Most of us are probably familiar with the New Year’s tradition of deciding on a resolution for the coming months. A new diet. Joining a gym. Quitting an unhealthy habit. That sort of thing.
But what about resolutions for Earth Day?
Regardless of our political leanings, I’ll venture to say that most of us want to keep our planet and environments healthy. If not for ourselves, then hopefully for the generations who will come after us.
Even people who find climate change science unconvincing can be concerned with the immediate and long term effects of pollution, our collective reliance on single-use plastics, and the alarming rate of deforestation.
The problems can be overwhelming. News reports and scientific data often paint a picture that evokes a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness.
But it doesn’t have to be so.
I’m a big believer in the wisdom that small changes can have a big impact if they we are consistent in their implementation. So, what would happen if everyone made a new choice for the coming year? A resolution to alter our behavior in practical, manageable ways for the good of our environment and the health of our planet?
In order to put my money where my mouth is, here are my three resolutions for this Earth Day:
- Stop using plastic straws. Disposable plastic straws are a huge source of pollution, and there are countries and cities around the world which are already moving towards banning them. Here’s one of many news stories describing the problem.
- Stop using disposable shopping bags. I already have reusable grocery bags, but I am not consistent in using them. I have a terrible time remembering to bring them with me to the store. Or, more often, I make an unplanned stop for groceries and the reusable bags are at home. Paper is a better but imperfect alternative, but at least paper bags are biodegradable. Here’s a post about a few ways to remember your reusable bags, and here’s a link to information about why reusable bags are important.
- Eat a low-meat diet. It sometimes catches people by surprise to learn that meat consumption has a negative effect on the environment. I won’t delve into all the details here, but as a quick overview the meat industry requires massive use of pesticides and contributes to deforestation as farmers clear land for their livestock. A more thorough analysis can be found here.
So that’s it. If I can manage to keep these habits for the next year, (and hopefully convert them into lifetime habits in the process) I will feel like I’ve made a small but significant dent in one of the biggest challenges facing our environment.
Other ideas? Feel free to comment and let me know what you’re planning to do for Earth Day 2018.