With 2016 quickly approaching, it’s time to flesh out our New Year’s resolutions and figure out the ways in which we’ll keep them.
With 2016 quickly approaching, it’s time to flesh out our New Year’s resolutions and figure out the ways in which we’ll keep them. I’m here to encourage you to skip the promises to go to the gym or run the next marathon, and make your resolution, instead, about something that can resonate for generations to come – make it about embracing sustainability, and commit to becoming part of the solution to the mess that we’ve made of our environment.
Tell your parents and your kids about it; create a narrative of hope around this topic. It’s so very discouraging to hear experts talk about how we’ve passed the point of no return, how no difference can be made at the individual level any longer. But guess what? Industries are run by individuals; politicians are elected by individuals; grassroots campaigns are started by individuals. Every single act of sustainable living not only makes our direct environment a cleaner, safer, less wasteful place to live, but also echoes through every other corridor of our lives, and the lives of those we share our days with.
What simple things can you do right now?
1 Don’t idle your car tomorrow. Or ever.
2 Sign up at catalogchoice.org and stop the tsunami of catalogs. Today.
3 Buy a metal water bottle, and promise yourself that you’ll never purchase a single-use water bottle again.
4 Kick off January with a lunchbox filled entirely with reusable containers, sandwich bags, napkins, utensils, and water bottles.
5 Write a sign and put it up in your house: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – In That Order” as a reminder that household recycling efforts are worth doing, even though they don’t make a dent in the tons and tons of waste produced upstream for each small thing that reaches your home.
6 Turn down the thermostat, and have everyone put on sweaters.
7 Call your lawn care company now, well before spring, and tell them that you’re switching to an organic provider.
8 Create a spring planting plan, making room for native plants and deciduous trees that will eventually shade your home in the summer months.
9 Finally, choose one local organization that works to clean up our environment, encourages sustainable practices, or teaches our community about the value of our natural resources by making nature accessible, and become a member or supporter for a year.
After all, as one author recently put it: it’s not the planet that’s in danger, but rather the conditions of our own survival on it. As far as we know, modern human beings only emerged within the last 200,000 years. Just to put that into perspective, The Earth has been around for almost five billion years, and scientists estimate that it has approximately five billion more before it crashes into the sun. No, the earth doesn’t need us, but boy do we need it. And it’s not only that we need our planet, but also that we need it in a very particular state to support our basic requirements for clean air, water, food, and fuel for the lives we lead. Every single human being alive shares this; so maybe “Save the World” wasn’t such an impossible resolution after all?
— Rye Garden Club Conservation Committee