10 ways to start 2018 on a green foot

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With 2017 come and gone, there’s no better time than now to turn over a new leaf. The beginning of a new year brings new possibilities, and we make resolutions that we hope will stick over the next 365 days. Whether you’re hoping to hit the gym more frequently this year, or pledging to devote more time to family and friends, try incorporating nature into your resolutions. By putting more green into your step in 2018, you are not only benefiting the planet, but boosting your own well-being.

Here are 10 ways to incorporate nature into your 2018:

1. Searching for signs of life

In the winter, everything and anything in nature is typically concealed under blankets of snow – but that doesn’t mean you can’t see evidence of wildlife. If you look closely, you’re often able to spot mammal tracks imprinted into the snow.

2. Reducing your plastic consumption

You never know when a great sale might happen, so bring a reusable bag with you wherever you go. When grocery shopping, use reusable produce bags and choose food with less packaging (or none at all). And remember, a reusable water bottle keeps plastic out of landfills and saves you money!

3. Strapping on a pair of Canadian boots

Try the timeless Canadian tradition of snowshoeing at one of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) properties across the country, such as Bunchberry Meadows in Alberta, Happy Valley Forest in Ontario or Lincoln Wetland Nature Reserve in New Brunswick. Many outdoor stores, some conservation organizations and/or parks across Canada rent snowshoes.

4. Keeping your wardrobe green

With the rise of fast fashion, it’s easy to get lured into the trendy, cheap clothing found in malls across Canada. This industry has made a significant impact on the planet, putting clothing manufacturing second behind the oil industry in global pollution. Research where and how an item is made before you buy; you might be surprised to learn the impact that a pair of jeans can have.

5. Seeking out some “cheep” thrills

Birdwatching is one of the easiest hobbies to get into. You only need reasonable eyesight and a pair of binoculars, and it can be done outdoors or indoors. There are many apps and guides available for beginners to pros, and local birdwatching or naturalist groups make sharing your observations or asking questions easy. Discover the joy in watching birds of all sizes and shapes being, well, birds, in their natural habitats this year!

6. Camping in a winter wonderland

If you think camping is just for the summer or fall, think again. With the right gear and clothing, camping can soon become your favourite year-round activity. The most important things to remember while winter camping are stay hydrated, stay warm and dry and be prepared to deal with sudden weather changes.

7. Committing to being well at work

Whether you have a physically demanding job or one that ties you to a screen and desk, taking steps to incorporate workplace wellness routines does wonders for your well-being, and it helps to increase job satisfaction, productivity and even reduce stress. Trade your chair for an exercise ball, set reminders to stand a few minutes every hour or round-up your colleagues for a lunchtime walk. There are lots of ways to make getting active fun in the office.

8. Being active in nature

For many, a typical New Year’s resolution is to exercise more often. Even though it’s now the dead of winter, don’t let the frigid temperatures prevent you from going outside and being active, whether it’s hiking, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing or outdoor skating. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has many properties across Canada with spectacular trails that are ideal for winter hiking, including Nova Scotia’s Gaff Point.

9. Becoming a “green” commuter

If you drive your car to work or school, start using public transit, cycling or walking instead. These options are cheaper, less stressful and more environmentally friendly than driving. Walking or cycling are also excellent built-in exercise, and public transit gives you an opportunity to do other things during your commute, such as reading or catching up on work. If you must drive, try carpooling.

10. Keeping nature alive in a digital world

It’s hard to get rid of all screen time in an increasingly digital world, so if you must be plugged in, why not make this time count? Read up on conservation news, listen to podcasts and watch documentaries about nature to learn about the conservation needs in Canada.

For more information, visit www.natureconservancy.ca.

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