We are reminded daily in the news, on social media and by our surroundings that the climate crisis is a serious issue. So, the pressure is on to make small changes in the way we live, with the aim of becoming sustainability queens! Keeping the planet in mind, there are simple steps we can all take to be more sustainable in 2020 which won't break the bank or terrify those of us slightly set in our ways (myself included!).

Seven Worlds, One Planet is a BBC documentary exploring the diversity of life found on the seven continents and how it is being affected by climate change. I binge watched over Christmas and found the series incredibly eye-opening. It highlights how fragile environments are being destroyed all over the world due to destructive human activity. David Attenborough does offer a little hope at the end of the final episode, saying that if we determine to do so, we can make positive change. He talks about how extensive conservation efforts have grown gorilla population numbers to over 1,000 for the first time since records began. And the worldwide whaling ban has allowed whale populations to recover too.

So don't be struck down by climate anxiety! We can make a difference and we will. Here are 10 simple ways we can be more sustainable in 2020. (Can you tell, the series has left me feeling inspired!).

1. Off-Set Your Flight Emissions

This might be a new one for many of you, the concept of off-setting flights is something I have only recently heard of too. By using an online emissions calculator you can work out how much CO2 was produced during a flight. Then using a charity like The Gold Standard you can donate to a project (such as reforesting in the Amazon) that lowers CO2 emissions, balancing out what was produced by your flight. The more you donate, the more CO2 you can off-set. Genius!

2. Walk or Use Public Transport

Walking more is great for so many reasons such as improving your health, saving money and benefiting the planet too. You get to know the area you live better as well. Public transport is the next best option as ride-sharing lowers your personal carbon footprint. If you're curious to see if your carbon footprint is below or above average, check out the WWF Carbon Footprint Calculator.

3. Invest in Sustainable Period Products

Sustainable period products are easy to get your hands on. Mooncup offers free delivery in the UK and you can buy reusable sanitary pads on Amazon. Although they take a little while to get used to, it is worth the investment. Having a plastic-free period makes a huge difference for our oceans, currently 2.5million tampons are flushed down toilets in the UK every day.

4. Reduce Plastic Packaging Consumption

Grocery shopping makes cutting back on plastic consumption very difficult, everything is wrapped in plastic! 2019 saw supermarkets using 900,000 tonnes more plastic despite promises to cut waste packaging. So if we can't rely on the supermarkets to do it for us, what can we do? Try to buy loose fruit and veg and even better, visit your local markets where it is normally much easier to buy plastic free. You can also find out if there is a zero waste shop in your area so you can take your own containers and pay for products by weight. Usually these shops sell washing up liquid, hair care products, laundry detergent and nuts, spices and grains.

5. Switch to Shampoo & Conditioner Bars

Another step you can take towards reducing your plastic consumption is switching to shampoo and conditioner bars. You can get them in Lush, Holland & Barrett and many places online. Again, like the plastic free period products, they take a second to get used to but they're actually great and work out much cheaper than bottled products as the bars last 2+ months. 

6. Reduce Meat & Dairy Consumption

Veganism is the single biggest way you can reduce your environmental impact on the plant. So even if you can't commit to a fully plant-based diet, reducing your meat and dairy consumption is really important if you want to live sustainably. Check out Game Changers on Netflix if you need the inspiration to go plant based for your health and check out Cowspiricy for inspiration to go plant based for the environment!

7. Reduce Household Energy Use

Turning the thermostat down in your house and popping a jumper on will not only save you a few pennies but is a great way to lower your carbon footprint. The same goes for turning lights off when you're not in the room, using energy saving bulbs and hanging your clothes up to dry instead of in the dryer. All of your household appliances use fossil fuels to run so minimising their impact is important.

8. Stop Buying Fast Fashion

The Fashion and Textile industry is the third largest contributor to climate change, behind agriculture and transport industries. 53 million tonnes of fibre is produced each year and 70% of this ends up in landfill. They are also the second largest industry to support the continuation of modern day slavery. So buying fast fashion and supporting these practises, simply put is bad for the planet and the people on it. Buying second hand and vintage is a great alternative as is upcycling and clothes swapping.

9. Use Less Water

Shorter showers, showers instead of baths, eco setting on your dishwasher and washing machine and turning the tap off while you brush your teeth are easy ways to use less water! Reducing your water usage saves on the energy required to deliver it to your home clean and processed. Droughts are a serious issue all over the world and the planets fresh water supplies are dwindling. It's a scary idea, a future without fresh water but it's one that eventually the planet will face.

10. Recycle

Last but not least, a way to be more sustainable in 2020 is to be a recycling queen! Separate and wash all of your recycling and do it right. Start a compost to recycle your food waste too and use nice jars for storage. Simple :)