Tuesday, December 31, 2013

100 Earth Friendly New Year's Resolutions for 2014

As the New Year dawns many people go through the annual ritual of making resolutions for the coming year. This can be an opportune time to commit to being more environmentally and socially responsible. Here are one hundred New Year's resolutions for business people, consumers, and the general public that can have a lasting impact on the planet and all the life forms that inhabit it.

Business

Some members of the business community are leading the charge in the transition to a greener economy. These companies show that sustainability is not only a responsible approach to business it is also a financially sound method of mitigating risk. Countless studies have indicated that positioning a business to address the diverse array of environmental and social demands can contribute to the bottom line rather than detract from it. However, not all businesses see the merit of sustainability.
  • Inform yourself about the various aspects of sustainability
  • Read about those individuals and organizations who have successfully embarked on sustainability journeys
  • Establish clearly defined sustainability goals
  • Reduce your energy usage
  • Use renewable energy as much as possible 
  • Reduce your water consumption 
  • Minimize waste in your administrative activities
  • Increase recycling
  • Review your manufacturing processes to reduce waste
  • Review your manufacturing processes to make them more efficient
  • Minimize the amount of resources required in your manufacturing processes
  • Use more sustainable materials in the manufacturing process
  • Streamline your processes
  • Use high efficiency lighting (ie LED) 
  • Use high efficiency heating systems
  • Use high efficiency cooling systems
  • Enhance building insulation
  • Put pressure on your supply chain (both up and down) to be more sustainable
  • Make more responsible procurement decisions
  • Forge a business culture premised on environmental and social responsibility
  • Educate your workforce
  • Educate your industry
  • Educate your customers
  • Do more teleconferencing rather than plane travel

Consumption

Changing our consumption habits and buying behaviors are some of the best ways we can change the world. Understanding our consumption pattern is the first step. By being conscious of how much we spend and what we spend it on we can make changes that can significantly reduce our personal footprint.
  • Investigate and research products before you buy them
  • Inform yourself about the manufacturer of the items you buy
  • Inform yourself about the retailers you buy from
  • Familiarize yourself with the manufacturing process involved in the products you buy
  • Vote for the planet with your wallet by making the most judicious choice possible whenever you spend money
  • Buy from enterprises who are engaged in more socially and environmentally responsible practices
  • Provide good word of mouth advertising for responsible enterprises  
  • View every dollar you spend as an action that either contributes to the environmental crisis we face or helps to abate it
  • Avoid irresponsible businesses as much as possible
  • Consume less and make fewer purchases
  • Use products more efficiently so that they can last as long as possible
  • Share responsible business behavior and corporate conduct as widely as possible

Lifestyle

There is a great deal we all can do in our daily lives to minimize our environmental footprints. A large part of this effort involves being aware of our activities and scrutinizing them in the context of their impacts on the planet and its life forms. .
  • Reduce your energy consumption
  • Use renewable energy as much as possible
  • Use high efficiency lighting
  • Reduce water consumption
  • Minimize waste
  • Increase recycling
  • Avoid using cars for local trips and use alternative methods of transportation like walking, biking or public transit
  • Travel less by plane
  • Garden with plants that have lower water requirements
  • Plant trees
  • Get out in nature and make it part of your life
  • Remove plastic and other debris that is dangerous to wildlife
  • Read books and watch movies that celebrate nature and communicate the value of sustainability

Attitude

One's psychological disposition is an intangible that may not seem like much, but it is far more important than many realize. Without disavowing moments of well warranted despair about the the ecological crises we face, do not linger on it indefinably, try to move beyond it. A positive mental attitude is a catalyst for action, as such it directly contributes to social and environmental betterment. Conversely pessimism can be a highly destructive attitude that undermines efforts to auger pro-social change.
  • Have the courage to care about the future of life on our planet
  • Recognize the interconnectedness of all life on earth
  • Be more mindful about issues that impact the natural world
  • Be moved by the beauty of the natural world
  • Be grateful for the natural world and all its flora and fauna
  • Embrace the planet and all its inhabitants
  • Love and care for all living things
  • Do not succumb to despair over the state of environmental degradation
  • Remain hopeful that we can solve the environmental dilemmas we face

Causes

There are so many diligent groups and individuals that are working tirelessly to improve our world. Perhaps we do not have the time to spearhead such movements, but we can make the time to recognize and support their laudable activities.
  • Publicly acknowledge groups who work to advance social and environmental causes
  • Publicly acknowledge individuals who work to advance social and environmental causes
  • Send messages that show your support
  • Share their good works with others
  • Give your time 
  • Provide financial support

Activism

Stop procrastinating and start acting today. Get directly involved in local and global efforts aimed at improving life on this planet. Being directly involved increases our understanding of the issues we are facing and it further ingrains the value of social and environmental actions. However, it is important to understand that being an eco-activist is about far more than engaging in street protests.
  • Get involved with community based efforts to make your neighborhood greener
  • Get involved with global initiatives to change the world for the better
  • Demand action from your elected officials. Write to your municipal, state, provincial and federal representatives telling them to act on environmental issues
  • Pledge to make ecological awareness and action part of your life
  • Actively communicate the value of the natural world
  • Widely share the need for environmental protections
  • Share your passion for the environment
  • Use social media channels to expand your reach
  • Teach young people (children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc) about the value of the natural world
  • Share your love of nature with others
  • Seek out and challenge climate deniers and environmental Luddites
  • Vote for the political leaders with the most evolved environmental platforms 
  • Support these political leaders by volunteering your time
  • Provide financing for environmentally concerned political candidates
  • Canvass on behalf of environmentally concerned political candidates
  • Share your environmental activism with others in your social circles
  • Write environmentally themed messages and post them publicly
  • Share your environmental concerns with colleagues at work
  • Ask your employers to get involved
  • Challenge environmental ignorance wherever you encounter it 

Food

Global hunger and use of resources for the production of food is a serious global concern that is very much an environmental issue. Changing our food habits is a critical dimension of global sustainability. The world is clearly out of balance when it comes to food. Almost a billion people are suffering from hunger in developing countries and people in much of the rest of the world are living in places where obesity is rampant. As we enter 2014, these concerns have a special meaning as the year has been designated the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  • Reduce food waste by eliminating excess and only making as much as you need
  • Compost unwanted food rather than send it to a landfill
  • Eat local and eat seasonal
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit 
  • Consume less meat
  • Grow your own food
  • When planting your own food use crops that are known to thrive in your area
  • Buy organic and fair trade
  • Share your understanding of the relationship between food and planetary health with others
  • Avoid foods that use pesticides, 
  • Avoid foods that use antibiotics 
  • Avoid foods that use petroleum based fertilizers
  • Petition your elected officials for a healthier food supply
  • Avoid genetically modified foods
  • Support family farmers
  • Avoid irresponsible industrial food producers
We have come so very far to make our world more sustainable, but we still have much further to go. Let 2014 be the year we make a difference. Do not succumb to tepid dreams that fail to soar, dare to change the world for the better, no matter how unrealistic or overly ambitious this may seem.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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