste every year. Thus, many people should think before they buy. 

Do you need a brand new flat screen television? If the answer’s yes, check out online markets like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace first. A second-hand product can work just as well and often costs less. The same idea goes for clothes. Thrift stores offer tons of gently-used pieces for a bargain. Sometimes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. 

4. Ditch Single-Use Materials

A big no-no these days is the use of plastic water bottles, straws and containers. Plastic creates pollution, doesn’t decompose and clogs our waterways. Recently, there’s been a push to adopt more sustainable habits. 

This new year, purchase a reusable water bottle. Stop using straws and, if you need them, look for metal or cardboard options. When you head to the grocery store, bring along a few tote bags and ditch the plastic at the counter. If an item has a lot of packaging, try to find an alternative. 

5. Clean With Natural Products

By the time spring rolls around, many of us like to declutter and organize our homes. This year, try to pick up some non-toxic cleaning products. You can find a bunch on the market to choose from, including laundry detergent, multi-surface cleaner and dish soap. 

These products will keep you and your family healthy as you won’t feel the effects of various chemicals. These items are often plant-based and cheaper, too. 

2020 Sustainability Goals — The Earth Matters

In 2020, try to complete goals and resolutions that benefit both you and the planet. Whether you pick up a swanky new water bottle or outfit your home with energy-efficient technology, you can make a difference. Encourage your friends and family to take these sustainable steps, too.