How to be more sustainable in 2022

  • A Jaffrey group joined the worldwide climate strike on Friday morning. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger Transcript
Published: 12/29/2021 2:35:04 PM
Modified: 12/29/2021 2:34:36 PM

As the new year approaches, many are writing down their goals and resolutions for this upcoming year. When you search “2022 New Year’s Resolutions,” the top results you are going to see are exercising more, saving money, and adopting a healthier diet. While these short-term personal goals may be appealing, one can make a meaningful, lasting difference for the entire world by becoming more sustainable and working to reduce your carbon footprint. I believe this item should be on everyone’s resolution list, as there are ways to achieve this on both small and large scales. Many become overwhelmed thinking they have to change their entire lifestyle to become sustainable, but there are ways to make an impact with minimal effort. Listed below are ideas of ways you can gradually incorporate sustainability into your life.

Educate yourself

Understanding the effects humans have on the environment is vital to realize how to make a positive impact on the Earth. Being well-versed on the issue of climate change will translate into all the categories in this article, allowing them to be easily implemented. Some great ways to educate yourself are by reading books, watching documentaries, and staying up to date on current events.

Some popular books on a range of issues are as follows: How Bad are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee; How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time by Will McCallum; 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg, and An Almost Zero Waste Life: Learning How to Embrace Less to Live More by Megean Weldon.

Some critically acclaimed documentary suggestions are as follows: Our Planet, A Plastic Ocean, The Biggest Little Farm, and Chasing Coral.

Compost, compost, compost

If there’s one thing you adopt from this article, it should be composting. Landfills are subject to enormous amounts of pressure, which rids them of oxygen. Food and trash require oxygen to decompose, so when thrown into a landfill they may never break up. Organic waste in landfills generates methane, but when food waste is composted these emissions are significantly reduced, and the compost will sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. Fruits, vegetables, eggshells, along with many other food and yard items can be thrown into your compost and turned into a great fertilizer that will replenish the soil. The compost can be added to soil or used alone to allow for higher yields of crops. Starting a compost can be as easy as designating a location where you will pile your food and yard waste. However, during the winter months when the ground freezes over, consider purchasing a home composting bin, which can be bought at local hardware stores and garden centers. The Peterborough Recycling Center also accepts food scraps and yard waste for recycling.

Shop Consciously

Be environmentally conscious when shopping and develop a mindset where you examine the environmental impact of your actions. Think about what a more sustainable alternative would be for a product you’re looking to buy. For example, instead of buying something packaged in single-use plastic, look for things packaged without plastic that are compostable or recyclable. A way to accomplish this is by shopping locally, especially at farm stands. There is a farmer’s market every Wednesday at the Peterborough Community Center, where you can not only support local business, but also shop more responsibly. Instead of purchasing fast fashion, consider going to a thrift store like Threads of Hope in Jaffrey or buying from resale websites like Poshmark, Mercari, and Depop.

Kim Aucoin of Jaffrey secondhand store Threads of Hope said buying secondhand and donating have a huge positive impact.

“If you’re buying something secondhand, you’re preventing something from ending up in a landfill,” Aucoin said.

Shopping at a local thrift store has a positive effect on the community, environment, and other people, said Aucoin. The clothes are inexpensive, allowing people of many incomes to shop and support a local business.


Donating can come in many forms. You can donate your time, used clothes and household items, and money towards a charity of your choice. Donate your time by participating in a trash pickup, attending a climate protest, or even by spending time educating yourself on climate change.

Instead of throwing away old clothes, appliances, shoes, and electronics, consider giving them a second life by donating them. You can drop off items at Threads of Hope in Jaffrey (clothing only), Salvation Army, Goodwill, and many towns have donation areas at their recycling stations (like Peterborough’s Mini Mall). However, be aware of what is acceptable to donate and what is not. This information can be found on these organizations’ websites.

Through the website, you can search hundreds of thousands of charities and find highly rated environmental non-profits. This website rates all the charities for impact, accountability, transparency, and finance so you know your contribution will make a difference.

Take action

While incorporating items from these other categories into your life is a form of taking action, you can go even further by protesting and advocating for change in climate legislation. By holding large companies, CEOs, and politicians accountable, long-lasting change can occur.

Megan Wheeler has been protesting with the Fridays For Future movement (started by Greta Thunberg) every week in Jaffrey.

“It’s pretty impactful in a small town like Jaffrey,” Wheeler said. “One single person can make a difference.” The Fridays For Future movement has grown exponentially in the last couple of years to include 7,500 cities and over 14 million members.

“The movements like Fridays For Future play a large role in holding people more accountable and raise more attention around the subject matter,” Wheeler said.

Whether you choose to participate in a climate movement, strike, or write a letter to a local representative, your actions have the potential to create change. Wheeler said she tries to wake up each morning and consider the planet and her actions, which is a practice we all should adopt.

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