As each successive year comes to a close and a New Year presents itself just over the horizon, many people use this occasion to reflect on their life and how they may improve it in the year to come. Many make resolutions about money, their health and fitness or how to improve their relationships.
After several years as the hottest on record and as the New Year 2020 and a new decade dawns, this may be a good time to consider adding environmental goals to our list of resolutions.
Individual and family group resolutions such as those in the following list, obviously help:
1 Avoid bringing additional hard to degrade, single-use plastics into the home, such as plastic grocery bags and drinking straws.
2 Don’t buy individual serving plastic water bottles; use reusable water bottles and drink tap water where safe.
3 Eat less meat and consider more plant-based meal options.
4 Make a compost pile instead of trashing uneaten or spoiled food.
5 Use washable and reusable cloth wipes for cleanup instead of paper towels.
6 Take fewer car trips for local errands; instead ride a bike to the bank, walk to the neighborhood grocery or take advantage of a new urban e-scooter program to go to the pharmacy.
7 Use only green cleaners and laundry detergent.
8 Buy and install led light bulb replacements for your most used lamps and light fixtures.
9 Conserve water with low-flow shower heads
10 Weatherstrip, cauk and insulate your doors and windows to prevent heating and cooling loss.
11 Have your home furnace and air conditioner efficiently tuned each year.
12 Reuse, Repair Donate or Recycle everything you can.
Any and all of the dozen resolutions above will help cut your personal and family carbon footprint—every bit helps. But let’s not kid ourselves. Individual decisions and lifestyle changes won’t make a dent to the billions of tons of carbon added to our atmosphere each year. Only large-scale government and social action will make a measurable impact on reducing carbon emissions to meet the Paris Accord goals for 2050. Government will only act if we demand it by taking action in the streets and at the ballot box. So:
13 Learn about the Green New Deal and seek out and join organizations and support politicians in your community that promote it.
14 Connect with a local chapter of the Sunrise Movement, join in their Climate Strike actions to build an army of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process.
15 Participate in a local Indivisible Action Network group engaged in electoral work activism.
16 Support local politicians who will fight to enact carbon taxes on corporate polluters.
17 Do the same for political leaders in your community fighting to enable mass transit options.
18 Work with local environmental activists agitating to enact state-wide fracking bans.
19 Organize and support electoral candidates that will reverse Trump’s Paris Climate Accord Withdrawal.
20 Join a United Nations chapter that faces our global climate emergency and works to support a low-carbon, sustainable future.