5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Planet

The New Year is when many people commit to making positive lifestyle changes, from adopting an exercise plan to spending more time with family and friends. This year, the Population Education staff is also creating “eco-resolutions” that will help us reconnect with nature and have a positive effect on the planet. Here’s our 2014 resolutions:

1. Carol: Increase the amount that I compost. “I live in a big condo building but we’re lucky enough to have compost bins on the roof. I, however, can get a bit lazy about taking my composting up there when the trash can is just a few feet away. So in 2014 I want to gather compostables in my condo and take them up to the bin on a weekly basis.”

2. Amanda: Buy more organic tea. “One of my vices in life is the British ‘cuppa’—strong black tea served with milk. And since I imbibe several cups a day, what better way to make a positive environmental impact than by switching to organic sources. Many lines of organic teas are also fair trade, meaning there is an added social benefit!”

3. Lauren: Eat local produce. “My 2014 eco-resolution is to buy my produce from a new farm stand that opened in my neighborhood. I’ll be supporting local community agriculture (the produce is from a farm in Loudon County, outside of DC) and lowering my carbon impact by buying local. Also, it will be fun to challenge my creativity by having to cook what is in season and available.”

4. Pam: Get outside more to enjoy nature. “Last week, my husband, son and I had a fabulous day walking through Muir Woods when we were in the Bay Area.  The Redwoods were absolutely majestic and awe-inspiring. It made me realize how many state and national parks there are to explore here in the U.S. and how life-affirming it is visit these great natural sites.”

5. Lindsey: Bike more, drive less. “While I commute using public transportation during the week, I find myself jumping in the car all too frequently on the weekends to get to nearby neighborhoods and, regrettably, even the grocery store and restaurants in my own neighborhood (only a 1.2 mile trek). While the roads don’t lend themselves to walking, biking would be an easy and fun alternative. In 2014, I’d like to resist the temptation to drive and use my bike to get around on the weekends instead.”

Small lifestyle changes like these not only improve our environmental consciousness but also generate ecological benefits. Ditching the car for the bike on a 5-mile trip prevents the release of 5 lbs of CO2; if every adult in DC did this once a week, we would avoid 135 million lbs of CO2 emissions each year. Composting prevents food products (the largest component of landfills) from being buried in landfills where they will produce methane emissions; an individual who composts her food scraps saves 200 lbs of waste from entering the landfill annually. Now those are some changes you can be proud of!

Perhaps you will be inspired to make your own eco-resolution this year and find ways to invest in the natural world and lessen your environmental footprint. From all of us at PopEd: Happy New Year!