New Year's Resolutions are sometimes a flash in the pan for me. Am I going to walk 20,000 steps per day? Maybe for the first week. Cutting out all meat and sticking to a raw vegan diet overnight? Tougher than it sounds! The New Year's Resolutions I've found it easiest to stick to are those that don't just benefit me but also the community I live in and the planet I share.
Here's a round-up of some of my favorite ways to earn some extra cash throughout the year and do a solid for the planet at the same time.
Almost every year provides you the opportunity to flex your democracy level on some level – and is a chance to make a real impact on climate change. Contact your elected representatives and let them know that climate change will be an election-deciding issue for you. You could do this by attending a public meeting they’re hosting in your area, calling their office or writing them a letter.
Search for your local representative and find out how to contact them here. For pointers on how to write your MP a letter and what to include in it, check out Climate Council’s guide on how to write an effective letter to your MP.
Did you know that the process of producing a common smartphone releases the equivalent of 178 pounds of carbon dioxide, about as much running a modern refrigerator for a full year?! And that the average person gets a newer, shinier cell phone every two years? That’s why the global carbon footprint of smartphones is projected to increase by 730 percent this decade alone.
While some companies are making strides in reducing the environmental impact associated with producing our favorite mobile devices, hanging onto your phone for longer than two years is one way to make a difference. And save money on the upgrade!
If your goals for 2019 include getting more exercise, consider committing to walking or bicycling distances under a mile. Roughly 20 percent of car trips in the United States fall into this category, and the average car produces 411 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. That’s the equivalent of the weight of a football or a can of soup. Walking that mile instead of driving not only cuts emissions but also contributes to the 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity that the Centers for Disease Control recommends adults get each week. Bicycling is about twice as fast as walking, so if you’re biking you might want to commit to cycling distances under two miles. Want to track your activity? Try downloading a fitness tracking app to your smartphone.
If the first utility bill you get at the start of a new year gives you a shock, you may want to consider investing in a smart thermostat, which will not only let you you monitor and control your home’s temperature from your smartphone, PC or tablet—but can help reduce your energy bill too.
That’s because these devices can monitor temperature and humidity inside and outside your home, your comings and goings, and tailor heating and cooling cycles accordingly. And by connecting one to your OhmConnect account, you’ll be automatically qualified in bi-weekly drawings to win some epic prizes! It’s a win-win.
Do you know where your personal finances are invested? Many banks and investment portfolios invest in fossil fuel projects - so much so that new research says your investment portfolio may have more of an impact on your carbon footprint than any other individual action - including having a child. Making informed choices about where to invest your hard-earned cash, will put pressure on financial institutions to do better and can help you earn a healthy return in the meantime.
There are a lot of options out there for banks and investment portfolios that support renewable energy and the environment! Tools like Fossil Free Funds help you look up the carbon impact of your mutual fund and Decarbonizer helps you see how your portfolio would perform historically if you removed some of the dirtiest polluters. This January, resolve to chat to a Responsible Investment (RI) Certified Advisor or sustainability consultants to provide trustworthy, credible advice on how to divest.
Red meat like beef and lamb is responsible for 10 to 40 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as common vegetables and grains. Lentils use less than 1 kilogram of carbon emission for every kilogram eaten while meat can produce more than 39.2 kilograms. For those who can’t give up meat fully, cutting back goes a long way toward helping the environment, as does choosing meat and dairy products from organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed animals. Plus, you’ll save a boatload of cash! Meatless Mondays (and Wednesdays and Fridays), here we come.
If you haven’t already, get yourself signed up for OhmConnect. It’s time you start saving electricity and earning money for doing so, right? But first, take a look at your electricity bill. Are you with one of these companies?
If so, you’re in luck.
OhmConnect works with the above electricity companies to earn you money whenever save electricity during peak periods throughout the week.
After you have signed up for an account and connected your electricity credentials, OhmConnect will send you a notification by text message or email, reminding you to save electricity for a specific hour. If you successfully reduce your energy usage during that hour, you get paid!
Consider using this hour away from TV and without electricity to reconnect with family. Go outside and play a game, tend the garden and plant a flower, or organize the house and make it feel fresh again.
However you decide to spend your hour, know that you’ll be earning cash rewards for the electricity you save.
OhmConnect is 100% free to use and the only requirement needed to earn up to $300 per year is to connect your electricity account, if eligible. You can also earn an additional $20 (per person) whenever you refer this app to friends and family.