New Year’s Resolutions for the Earth
What can YOU do for the earth this year?
Happy New Year!
In many cultures, the new year means making resolutions––that is, promising yourself that you will make some positive changes in the coming year. You might try to get rid of bad habits, throw yourself even more into your studies or special interests, or attempt something challenging. You might say, “I’m going to stop chewing my fingernails!” or “I’m going to train to run a marathon!” or “I’m going to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy!” (if you tackle that final one, be careful; I’m reading it now, and often find I get lost about midway into a paragraph when one of the characters begins recounting their history). Or––and this is my challenge: “I’m going to publish blog posts more often!”
Actually, it would be nurturing to you, too…but in a different way. Like flossing your teeth (even when you’re too tired), but your dentist compliments you at your next dental check-up to see how healthy your gums and teeth are. Or like studying (even when you’d rather be doing anything else), but then when you take a test, you realize you really do understand the subject and receive a better grade. Or like you make your bed (even though you don’t want to), but that night, as you climb into bed, you find it’s sooo much more comfortable to slide under smoothed-out sheets and flop your head onto a fluffed-up pillow…This year, make some resolutions to do something really nurturing for the earth. And while planting a tree or going on a trash-pickup are great, I challenge you to try something you can do year round, like using a recycling bin (see this post if you haven’t got one yet), composting, or growing a garden.
Here are some examples:
Learn! Start researching climate change online or at the library. Remember: knowledge is power! Can’t participate in Fridays for Future, in which kids strike for climate justice? Then use Friday to do something else healthy for the planet, and think up new Earth-friendly habits for you and your family to try. For example…
Stop! One of the best things to do for the planet, weirdly enough, is to stop. Stop littering…it may seems like a little bit, but if everyone does it, it really adds up to a big mess. Stop using single-use items like plastic cutlery, plastic water-bottles, plastic straws, plastic containers, plastic wraps and bags… basically, all that plastic stuff, whenever you can. Stop shopping for things you don’t actually need. Stop wasting…which leads me to the next one…
Save! Save water…don’t run it while you brush your teeth, make sure the dishwasher has all the dishes you can realistically fit in it, and don’t leave faucets dripping. Save electricity…don’t keep your lights on when you don’t need them, only use your heating and cooling systems when you have to, and don’t leave doors open when the heating or air conditioning is on. Save food…here in North America, especially in the United States, we have a real issue with food waste. A seemingly innocent habit of tossing out a little more food than we should leads to 40% of food being wasted in the United States––nearly half of our food! That huge amount of wasted food increases the sizes of landfills, emitting greenhouse gasses, and meanwhile, eleven million kids are wondering when or whether they will have their next meal.
Think about the things you can do.
Think about how wonderful this earth is.
Think about how easy––yet unimaginably useful!––one little good habit can be.
Think about ways you might stop, save, and/or learn.