As the final days of a year begin to wane, people always start discussing New Year’s resolutions. It is a time of reflection, meta-cognition, and the setting of goals for growth. When doing this, try to remember some of the most basic tenets of environmentalism and pure and natural living. It can be easy to overlook the small stuff, but that's why we're here.
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Number 1. Plant a (Dozen) Trees
The science has long confirmed it. Due to human activity, carbon dioxide is rapidly filling the atmosphere and creating a greenhouse like effect. As a result, global climate change has taken the forefront as one of the world’s largest and most pressing challenges. Seas levels are rising, nations are disappearing, and species are being thrown into limbo.
By far, the most practical, simple, and cost effective way to battle global warming is planting trees, but just one won’t do. Make it your New Year’s resolution to seriously fight against global warming. Have you and your family plant a few dozen trees over the year. They natural draw carbon dioxide out from atmosphere, turning it into wood. They also purify out water, create shade, and help express natural beauty.
Number 2. Organize Your Recycling
It’s great if you recycle, but even better if you organize your recycling to make it easier on the local recycling center. Use old trashcans or create your own sorter (try to avoid buying plastic bins to throw recycling in). Break it up into the four main types: paper, plastic, metal, and glass. Whenever you’re filled up, tie off the bag and label it the material type. Next, just throw in it the recycling bin or take it down to your recycling center!
Number 3. Begin a Better Diet
Being healthy should be on everyone’s agenda, every year. There’s a lot one can do to become healthier, and it can start by simply expanding their knowledge on the topic. Read some articles about macronutrients, maybe purchase a program like iProfile, and start working healthier, greener foods into your diet.
Number 4. Start Exercising More
Like the last one, exercising should be a lifelong commitment, and if it is, your life will be much longer. When planning exercise, if you haven’t been very active in the past, start off gradually and prepare to see immediate changes followed by a long period of stagnation (so don’t get discouraged 3 weeks after you begin). Know your basic facts about exercising, and know your goal. If you aren’t looking to get slimmer, stick to the minimum of 3-5 times a week at about 30-60 minutes.
Number 5. Start a Garden
Whether it is an herb, vegetable, or flower garden, you should start planning for it now. Pick out what it is you want to grow (keep the seasons in mind), and plan a time for a family activity or some personal relaxation. A garden is a great addition to any home, adding a level of self-sustainability and natural charm. Don’t be afraid to poke around at your neighbors and get a club started, usually people do much better when there is a team behind them!
Number 6. Use Alternative Transportation
Re-read number one. Using alternate transportation is the next simple thing you can do to beat back global warming. Try out the Metro, your new bike you got from Christmas, or do some carpooling. Whatever it is, try to minimize your time in your own vehicle. This will lower your emissions, and in effect, minimize your carbon footprint.
Number 7. Go Camping
Some people live in the woods, and some people have never seen them. If you find yourself in the latter group, it’s time to break out of your shell. Camping is fun, a great bonding experience with family, and a great opportunity to really engage with nature. Sure, it isn’t as clean or classy as a vacation at the Carlton, but it gives you something much more – a connection to the planet that gave you life. Try it out this year, it may just become tradition.
Number 8. Invest in Alternative Energy
Any venture capitalists in the crowd? Well, 2011 is your year to invest in green energy. With major companies beginning to transition into the green industry, new research underway, and a public thirsty for a cleaner, greener world, now is the time to invest in green energy. Whether it’s on a grand scale or simply for your own home, getting behind green energy is, without a doubt, a matter of when and not if.
Number 9. Clear out the Chemicals
Hurry! Now is your chance to remove all those store bought chemicals from your home and bring in homemade or healthy-made cleaners. Unfortunately, conventional cleaners leave behind chemicals and toxins that can be worse than the germs they kill. Fight against these by not using them, and instead using healthy, toxin free cleaners. There are some basic recipes you can tackle, and you can also get help from places like Planet Inc.
Number 10. Shop Organic and Support Organic Farmers
Most importantly, continue your support of organic farms. Some say that we vote through money nowadays, so make it count by only buying the food that fits your philosophy. Organic food, while nutritionally similar to conventionally grown food, is still better on the environment, contains less chemical pesticides, and support local growers rather than a multinational agricultural hegemony. We must maintain our sense of community, and a great way of doing that is living within yours with the support of your neighbors and local farmers.