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Resolutions for a Green New Year

Another year has come and gone and once again we are given the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and have a chance to adopt healthy new habits and new ways of being. While considering what it is you would like to accomplish for yourself in the coming new year, try to incorporate at least one resolution that helps protect the planet - it's guaranteed to be easier than shedding that last 10 lbs.


Eat Organic

The food choices we make have a direct effect on our physical health. They also impact the environment. Eating organically and buying food from local producers means a reduction in the use of chemicals, lower transportation and storage costs and a decrease in fuel and energy expenditures.

Conserve Energy

If you've been considering installing new windows, adding insulation to your attic or buying a high-energy furnace, higher fuel prices make this the perfect year to go ahead with those energy efficient home improvements. Smaller ways to conserve include weatherproofing, replacing old appliances with Energy Star® appliances and replacing burnt out light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescents.

Make Your Voice Heard

The World Wide Web makes it easier than ever for people to track environmental and social issues and make their voices heard. Sign an online petition, speak at a city council meeting, call a congressman or write a letter to the editor. Consider what issues are important to you and resolve to make your voice heard.


Get a Child Outdoors

Children are indeed our hope for the future. Exposing them to the beauty of nature while they are young fosters an appreciation for the environment that they will carry with them into adulthood. This year, resolve to take to take a child to a wildlife refuge, a national park, a local nature center or a botanical garden.

New Years Resolutions
Children are indeed our hope for the future. Exposing them to the beauty of nature while they are young fosters an appreciation for the environment that they will carry with them into adulthood.

Start Composting

This is the year to convert those yard clippings and vegetable peelings into nutrient rich compost for your garden while reducing your solid waste stream. Home composting bins can be found at most home and garden centers and there are many easy do-it-yourself plans available free on the Internet.


Green Your Cleaning

It's hard to believe, but recent studies show that the air we breathe in our homes is often more polluted than the air we breathe outdoors. This is due in large part to the toxic chemicals we use when cleaning our homes. Not only are they toxic to us, but they are also harmful to the environment. Keep your home healthy by resolving to reduce unnecessary toxic chemicals. Baking soda and vinegar are great all-purpose cleaners, safe for the environment and cheap, too! Look for a non-toxic substitute for every toxic chemical you currently use in your home and garden.

Drive Less

Changing the way we transport ourselves from one place to another is the single biggest impact we can have on the environment. You may not be in a position to trade in your car for a hybrid, but carpooling or using public transportation just one day a week is manageable for most of us. Better yet, walking or riding your bike works to help accomplish other resolutions you may have for getting more exercise.


Give of Your Time

Whether you have 10 hours a week to volunteer at your child's school, or one Saturday in September to participate in a local beach sweep, make a resolution to give of your time this year. You'll be helping to strengthen your community and have the added benefit of meeting new people that share your same interests.

Vote with Your Dollars

Most of us don't stop to consider just how much power we have as consumers. Every time we make a purchase we are essentially voting with our dollars. If you're aware of a business that participates in unfair labor practices or demonstrates a clear lack of environmental responsibility, notify them of your concerns and let them know you're your going to spend your money elsewhere.

Complete the Recycling Loop

It's not enough to recycle the products we buy. In order for recycling to really work, we need also need to buy products made from recycled materials. Resolve to buy products sporting the recycled symbol and look for products that state "made from post-consumer material." From outerwear to lawn furniture, there are a wide variety of recycled products now available.


Best wishes for a happy and safe (and green) new year! Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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