Treepoints monthly challenges: December

Published by Georgia Crump on

Treepoints’ monthly challenge gives you easy ways to make your daily living more sustainable. Helping you on your journey to a carbon negative lifestyle.

Resolutions for the new year

At the core of the Treepoints’ ethos is that the journey to carbon negative is not just about carbon offsetting, it’s also about minimising your personal carbon footprint. Each month, we’re sharing with the Treepoints community a simple challenge to help focus your efforts towards a low carbon lifestyle. 

This month, the festive season is nearly upon us, and we’re thinking ahead to the new year. This is the perfect time to start thinking about your resolutions for the new year. How can you make your life greener in 2021?

Setting yourself easy challenges at the start of the year is a great way to make sure that you hit those carbon goals. Schedule a regular check-in, whether that’s weekly or monthly to look at your progress and make sure you’re on track. 

Stuck for which goals to pick? We asked the Treepoint’s team for their personal green resolutions for 2021. We’ve picked the top 12 to share with you – that’s one for every month of the new year to make sure you’re doing your best for the environment and a sustainable lifestyle next year. 

12 challenges for 2021

  1. Cycle to the gym – Cutting down on unnecessary car journeys results in less fuel consumption and pollution. Transportation accounts for over 30% of all CO2 emissions on average in developed countries, and cycling is one of the few zero emissions modes of transport. It’s likely that none of us are going to be straying too far from home for the next few months, so make the most of the short journeys and hop on your bike. 
  2. Drive less where feasible – Linked to Number 1, this also includes opting for ride-sharing, taking public transport, walking, and cycling instead of getting in your car. Less cars on the road will have the positive effect of less congestion, meaning lower levels of air pollution and less fossil fuels burned by cars sitting in traffic jams. 
  3. Buy in-season fruit and vegetables – Large amounts of energy are required to grow fruits and vegetables that are not naturally in season. This includes keeping them at the right temperature, transporting them from abroad, and cultivating them in large greenhouses. Buying seasonal fruit and veg reduces the demand for high-energy produce, meaning growers will be encouraged to produce less. Check out our advice below on what’s in season for inspiration. 
  4. Shop locally – Linked to Number 3, fruit and veg imported from abroad comes at a cost to the planet in the amount of energy required to pack and transport them. Buying locally cuts out a large chunk of greenhouse gas emissions from produce. Start with small changes like buying your bread from a nearby bakery, and looking for food markets taking place near you. Additionally, by favouring local independent shops, you’re supporting a more sustainable economy, reducing the monopoly of supermarkets and chain stores. 
  5. Avoiding Amazon – Especially at Christmas, the ease of Amazon for gift shopping is tempting. However, the cost to the environment of large corporations like amazon is far from appealing. Last year, Amazon alone was responsible for 51.17 million metric tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of 13 coal-burning power stations running for a year. This tops their trend of yearly increasing CO2 emissions. Instead, why not start a book or item exchange with friends and family. Rather than buying new gifts, the novelty can be achieved by sharing. Equally, think about buying second-hand shops and websites where the products your buying are not adding to greenhouse gas emissions. 
  6. Cut down on food waste – UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of food every year. Not only is this bad news for the planet in terms of the volume of waste disposal, but it means we’re actually producing more food than we need. This means that we’re burning fossil fuels unnecessarily, contributing to climate change. One easy way to reduce household food waste is to take a few minutes to meal plan each week to make sure nothing is wasted.  
  7. No fly year – This might seem dramatic, but the aviation industry is responsible for 12% of the world’s total CO2 from transport. This is shocking given that over 80% of the global population have never been on a plane. With more opportunities than ever for replacing business travel with conference calling, think about building train travel into your holiday plans. Slow travel is set to be one of the hottest trends this year – as they say, it’s not about the destination, but the journey!
  8. Buy less clothes – Fast fashion is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with lots of clothes made cheaply and shipped all over the world. Rather than buying new clothes as often and only wearing them a few times, think instead about investing in quality and durability. Look out for sustainable brands and evidence of fair treatment in the production chain for extra green points. 
  9. Vegan for January – Or ‘Veganuary’ as it’s popularly known. If everyone ate a vegan diet, there would be a 49% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions associated with the meat and dairy industry. The Veganuary website is a great resource for plant-based recipes and motivation to stick to the diet – who knows you may keep it up well past January!
  10. Eat less meat throughout the year – Meat is by far the largest contributor to CO2 emissions out of all foods, specifically beef. Swapping to foods lower down the food chain results in less greenhouse gas emissions, and is also better for your health. It has been shown that eating less meat results in lower risks of illnesses such as heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. 
  11. Avoid plastic packaging – Supermarkets often wrap food in multiple layers of plastic, resulting in huge amounts of waste, some of which is not recyclable. Go for loose items whenever possible and don’t forget your reusable shopping bags when you head to the shops.
  12. Be greener at work – Being green at home is one thing, but people often forget to keep up the good work when they head to the office. Make a resolution not to get takeaway cups and recycle properly at work to make your work life as sustainable as your home life. 

For more ideas, check out our 12 ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Why not send 10 ways to be a greener business over to your employer so that they too can make green resolutions for the new year. 

Don’t forget that offsetting your carbon footprint is just as important as changes to your lifestyle in your journey to carbon negative. You could even make your resolution to offset a friend or family member, doing even more good for the environment. 

December Treepoints challenge: making resolutions for the new year

Eating seasonally

In December, to eat seasonally in the UK you want to be choosing:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Beetroot
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots 
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Parsnips
  • Pumpkin
  • Potatoes
December Yreepoints challenge: eating seasonal vegetables. Roasted cauliflower recipe

Our recipe recommendation of the month for seasonal produce is this delicious whole roasted cauliflower recipe, which is also vegan!

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