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New Year's Resolutions
Of The Sustainable Sort

By Jamie Brisick

A couple years ago, The New York Times published an article titled “How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution.” In it they explained how one-third of resolutioners don’t make it past the end of January, mainly because their resolutions are not the right resolutions — they’re based on what someone else (or society) is telling them to change, or they’re too vague, or they’re unrealistic. The article goes on to say that our goals should be SMART, as in Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

On the Relevant note, we must consider our planet’s existential crisis. And while there have been many key measures that point toward our extinction, there have been nascent signs that action is coming. Corporate commitments to sustainable growth and net-zero emissions are on the rise. More than 60 countries have pledged to have a net carbon footprint of zero by 2050. American primary voters, especially in states plagued by wildfires and flooding, are suddenly giving presidential candidates an earful on climate change. And then there’s sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, who became the youngest person ever named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. How totally heartening to see a teenager galvanize so many!

In the spirit of optimism, in the spirit of responsibility, we’d like to pose a few ideas for a more sustainable 2020 and beyond. Call them goals, call them resolutions, call them our moral duty, call them whatever you like. We hope that they’ll make sense, resonate, inspire.

  1. SUPPORT GOOD BRANDS. That means shopping from brands that are transparent with their values and suppliers. Check out their websites, look for a list of disclosed suppliers, and make sure their values align with yours.
  2. BUY LESS. Buy just what you need and buy high-quality, versatile items that’ll last.
  3. SHOP BY FIBER. Fibers have a huge impact on a product’s environmental footprint. Buy products made with organic and recycled fibers. Over 90% of the fibers we sourced this year were planet-friendly: organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, regenerated ECONYL® nylon, and upcycled cotton to name a few, so feel good about your OK items.
  4. TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY. Travel is synonymous with personal growth, empathy, and an open mind and open heart. We love to travel, but we can all travel lighter. Drive and fly less, use alternatives like public transportation, carpool. Offset your carbon footprint with blue carbon credits through groups like SeaGrass Grow.
  5. AVOID SINGLE-USE STUFF. Our ocean is drowning in plastic. It’s never been worse. Single-use plastics are beyond irresponsible, they’re downright vulgar. Maximize that reusable to-go kit you love to tote around!
  6. WASH CLEAN. Wash less, air dry, and use safe detergents. Watch your microfibers and toss your synthetics into a Guppyfriend Washing Bag.
  7. KEEP ‘EM GOING. Gift, trade, resell, donate, or swap your clothes with your friends. Whatever you do, just keep them in circulation.
  8. KNOW FAIR. It’s our duty to know who made our clothes and how they’re supported. Shop Fair Trade Certified™ products, from clothes and chocolate to everything in between. Find our 30+ Fair Trade styles here!
  9. REPAIR. Take care of what you buy and extend the life of your gear. FYI our S.E.A. JEANS are guaranteed for life, so if yours wear through early we’ll repair and recycle them for free. Shop Men’s. Shop Women’s.
  10. SPEAK UP. Question the brands you like. Ask for change. Engage in issues that you want to see addressed. Practice healthy skepticism. We’re all ears to your questions, just email customercare@outerknown.com.

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