Like most people, I always have lofty aspirations at the beginning of a new year. I vow to get fit, get organized, be a nicer person… by February, most of my resolutions have been abandoned and I’m back to my old ways.
Not this year – truly! I’m hoping that by setting goals that have more to do with helping the environment and less to do with my own personal issues, I’ll feel more motivated to achieve them, since there’s much more at stake than a missed workout or a messy desk. And maybe, just maybe, everything else will fall into place.
These are my eco-conscious resolutions – set your own green goals this year and let’s plan to check in next month to see how we’ve done!
- Compost my food waste. Last month I invested in a tumbling composter, and my goal is to have finished compost by the time we’re ready to plant our vegetable garden. I’m hoping that by composting my food scraps, coffee grounds, used paper towels, and other waste, I’ll reduce the amount of garbage I’m sending to the landfill. Plus, maybe we won’t have to spend so much on soil for our garden.
- Bike and walk more. I’m always running late, which makes it necessary to hop into the car even to drive short distances. But this year, I want to take advantage of how bike-friendly my city of Atlanta is becoming and ride my bike for local errands. I have a good role model – my husband’s resolution last year was to start bike commuting to work so he could achieve a goal of biking 1,000 miles. I was so proud when he achieved it with a month to spare! In a similar vein, I also vow to walk my daughter the three blocks to school at least four days a week, and to exercise by taking neighborhood walks, rather than driving to the gym and plodding on an electric treadmill, which wastes fuel and electricity.
- Have success with my garden. This year will be the second summer we’ve grown a vegetable garden, and I am determined to have more success than last year, when we didn’t plant enough to make it worthwhile. I plan to build more raised beds for our garden, plant more of each vegetable type, and explore eco-friendly ways we can nourish and water our crops, such as catching rainwater and, of course, using the compost we’re creating.
- Clean greener. If you peeked at my Pinterest boards (seriously, go ahead!) you’d see that I’m obsessed with pinning articles with titles like “101 Uses for Baking Soda” or “Make Your Own Laundry Detergent.” I’m fascinated with the idea of using household commodities as nontoxic, eco-friendly cleaning products. This year I’m finally going to banish those harsh, chemical-laden cleansers and experiment with these natural cleaners. If they don’t work, I’ll switch to earth-friendly brands like Seventh Generation and Ecover.
- Get organized. I know what you’re thinking – I promised that this year, my resolutions were about helping the environment, not focusing on my self. But as I think about the benefits of getting my house, office, and the rest of my life in order, I can see plenty of benefits to Mother Earth. For instance: less clutter means I’ll be able to find things more easily, rather than wasting resources by buying duplicates when I can’t locate what I’m looking for. Vowing to keep my fridge and freezer orderly means it’ll work more efficiently, saving electricity. If I am better about making my errand list, I might be able to streamline my shopping trips and cut down on pollution and gas usage.