Simple resolutions to make the world a better place in the year ahead.
A new year is an ideal time to take stock of your life and make changes for the better. These are usually to do with our health, wellbeing or life goals. Plenty of people pledge to quit smoking, join a gym, or take up a new hobby, which is great, but in addition to setting targets that will make you happier and healthier, here are a few things everybody can do to improve the world around them too.
Register to vote!
This one’s easy. Find out whether you’re registered to vote or not by going to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and follow the simple instructions. If you’re not already registered, you can fill in your information and you’ll be put on the electoral register ready for the next local or national election. If 2016’s referendum and 2017’s snap election taught us anything it’s the importance of having your say when it comes to the big decisions affecting our country and how it interacts with the rest of the world.
The #MeToo movement has seen more and more women coming forward in 2018 to talk about their own experiences of sexual harassment, but sadly the naysayers are coming up with more and more ways to ignore, deny or belittle women’s accounts of abuse — just look at the case of Brett Kavanaugh. The truth is, yes, it can be incredibly uncomfortable and unpleasant to have to contemplate the idea that a colleague, friend or even family member is capable of abusive or violent behaviour. But considering the hell women go through in the court of public opinion whenever they make this sort of allegation, how likely is it that they are making it up “for attention”? Let’s make 2019 the year of taking the pain and suffering caused by abuse as seriously as the reputation and career of the person being accused.
Be an LGBTQ ally!
When marriage equality was made official in this country, a lot of people seemed to think that it signalled the end of homophobia, but that’s simply not true. A disproportionate amount of homeless youth in this country are LGBTQ and there are still over 70 countries around the world where being gay carries a prison sentence. Pretty much everybody will know LGBTQ people in their social lives and families in 2019, and members of this community need people to lend their voices and support beyond the annual Pride party.
And this also applies to people who identify as LGBTQ. Wherever you fall within that acronym, you can go to bat for another group. Gay men could always do more to advocate for trans women, for instance, especially considering trans rights are currently being “debated” in bad faith in the press the way that gay rights were back in the 1980s.
Reduce your carbon footprint!
In a year of bad news, an official report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a grave warning; having already inflicted irreversible damage on the environment, we have just 12 years to limit the extent of global warming. As we head into 2019, everybody should be seriously thinking about the ways in which they can make active changes in their own lives to reduce their environmental impact. Here are some choices to consider:
- Walking or cycling to work instead of driving not only cuts your carbon emissions but also makes a great New Year fitness goal.
- Buying less “fast fashion” clothing will mean less stuff ending up in the landfill, and less carcinogenic pesticides used in GM cotton. Instead of buying a new top for a tenner each week, why not save up for something a bit more special?
- Planting your own garden, be it a small patch of greenery in your yard or just herbs on a windowsill, helps to absorb carbon dioxide. Bee-friendly flowers are also beneficial to our fuzzy, buzzy friends. And eating herbs or veg that you’ve grown yourself lowers the carbon emissions of your weekly food shop.
- Eating less meat, especially red meat, is another option that more people are exploring, as livestock farming takes up vast volumes of water. It’s easier than ever to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle without sacrificing your palate. Or maybe you could just start with the occasional #MeatFreeMonday…