It’s a new year.
Time for “tweaking” my life a bit.
Or in other words, assessing where I am, where I want to be and how I am going
to get there.
For me, that means “making new resolutions” for the coming year.
And my most important quality of life resolutions have to be “green”.
What about you?
What commitments will you–and ideally, your friends and family–choose
to make toward a greener new year?
By implementing some of these green resolutions (or others of your own), we will
save money, help protect the environment, support better health.
and gain satisfaction from the knowledge that we are making the world a
better place for future generations.
In part one of this green resolution series, we explored 10 important ways to live greener.
Now, let’s continue with 15 more suggestions for green resolutions that can
really make a difference…
#11. Borrow or Barter Instead of Buying
This year, try to identify alternatives to buying new things.
Try borrowing things you need rather than buying them–especially
if you are only going to be using that item for one project.
You’ll save money while helping to save the environment.
For example, if you are refurbishing a piece of furniture you bought at a thrift store,
it’s probably a one-time deal.
See if you can borrow an electric sander and some of the other tools you will need to
refinish the piece.
You can trade work with neighbors, too.
Maybe your neighbor needs someone to watch his or her pets while he or she goes on vacation.
Then that neighbor can help you out by doing yard work or something else you need.
Trading work in this old-fashioned way forges community connections and fosters friendships.
#12. Save More Water This Year
Cutting back on water waste is a great, green New Year’s resolution.
Here are some actions to commit to this year to save water:
-Install a rain barrel
You can use the water to water your garden, lawn, and container plants.
Wash your car and hair with it (rain water makes hair very soft).
Rain water can also be used to wash your pets (don’t give them rain water to drink,
-Time your showers
– 10 minutes should suffice.
-Install low-flow aerators on your faucets, including the shower.
This is cheap and easy to do, but the savings can be significant.
-Mind your toilets
-Consider getting a low-flow toilet or upgrading your existing one.
-Don’t flush the toilet every time you use it.
Liquid waste does not have to be flushed away each time.
#13. Green Your Lawn
This may be an easy resolution to keep – don’t keep a manicured, perfectly-mowed
lawn this spring and summer.
Instead, let some of the valuable “weeds” and wildflowers grow.
This increases diversity and provides sources of food for insects and animals.
It may even provide food for you!
#14. Start a Garden
January is a great time to begin planning a garden and ordering seeds.
If you are going for flowers, try to plant native species that will benefit local insects
Bees will also appreciate abundant flowers.
A vegetable garden is another way to go green.
You can give away your surplus to friends.
If a whole vegetable garden seems overwhelming, maybe try growing one thing this
year, like tomatoes.
You can even grow those in containers.
Summer squash and cucumbers are also easy for beginners.
If vegetables aren’t possible, try some easy fruit-bearing shrubs and plants.
Raspberries and blackberries are hardy and easy to grow.
Strawberries are not too difficult, either.
Blueberries grow well if you are in a high mountain climate.
Growing herbs in a garden or containers is another way to go green in the coming year.
Many medicinal and culinary herbs do well in pots, or you can cultivate a small piece of
ground for your herb garden.
#15. Exchange Disposables for Reusables
From napkins to water bottles, look around your home and resolve to replace at least half
of your disposable items with reusable ones.
Some items to consider are:
-Paper napkins (use cloth napkins)
-Paper towels (use rags or cloths)
-Plastic water bottles (get a filter for your sink or a water filtering pitcher, and from that
fill a reusable water bottle of glass or stainless steel)
-Brown paper bags (replace with reusable lunch totes)
-Paper and plastic bags should be replaced with your own reusable tote bags.
#16. Fix It Instead of Tossing
Resolve to at least try to salvage items before throwing them out.
From appliances to kids’ toys to furniture, we are often too quick to throw things away to
make room for the latest and the best.
If something gets scratched or damaged, try to find creative fixes for the problem.
Sometimes, even getting a professional to fix something is more economical than
throwing it out and buying new.
#17. Donate, Do not Throw Away
Whether it’s your old computer, eyeglasses in a prescription you no longer use, or
clothing you no longer wear, donating used items to your local charity is a great way to
start the New Year.
Maybe promise you’ll clean out a closet and donate anything you haven’t worn within
the last 2 years.
Or perhaps you could resolve to clean out your basement and donate unused items.
#18. Reduce Your Use of Paper
-Commit to paying at least some of your bills online this year.
This avoids the hassle of mailing a payment, and it also saves an envelope, printed bill,
stamp, and check – all paper items.
-Send e-cards and e-invitations rather than paper ones.
-Recycle your newspapers and magazines, and read online as much as you can.
-Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues.
-Use a travel mug instead of paper coffee cups.
#20. Plant a Tree
Perhaps the simplest of green acts is to plant a tree–or plant several.
This is a great green New Year’s resolution!
Plant species that are native to the area where you are planting.
#21. Put Away the Power Tools
Why not resolve to do more things by hand this year?
–Rake instead of using a leaf blower;
–Shovel snow by hand (it’s good exercise!);
-Invest in a reel mower instead of a gas-powered one.
-Sweep the floor with a broom to reduce the time and frequency of electric vacuum use.
#19. Get Around Green
If you have been driving yourself everywhere in your car, alone, make some changes
Carpool at least once a week, and take public transit at least that often.
Walk or bike instead of driving whenever possible.
#22. Turn It Off
Consider committing yourself to one night per week where you are not partaking of visual
Turn off the computer, television, and anything with a screen.
Spend time with your family and/or outdoors.
Read books from the library.
You and your family may come to look forward to your night “off.”
Another green resolution along these lines is to spend some time each week
Act as if there is a power outage.
#23. Feed the Birds
In January, the birds will be glad you chose this resolution!
Put out seed in various containers to create a feeding station.
A non-freezing water source is also essential.
In the spring, consider planting shrubs and plants that birds enjoy for shelter and food.
Examples include: American holly, Purple Cornflower, Cottoneaster, Boxwood and Juniper.
There are many more – research the birds in your area and see what sorts of plants and birds
Then plant accordingly.
This is a very green resolution, because you are contributing to the health of the
local ecosystem and habitat.
Song birds are decreasing in numbers in many places.
#24. Support Local Businesses
If you have a habit of going to the “big box store” or “everything-mart” when you need
something, resolve to try to meet that need via local businesses first.
From food to clothes to furniture, it’s likely that there is a local business selling just
what you need.
Supporting local business reduces the use of fossil fuels; items do not have
to be shipped so far.
It also supports your local community.
#25. Green Your Gift Giving
When it comes to giving gifts, resolve to give the folks on your list items that
are used, refurbished or homemade.
Used gifts do not have to be shoddy; think antique stores.
Antiques have a lot of character and are often very affordable.
Table linens, interesting china, collectibles, and various odds and ends are plentiful in
Second-hand stores and thrift stores are also great places to pick up gifts.
And if that isn’t your style, make gifts this year.
All kinds of things can be made from recyclables around the home, or you can give
the gift of dried flowers or herbs from your garden.
Make your own tea blend and give it in pretty containers along with a tea infuser.
Candy and baked goods are also popular homemade gifts.
Other ideas for homemade gifts include:
-Handmade soaps, moisturizers, and “misters” (spray scents).
You can just sew buttons or a felt cut-out design onto a used pillow for
a quick, unique gift.
Use decoupage medium to adhere pieces of colored tissue paper to
inexpensive, bulk glass holders or recycled bottles and jars.
-Hand painted glass or china
Use green, non-toxic paint that is made for ceramics and glass that can
be baked in the oven to make it permanent.
Paint glasses, cups, bowls, and so forth that you pick up at yard sales and
Want More Green Resolutions?
Click the link below to read resolutions #1 – 10 of
Now it’s your turn: what are your most important green resolutions this year?
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