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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

A Green Home: Make a Green New Year's Resolution

Jaci KennisonJaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating.  

The gifts are given, the boxes unwrapped (the paper saved or composted of course), and the decorations are coming down. The next big holiday looms, and as we prepare for the new year, many of us are also preparing mental lists of those things to resolve to make this year greater, more productive, more peaceful, beautiful and green than the last.

While resolutions often center around self-improvement, this year I am encouraging a second resolution. I know, I know—it can be hard enough to keep one. Just hear me out.

What if we took a little pressure off self-improvement and focused on improving our world? What if our resolutions were for a better, brighter and greener world? What if we resolved to go green in one new way, starting today? It might even be easier to keep a resolution for the world.

salad greens 
Start a garden or order salad at your favorite restaurant to reduce your environmental footprint. Photo By Quinn Dombrowski/Courtesy Flickr. 

There are a lot of ways to re-green your home, and your life. As avid readers of Mother Earth Living, I assume many of you already go green as much as possible. Truthfully though, there is always some area where we can improve, which is—in my opinion—what resolutions are for. So take resolution season to a world-wide level this year, and consider doing something to improve your green lifestyle.

Consider where you fall a little short in your environmentally conscious choices. Maybe you eat out once a week, or you pack your lunch in plastic baggies. Maybe you don’t save graywater or you drive to the post office. Step back and take an honest look at your life. Find a few areas where you could stand to lessen your footprint just a little bit more and consider making these your place for resolutions.

Green Resolutions

• If you do eat out once a week, resolve to choose only vegetarian options. (We all know raising cattle is one of the most environmentally hazardous elements of our nation’s diet). Or, resolve to visit only locally owned restaurants. Or, cut back your restaurant experiences to once every two weeks.

• Do you have a plastic baggie problem? Consider purchasing an item like Lunchskins to take the place of plastic or even paper wrapping for your lunch items. Use glass containers to transport things like soups and salads.

Save plastic baggies from clogging up landfills by purchasing an item like Lunchskins, cotton food baggies. Photo Courtesy LunchSkins. 

• Promise yourself and the planet that you will install a rainwater collection system, or plant a bigger garden this year.

• Make it a point to find the closest post office and vow to walk, ride your bike or take public transport when you need to attend to post issues.

• Consider volunteering for a group working for green, or make a point of purchasing items with the least amount of packaging possible.

• Consider banning television and computer use in your home one day per week. Or install power strips on all appliances that can be unplugged when not in use and unplug the power strip when you shut them off.

Choose just one thing to adjust in your daily routine. As we all know, even a little change can have a significant impact on the quality of your life and the health of our earth. A large group of people coming together could create monumentous results. Bear in mind that it is easiest to incorporate small changes. Just like suddenly vowing to eat only raw, vegan food will probably not stick, deciding to implement a load of eco choices at once may also prove to be a greater challenge than you anticipated. Choose one thing and really focus on sticking to it.

Our lives, and our planet, could always use a little more green. By changing your resolutions this year (or just adding one) you can help to improve yourself and your world. Who knows? Maybe choosing vegetable dinners at your favorite restaurant will help you with your other resolutions, too.

Isn’t the planet worth it?