Eco-resolutions for a lean and green New Year

Staying fit, healthy and wealthy in the New Year while at the same time saving the planet is made easier with a green resolution list from Friends of the Earth.

Putting the green angle on everything from getting fit and healthy eating to saving money could be that extra incentive many of us need to bridge the gap between good intentions and reality.

FoE suggests six steps to getting lean, green and, possibly, rich:

  • Cycle or walk instead of driving to curb smog and carbon emissions

  • Eat healthy, local and organic to cut air miles and pesticide pollution

  • De-stress in the garden and grow your own organic food

  • Save money and energy in the home

  • Holiday locally – cut aviation pollution while spending quality time with family and friends

  • Follow in Victoria Beckham’s footsteps and take the recycled path to high fashion

    Even if the last suggestion may seem contentious to some, the green group backs up its claim that eco-living is good for us with plenty of arguments.

    Pedalling burns 300 calories an hour and “helps to firm up legs, bums and tums” – and with 70% of all car trips totalling less than five miles, replacing the car with the bicycle on short journeys could save a significant amount of carbon, as well as money.

    Meanwhile, a brisk 45-minute walk four times a week could help you shed 18lb combined with a calorie-controlled diet, further cutting pollution from transport – a sector that currently accounts for a fifth of all UK carbon emissions.

    The list of benefits from growing your own organic food just goes on and on – it can make you more relaxed, fitter, healthier, and improves the planet’s health by cutting pesticide pollution, carbon emissions from “food miles” and waste by composting organics. Britain’s growing appetite for organic food backs up the claims – with demand growing at 40% a year, many of us are already embracing the benefits of going organic.

    The average meal travels 1,000 miles from the producers to the plate, so eating local food can go far in cutting aviation pollution.

    Money and energy savings go hand in hand, FoE point out – energy efficiency measures in the home can cut the annual energy bill for a typical three-bedroom semi by £200.

    Meanwhile, recycling and reusing helps curb the expansion of rubbish dumps and can undoubtedly be done with or without seeking inspiration in Mrs Beckham.

    But taking a leaf from her book and buying second hand – she recently bought a little black-and-white dress from Oxfam, causing sales to “soar by 40%” – can help cut Christmas spending and reduce the need for landfill or incineration of goods that will all eventually end up in the bin.

    Flea markets, antique jewellery and vintage clothing shops are all recommended as goldmines for original presents that don’t cost the planet.

    Goska Romanowicz

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