Published on December 27, 2023

10 Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions

Need ideas for your yearly goals? We asked staff, volunteers and supporters to share how they’ll help build resilient communities this year.

As we begin a new year, many of us look back on the past 12 months and make goals for the next 12 to come. This year, more than ever, it’s important that we take action on sustainability, climate adaptation, and building resilient, connected communities.

 

We believe in the power of individual actions to make a positive impact. So we asked staff, volunteers, supporters, and visitors to share some of their New Year’s resolutions.

 

From small changes like driving less often, to bigger commitments like volunteering in the community, these resolutions are an important step towards a more sustainable and equitable future.

 

We hope these examples will inspire you to make and meet New Year’s resolutions of your own.

 

Person picking out vegetables at grocery store

 

1. Reducing my food waste

 

I’d like to reduce the amount of food waste at home. This is important as the 2.3 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste in Canada is equivalent to 6.9 million tonnes of CO2 and more than 2 million cars on the road! I plan on achieving this by improving meal planning and buying less at the grocery store with each visit. Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my family’s collective stomachs, so I’ll bring more of a realistic perspective rather than an ambitious one. I will also be proactive in using the freezer to minimize food waste.

 

– Joyce Chau, Evergreen Program Director

 

three women sit on a couch talking and laughing looking at phone

 

2. Prioritizing my wellbeing

 

Instead of resolutions, I like to take a new year (or every new day) as an opportunity to do better. To add more of what feels good into my life, and to let go of things/practices that aren’t serving my wellbeing. I also like to choose a word. This year, I have three of them: devotion, capacity, trust. My goal is to use these words as a lens for all I do.

 

– Lisa Borden, long-time visitor and supporter of the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market

 

Man walks across city streen with bicyle

 

3. Choosing cycling over driving

 

My 2023 resolution is to hop on my bike when commuting to the office or to get groceries as often as possible. Not only will this help to reduce local traffic congestion and pollution, it’s also an efficient way to get some exercise in. I’ve challenged a few friends to do the same and we’ll be tracking our bike rides on a social exercise app so we’re sure to encourage each other and hold ourselves accountable.

 

– Christina Gussin, Evergreen Finance Manager

 

Chlld plays in the snow at the Evergreen Brick Works Childrens Garden

 

4. Supporting great causes

 

For 2023, I want to do more to support organizations and causes that I care about which are largely around supporting our environment and caring for our community. But resolutions are only as good as our consistency. That’s why I’ve committed to, and already have, set up my monthly giving with a few organizations including Evergreen. It’s a New Year’s resolution that I feel good about and one I’ll be sure to keep.

 

– Jude Perera, new Evergreen monthly supporter

 

Close up of someone repairing clothes sewing

 

5. Consuming less and repairing more

 

My sustainability-related New Year’s resolution for 2023 is to consume less and to repair/donate/swap what I already have. This is not only awesome for my wallet but it’s also beneficial for my mental well-being. I’m learning that repairing and donating provides me with a sense of achievement and gratitude that buying new does not, and so, if you’re looking to do the same, and you’re in the city of Toronto, I’d highly recommend starting small with learning how to repair and donating your unwanted electronics.

 

– Fatima Ali, Evergreen Program Coordinator, Children’s Programming

 

Tomatos in planter shown growing on balcony or patio

6. Growing my own food

 

With a challenge to come up with a resolution, I have decided on one which I hope to finally achieve. There is nothing more local than taking that step outside on my balcony and harvesting an heirloom tomato grown from seedling from a local organic farm. Many vendors at Evergreen Farmers Market even sell seedlings through the Evergreen Garden Market. I look forward to spring when I can put this resolution into action and reap the benefits in the summer and fall — my very own salad bar right on my balcony!

 

– Alexander Yoshiki, Evergreen volunteer photographer

 

Group bikes along trail in summer

 

7. Learning more about public spaces

 

This year I want to learn more about the history and impact of usual and unusual public spaces, in their many forms. My goal is to be inspired by good ideas and learnings from the past to inform Evergreen’s plans to support better public spaces in the future. My resolution is to read a book a month (or enjoy a podcast or article) about a different public space (trying to choose different geographic locations each month too). I’m starting in January by reading Jennifer L. Bonnell’s excellent history of the Don River Valley, Reclaiming the Don. How did a forgotten, industrial wasteland in the early 20th century move to being a more verdant oasis today?

 

– Suzy Wilcox, Evergreen Director, Development

 

A lighthouse with a large red heart on it with with the letters PEI on the heart

 

8. Volunteering in my community

 

My goal for 2023 is to connect more with others. I’ve recently moved back to the East Coast (where I grew up) and am looking to reconnect/make new connections with family, friends, and the community here. I look forward to applying the skills, experience, and knowledge gained working in cities across Canada to help make Prince Edward Island an even greater place to be. To do this, I am committed to putting myself out there more and will begin volunteering with some local organizations who are doing great work!

 

– Christopher Boyle, Evergreen Manager, People & Culture

 

Person shown walking with suitcase

 

9. Reducing my carbon footprint with fewer flights

 

One of my core New Year’s resolutions this year is to use less air travel. I flew 19 times in 2022, many of those from Toronto to Montreal. I’m doing this because in my scenario, cutting out flying is one of the most effective ways to reduce my carbon footprint. I investigated the impact of travelling by train whenever possible, and it’s quite a big difference!

 

– Grant Dyer, Senior VP of People and Culture at Beanfield, which is partnering with Evergreen to help create inclusive, climate-resilient spaces at Evergreen Brick Works

 

Person shown biking along waterfront trail in Toronto

 

10. Connecting with my city

 

I’ve been inspired by a friend who spent 2022 cycling to every library in Toronto. My resolution this year is to cycle to all of Toronto’s water pumping stations — there are 22 in total and some of them are really beautiful examples of public architecture and infrastructure. It gets me outside exploring my city, seeing new neighbourhoods and connecting with Toronto’s history and public spaces.

 

– Mike Driedger, Evergreen Program Director

 

What’s your goal?

 

Whether you call them New Year’s resolutions or monthly goals, there are plenty of ways to help strengthen your community or lower your ecological footprint. We hope you find these resolutions inspiring as you pursue your own. If you are passionate about supporting thriving, inclusive public spaces and a more sustainable future, consider making Evergreen part of your monthly giving. Your support helps create and sustain healthy and dynamic urban environments in our schools, public spaces, and communities. Let’s change our cities for the better — together!