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5 Ways Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Help the Earth

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You and the planet stand to benefit if you keep these resolutions.

It’s a few days into the new year… have you kept up with your resolutions so far? I’m working on my annual “get fit” resolution… I’m sure I’ll see results just as soon as all these Christmas cookies are out of my house.

From an eco standpoint, the cool thing about many new year’s resolutions is that by practicing the new habits, you may be helping the environment at the same time. Take a look at how some of the most popular new year’s resolutions can have a positive effect on the planet.

  1. Eat Healthier: If one of your resolutions is to eat better, one way of doing so is to eat fresh, unprocessed, organic foods and less meat. One easy way to choose healthier foods at the store is by shopping the perimeter of your supermarket, rather than the center aisles: the outer parts of the store are typically where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, cheese, and other simple foods. Make a detour down the grains aisle to stock up on whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and barley, and you’ll have the makings for some healthy, nourishing meals. Processed foods often use more energy for production and packaging, and they could potentially contain genetically modified ingredients, so avoiding them makes sense from an eco standpoint.
  2. Get Fit: Starting (or restarting) an exercise program is a common and admirable resolution. But don’t just drive to the gym and run on the treadmill. Instead, hit the streets: hop on your bike, walk your dog, start a running program on your smartphone. Better yet, find an app like WoofTrax or Charity Miles that donates to a cause every time you exercise. Running, biking, and walking are fitness activities that don’t require the use of any equipment or resources like electricity. And you can combine errands with exercise by biking or walking to destinations or errands, which saves car trips.
  3. Give Back: Many people vow to start being more philanthropic in the new year — earmarking money to donate to favorite causes. While there are plenty of organizations that could use some financial support, consider focusing on environment-related organizations. I like searching Charity Navigator to find one worthy of my support; it rates the various organizations based on financial performance, accountability, and transparency.
  4. Get Organized: Getting my house in order is always at the top of my resolution list. And believe it or not, a clean and organized home and work space can be environmentally friendly as well. You’ll conserve resources if you are able to find, and use, everything you need, rather than having to make a trip to the store to buy replacements.
  5. Quit Smoking: It’s a difficult addiction to break, but if you’re still smoking, make this the year that you kick this stinky habit. Not only is smoking very bad for your health, it’s bad for the environment, too. By some estimates, cigarette butt litter totals 1.69 billion pounds annually, and the chemicals in the butts affect land- and water-based wildlife. So do yourself — and the earth — a favor and find an effective and lasting way to quit smoking.


What are your new year’s resolutions? Share your goals in the comments below.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan
I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same. more
  • Barbara W. 1 year ago
    Jan -05- 2015, its 5 years old but still good info!
  • Wanda P. 3 years ago
    i only want more family time.
  • Laura S. 4 years ago
    Who smokes anymore? GROSS.
  • Debra B. 5 years ago
    We are lucky to have Bob's Red Mill store 15 minutes away. We get the awesome healthy products, with a greater selection, at a much better price then the grocery stores. They also carry not only whole grains, but also cereals, beans, nuts, spices, etc. in the bulk bins.We buy many items this way and save lots of money, while getting wholesome healthy products. When you buy from the bins, look for turn over as you want it to be fresh!
  • aria c. 5 years ago
    Tomorrow, Tommy b.
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