Environment: Thirteen Resolutions for a Greener Future in 2013

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Drought hit corn farmers hard in 2012. Photo: Crane Station / CC by 2.0

Weather and Changes: Plan for Extremes

2012 was a year of extremes: from fires and drought to Hurricane Sandy and even volcanoes and earthquakes.

Create a personal and neighborhood emergency plan for future disasters, and think about ways in which you and your community can become more self-sufficient.

Get proactive as well, by replanting wetlands that provide storm protection and growing shade trees to shelter during a drought.

Gardening: Grow a Resilient Food Network

Plan for a resilient food future by starting to grow your own, even if it’s in a window box planter or in a sprouting jar.

Share your garden with others or see if your neighbor would like some tomatoes in return for sharing her garden space. Support local organic farmers, especially those with farmers that support many different species, because these foster many different animals.

Energy Use: Get Thrifty

Unplug appliances, and change your clothes to change your temperature instead of changing the thermostat. Grow your own energy as well – buy into renewable and lower-impact energy, or install some in your home: solar cells are becoming increasingly inexpensive, as are energy-saving technologies such as tankless hot water heaters. Use rechargeable batteries, and charge them with a solar charger to save money and resources.

Staycation to Reduce Carbon Footprint: Travel Locally

This year, go on a local vacation to see those places you’ve always heard about but have never visited. Choose lower-carbon methods of travel: go on your bike or take the train. If you’re going to travel for business, opt for a local meeting, or ask if you can chat over Skype instead.

Commute Restructuring

Reduce your carbon footprint by thinking about the places you visit every day. Can you work closer to your home, or live closer to your work? Can you work from home some of the time? As gas prices go up and the urgency to reduce our energy use becomes more acute, look into commuting by transit, biking, or walking.

Make a Difference: Support Policy Change

You can make a difference in future policy – from the local government level, where you can plan for community change, to the national level, which impacts what energy sources you can use. Whatever your political stripes, plan to support environmentally-progressive policy changes this year.

Ecosystem Experience: Get Outside

In 2013, resolve to get outside. Children are increasingly disconnected from ecosystems, and without an understanding of how our environment works, we lose our ability to grow food and restore the places where we and other species live. Get outside for a walk or to play: you’ll feel refreshed and realize what you’re working for!

New Year’s Resolutions 2013: For A Greener Tomorrow

Take a little time to add something as simple as planting a garden or planning a greener commute to your New Year’s resolutions for 2013, and you will grow your own ability to contribute to a positive future for local and global systems. By thinking and acting locally, and promoting earth-friendly policies on a local and national level, you can help ecosystems recover from the stresses of 2012… Because the planet needs a Happy New Year as well.

Resources:

The Melissa Garden. Top Five Plants for Honeybees. Accessed December 30, 2012.

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