Itís resolution time! Each year at the stroke of midnight most of us make a resolution. Sure itís a tradition to promise yourself to be a better person. Why make an empty gesture?
How long do these resolutions last? According to Time Magazine, the most common broken resolutions are:
Lose weight and get fit
Learn something new
Eat healthier and diet
Get out of debt and save money
Spend more time with Family
Travel to new places
Be less stressed
This year, be a resolution revolutionary and try something new. Resolve to be sustainable. Donít stress yourself out. Being sustainable can be done one step at a time with huge rewards. Lower energy bills, less waste, a better planet ó all as a result of small changes.
Focus on one sustainable aspect of your life each month and when next year comes to an end youíll be successful at resolutions.
January: Everyone wants to lose weight after the New Year. In 2017, resolve to lose paper weight. Register at CatalogChoice.org or DMAchoice.org to opt-out of receiving mailings. Donít forget your bills. You can also opt out of receiving paper bills. This not only reduces paper, but saves on emissions from vehicles too.
February: Let your love keep you warm and turn down your thermostat while youíre not home and even a few degrees in the evenings as well. Youíll save money on heating costs.
March: While March may roar in like a lion, be a little lamb and gently clean your house for spring. Try using natural or less harsh chemicals to clean. Itís better for you and the environment.
April: April showers bring May flowers. Why not let nature water your flower and vegetable gardens for you? Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water for later use.
May: While getting ready for summer plantings, consider xeriscaping and drought tolerant plants. Your landscape will look great and use less water. When plants need a little sip of water, use the water collected in your rain barrels for controlled spot watering.
June: The days are finally longer in June. Open curtains for natural lighting. If you still need artificial light, consider compact fluorescent lights or light emitting diode lights which use less energy and last longer. Also, increase the settings on your heating, ventilation and air conditioning by a few degrees and change the air filter. It will make your HVAC work less, saving energy. Youíll save money on your energy bill.
July: Barbecue time is in full swing. Kick off your independence from less sustainable grilling and source your food locally as much as possible. Use propane or natural gas grills when grilling. Still love charcoal? Thatís okay. Opt for natural lump charcoal obtained from sustainably harvested sources.
August: Go back to thrift school. Instead of buying all new back to school items, take and inventory of what you have and what youíll need. Buy like-new items from a thrift store and then as a last resort buy new items to meet your needs. Be sure to clean out closets and dressers and donate gently used, unwanted items at local donation centers.
September: New school year, new transportation options. Consider walking, riding a bike or carpooling to school or work.
October: Eeek. Donít let cooler temperatures scare you. While the weather is less humid and cooler, open the windows and let in the fresh air. Donít forget to change out your air filters and set your thermostat for cooler heating temperatures. Getting the HVAC ready for winter will make it more efficient.
November: Letís talk turkey. Plan your holiday meals so there is less waste. Use reusable plates, cups and cutlery to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible. Consider buying as much food for your meal locally from the farmerís market or butcher. Itís not only more sustainable, but it supports the local economy. When kicking off your Christmas shopping, donít forget to shop small on Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
December: Learn from the Grinch. The Grinch may have stolen all the Christmas packages, food, and decorations, but he couldnít stop Christmas from coming. No matter what holiday you celebrate, the best gift of all doesnít come with tags, or wrappings, boxes or bags. The joy of the holidays doesnít come from the store. Decrease your consumption by drawing names with Family and friends to reduce the quantity and increase the quality of gifts. Make a donation to a charity in the name of the gift recipient. A handmade or upcycled gift often means more than something purchased in a store.
These small resolutions each month are the best gifts you can give your Mother (Earth). Happy and Sustainable New Year from Sustainable Fort Bragg.