82 Sustainable Goals

In our last post, we talked about how goal-setting can be managed in a way that leads to greater success, and how important it is that people begin setting goals (and New Year’s resolutions) that focus on healing the planet and giving everything on it a fighting chance. We talked about how the 3 foundational ethics of permaculture – Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share – can help us do that.

With the aim of making the first step easier for you, we’ve put together a list of actions you could incorporate into your goals or resolutions. Some of them have secondary actions that you could ‘graduate to’ if you’ve already got a handle on the first steps. Hopefully you’ll find them useful. And we’d love you to share any sustainable goals you’ve successfully achieved in the past!

Possible First GoalPossible Second Goal
Buy some fruit & veg at local greengrocer instead of supermarketBuy most fruit & veg from the grocer 
Check if the produce you buy is in seasonBuy mostly/only produce that’s in season
Grow one type of fresh greens – eg sprouts in a jar, pea shoots on the windowsillGrow two or more types of fresh produce – eg herbs in windowboxes, tomatoes in pots
Learn about one type of wild edible in your area (learn to be confident in your accurate ID)Try substituting that wild edible into your diet in place of something you’d normally buy
Buy things like pasta, flour, oil or rice in larger portions, to minimise the plastic waste in packagingChoose paper or cardboard-wrapped items at the supermarket over plastic-wrapped ones.
Find out if you have a bulk food store near you Buy eggs that are ethically compliant with good chicken farming
Find out if the meat you buy is ethically farmedIdentify ethically-farmed alternatives in the meat you buy. (Step 3 might be to then buy that option when possible)
Check if the milk you buy if locally made. *Bonus if you can find out if the farmers are paid well for their milkIdentify and switch to a local milk option. Most supermarkets now have at least one option
If you eat yoghurt, have a look at the contents of your preferred brand. If it has lots of ingredients other than “milk, culture, and perhaps fruit”, identify and consider switching to a more natural option
(Possible 3rd option is make your own)
Write a weekly meal plan.Include 1+ meat-free day on your plan
Check fridge, pantry and fruit-bowl/garden before you write a shopping list. Only add what you *need*Write your meal plan based on the items you already have. Use websites like FoodWise to help you
Identify which produce often goes to waste in your householdDiscover better ways to store OR use that produce
Switch plastic sponges for natural-fibre sponges or clothsHave a go at making your own cleaning cloths from old towels and flannel sheets
Swap your dishwashing detergent (liquid or powder) for a brand that is grey-water safe and sustainableEither refill your detergent bottle/jar at a bulk filling station, or try making your own
Swap traditional spray’n’wipe products for eco-safe brandsMake your own by steeping lemon skins in vinegar for a month, OR
Use bicarb soda as a cleaning agent
Start composting! Either set up your own compost, or use a program like ShareWaste to donate your food scraps to other composters.Consider adding a worm-farm or bokashi bin to your system to further reduce food waste
Audit your recycling bin. Identify what packaging there’s a lot of.Find an alternative use for one type of packaging per week from the recycling bin (eg paper -> compost, glass bottles   -> washed and reused/refilled
Find an alternative to using plastic wrap. It could be containers, jars, plate-on-top-of-a-bowl, beeswax wraps etcMake your own beeswax wraps
Time your showers, then incrementally cut them down by a minute every 2-3 days until they’re 4-5 minutes longKeep a bucket in the shower and use the collected runoff to water the garden
Spray shower with white vinegar once a week to reduce mould Use a bicarb soda paste to scrub grouting rather than harsh chemical products
Start recycling toothpaste tubes through Biome’s collection serviceTransition to more eco-friendly toothpaste brands OR
Try using toothpaste tablets (from a bulk store)
Refill your conditioner bottle from a bulk-filling storeUse apple cider vinegar (or homemade apple scrap vinegar) instead of store-bought conditioner. It seriously works!
Close curtains and blinds on hot or cold days to help regulate indoor temperatureIdentify gaps that let in hot or cold air. Find a way to stopper each gap (eg door snakes, pelmets above curtains, install cover surfaces with extra insulation)
Check all outdoor taps and hoses to ensure there are no dripsPlace water-loving plants near taps/hoses to take advantage of errant drips when turning on and off
Identify areas around the house where elements bombard the structureConsider growing living shade/insulation like trees and deciduous vines around areas that get a lot of heat over summer
Introduce yourself to a neighbourShare something with your neighbour – perhaps a meal, or a potted plant, excess produce or flowers, or something you’ve made in excess
Discover your closest food-sharing initiative. Food is Free, CropSwap, Grow Free are all well representedShare something with your local food sharing stand
Join a local group or classVolunteer your time at a local community house
Identify a species – plant or animal – in your area that is under threat from human developmentComplete one action that contributes to the betterment of that species
Record 5 plant species in your local neighbourhood. Find out if any of them are native speciesChat to a local gardener or nursery about which native plants would grow well in your area. 
Possible third goal could be to plant one of them in your area
Participate in a bird or bee count in your backyard once a yearContribute to creating a small habitat area for one species of native bird or pollinator
Find a suitable reusable cup to buy takeaway drinks in. (Please check op-shops first! There are SO many out there!!)Commit to only buying said takeaway drink if you have your reusable cup with you. (A set number of ‘free passes’ per year may be built into this goal to stop it seeming unachievable)
Ask your local butcher or bakery if they will permit you to bring your own containers/bagsUse your own containers/bags to bring home deli/butcher/bakery produce. (Again, build in limited ‘free passes’ to improve positive vibe around the act)
Start using (and then re-using, composting or recycling) paper mushroom bags instead of single-use plastic bags at the greengrocer/supermarketBring your own lightweight fabric bags to buy fresh fruit & veg in. We’ve *never* had any issues doing this – it’s more fine than you may think J
Collect a set number of pieces of rubbish every time you are in a certain public place and dispose of them appropriately Collect a set number of pieces of rubbish every time you are in anypublic place and dispose of them appropriately 

Obviously there’s a STACK more things you can do to increase your sustainability – things like taking public transport, walking or riding instead of driving a car; switching your service providers to more sustainable companies; switching your Superannuation to a company that doesn’t support non-sustainable industries. But hopefully this has helped you see how simple some first steps can be, and it encourages you to create your own goals for the future as you travel your way towards a more sustainable future.

There are lots of other brilliant people out there sharing ways to live more sustainably, and many of them have also put together lists of things to work towards. If you fancy more inspiration, please head over and see what they’re up to – you’re sure to leave inspired!

Milkwood Permaculture – Create your Personal Goal Statement (free download)

Spiral Garden – All-round low-waste living inspiration and their 52 Climate Actions

Brenna Quinlan – Climate activist with rad, inspiring cartoons

Lindsay Miles (Treading my own path) – regular posts on reducing waste, and 2 books on the topic

Anne-Marie Bonneau (Zero Waste Chef) – regular informative content on waste-reduction

Plastic-free July – annual challenge to reduce plastic usage in July

Eco with Em – inspiring cartoon montages about different aspects of living sustainably

Rachel Raisin – cute and encouraging illustrations of what it can look like to live a sustainable life

Bulk food stores like The SourceThrive, and bulk stores like Biome.

Permaculture Principle 1: Observe and interact; 2: Catch and store energy; 3: Obtain a yield; 4: Apply self-regulation and accept feedback; 5: Use and value renewable resources and services; 6: Produce no waste; 7: Design from patterns to details; 8: Integrate rather than segregate; 9: Use small and slow solutions; 10: Use and value diversity; 11: Use edges and value the marginal, 12: Creatively use and respond to change.

Leave a Reply