Whether you believe in New Year’s resolutions or not, many of us feel a sense of renewal and hope at the beginning of a new year. Maybe you’re looking forward to reading more, getting your kids outside, or starting a garden. Perhaps you’re looking to get more involved with your community or even volunteer. Or maybe you’re curious about ways to live more sustainably! Small lifestyle changes not only help us feel empowered to make a difference, but can also help us get out of the ‘convenience’ mindset that is so detrimental to our planet. A mindset of gratitude, and truly valuing and taking care of the things that we have can transcend into other aspects of our lives, helping us live more sustainably in lots of ways! Check out the list below to get some ideas of how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle this year.
FIX WHAT YOU HAVE.
Instead of buying more and more things, repair what you already have! Don’t have the skills or time? Check out the Repair Cafe at Curtis Memorial Library. The goal of Repair Cafes is to reduce waste and educate people on how to repair broken items rather than throw them away. On Saturday, January 20th from 10:00am-12:30pm the Library will host a group of volunteers who will work with patrons to repair things like electronics, lamps, mend clothing, small appliances, sharpen tools, wooden furniture, and jewelry. Learn more here.
THINK BIG. START SMALL.
That’s the motto at GoGo Refill, the one-stop sustainable shop. Their blog is filled with tips and tricks for a plastic free, low-waste lifestyle. Plus, with their new shop in Brunswick, it’s easier than ever to live your everyday life a bit more sustainably. Interested in some larger action items around your home, like sustainable energy changes? There are several things you can do to increase your home energy efficiency, all while helping to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and save you money! Click here to learn more. Efficiency Maine also offers incentives for energy efficiency upgrades. You can find more information about this program on their website.
SUPPORT LOCAL FARMERS & FOOD PRODUCERS.
Did you know that the average food product travels over 1,000 miles before it gets to your plate? Buying food products locally not only supports our local economy, but it also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, often has higher nutritional value, helps you eat more seasonally, and ensures the continuation of cherished agricultural landscapes in Maine.
LEARN WHAT YOUR COMMUNITY IS DOING.
If you’re a Brunswick resident, check out the Sustainability Committee’s page on Waste Management and Reduction. Also, we encourage you to to learn more about Brunswick’s new Climate Action Plan. Free January 17th? Check out the Town of Brunswick and Curtis Memorial Library’s monthly, in-person lecture series, “Sustainable Brunswick.” This lecture series will feature numerous speakers from various organizations that will address topics related to sustainability, conservation, climate action, and more, while highlighting local initiatives, collaborations, educational interests. A Topsham resident? Check out their Energy Committee’s page that has matters relating to energy efficiency and other sustainability matters, including webinars on weatherization, beneficial electrification, and solar energy options.
AVOID THE LANDFILL.
Unwanted clothes? There are clothing donation bins in front of Ace Hardware in Bath, the Topsham Transfer Station, GoGo Refill in Brunswick, and Petco at Topsham Fair Mall Road. Unwanted books? Clean, undamaged books can be donated to the Twice Told Tales Bookstore at 200 Main St., Brunswick, or the bookstore on the corner of Front Street and Patten Library in Bath. Food waste? If you want to reduce your waste volume but not manage a compost pile, and live in Bath or Brunswick, email firstname.lastname@example.org to join their weekly pickup in your neighborhood. You earn free compost and a free bucket, which is exchanged for a clean bucket each week when you subscribe to their composting program.
Take the time to research important environmental/sustainability/climate issues and make your choices known! While collective individual actions are important, state and federal policies have the ability to move the needle on issues! The State of Maine Voter Guide has a number of important resources including the Voter Registration Guide and local voting information. Other resources include the ACLU Maine Know Your Voting Rights page and the Disability Rights Maine’s Voting Access website.
SUPPORT OUR WORK.
Join our 1,300+ members in giving our community, families, and future generations room to play, forests to discover and rivers to explore, working farms to support our local economy, and the best local food we could hope for. You’ll help educate hundreds of youth each year with hands-on outdoor learning and conserve vital habitat that mitigates climate change, protects local rivers and bays, and saves unfragmented ecologically important habitat and forest blocks forever. Join or renew your membership today.
There are lots of wins all around us, and the fact that you’re reading this blog post means you’re one of hundreds of people in your own community who care about the environment. Remember, as Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Share this blog post with friends and family to help spread the word on how to be more sustainable in 2024.