Green Changes and Eco-Resolutions

BlogHer Original Post

What’s been your biggest, coolest, eco-friendliest change this year?” That’s what Diane from Big Green Purse wanted to know back in December. And she got a ton of responses. From turning the thermostat down to vermicomposting or car-sharing, the answers were varied and inspiring.

My biggest green change in 2010 happened quite by accident, and I blame BlogHer. After reading the BlogHer book club selection Eating Animals in April, I found I could no longer eat meat, and that included chickens or fish or even snails. (Not that I ever ate snails to begin with.) The change wasn’t something I planned when I made my 2010 resolutions, so I felt like I wanted to leave room for similar spontaneity in 2011. That said, I do have a few intentions for the new year:

1) Eat more veggies. Just because I don’t eat meat doesn’t mean I get enough fresh fruits and vegetables. You could more accurately call me a “grainarian” (pasta grows in the ground, right?) than a vegetarian. So for this year, I’m going to get more green and orange stuff into my diet.

2) Get more exercise. I know, I know. We all add that one. But I’ve signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon — and paid my non-refundable fee! So I’ve gotta train. Anyone care to join me?

The first two resolutions are green because if we don’t take care of our bodies, how can we take care of the planet? And...

3) Complete my book on my plastic-free journey. I’ve got a publisher. Now I just have to finish the writing. It’s a big task and kind of scary. But so are most of the things worth doing, right?

BlogHers' Green Resolutions for 2011

I polled my other green blogging friends to find out what their eco-resolutions were for 2011, and I got a variety of answers. Some want to simplify and relax. Others want to jump into new challenges. Have a look at the responses and see if any of these goals match ones you’re pursuing this year.

Take Care of You: Anna Hackman from Green Talk is exploring who she is and trying to figure out her priorities. In her 2011 resolutions post, she asks, “Are the elastic pants no longer working for you?” and like me, wonders how we can take care of the planet if we aren’t even taking care of ourselves. Her two main resolutions this year? Get more exercise and have more fun.

Buy Green: Mary Hunt from In Women We Trust is looking to buy green in the coming year. In her post, “I Resolve — to Keep Earth in Business,” she promises to “buy green or buy nothing and nix the plastic packaging wherever I can.” She links to the Good Guide as a resource for finding truly green products. Green goals aside, Mary also shared with me that she thinks she should have also resolved to write one post a week this year instead of once a month.

Blog More: Abbie from the Farmers Daughter blog also wants to get back into the swing of blogging by reconnecting with the green blogging community. She resolves to participate in green blog carnivals, challenges, write for the Green Phone Booth, and remember her own blogiversary this year!

Take More Pictures: Inspired by her daughter’s resolution, Abbie’s mom, who writes the blog Musings of an Everyday Woman, has decided that taking more pictures will give her the impetus to blog every day. She’s joined the Project 365 Photo A Day Challenge this year.

Be Mindful: Micaela Preston from Mindful Momma is focusing on simply being mindful in 2011. She’s also decided that instead of taking on a lot of new projects like she did last year, she’s focusing on mindful eating, bringing less stuff in, throwing less stuff out, and caring for the stuff she already has.

Tiffany from Nature Moms takes the idea of caring for what you have even further. One of her goals for the coming year is to give her home a Feng Sui makeover. She explains, “One of the most important aspects of minimalism and learning to live with less is learning to love what you have. This is one of the reasons why I love Feng Shui. It is all about accentuating what you have and creating a sense of beauty and peace within the home.” Tiffany’s post explains the principles of feng shui and offers practical advice.

Keep Going: While some of us are taking baby steps, Deanna Duke from Crunchy Chicken, who has a book coming out on toxic-free living, wonders what else she can possibly do. She rarely drives, eats meat maybe twice a month, and what veggies she doesn’t grow herself come from a “sailboat-driven CSA.” One area she’d like to focus on is reducing her plastic consumption, a step I heartily endorse.

Ditch the Plastic: Speaking of plastic, To-Go Ware’s Stephanie Bernstein is taking my Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge and invited Yoga Journal readers to join the fun. And Danielle Richardet from It Starts With Me has decided to not only collect her plastic trash for one week but to do it every week for 2011. Read her post on My Plastic-free Life to learn why she feels collecting her plastic waste is an important way for each of us to understand our plastic footprint and how we can lighten it.

Make One Change Per Month: Unlike Danielle, Jenn from The Green Parent has decided that focusing on one big challenge for a whole year could get boring, so instead she’s going to choose a different challenge each month. Eating vegetarian, collecting and reducing her plastic waste, going car-free are just a few of her ideas.

Similarly, Lisa from Condo Blues plans to continue participating in Hip Mountain Mama’s One Small Change Challenge, focusing on taking a small step each month to reduce her carbon footprint and posting it to the One Small Change blog. Last year, a few of Lisa’s changes were switching to a reusable furnace filter and making her own granola. Her latest change for January is switching to Luna Pads cloth pantiliners (a product I can personally vouch for!)

Make Goals, not Resolutions: Following up on her 2010 green changes post, Diane from Big Green Purse suggests that for the new year, we set goals that we can actually make progress towards rather than resolutions we may be likely to break. Like Mary Hunt, she’d like everyone to commit to shifting some of their spending to greener products and invites readers to join her One In A Million Campaign.

Suggestions for 2011 Eco-Resolutions

It seems that every green web site has a list of eco-changes they’d like you to make this year. Here are a few of my favorites:

If you’re already overcommitted, or are simply happy with all the eco-positive community measures you’re involved in, resist the urge to pile one more scoop onto an already heaping plate. It’s a paradox, but resolving not to make a resolution — that is, to keep things manageably simple, balanced, and focused — can make you more effective and committed to achieving the planet-furthering goals you’ve already set for yourself.

So, what green changes did you make last year and what are your plans for 2011?

Beth Terry
Blog: My Plastic-free Life
Facebook: MyPlasticfreeLife
Twitter: @fakeplasticfish

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