10 Environmental New Year’s Resolutions

Photo by Optical illusion (via Flickr)

First of all, what is a New Year’s resolution?  A New Year’s resolution is commonly defined as “a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year” .  Therefore, when it comes to making New Year’s Resolutions, you probably aren’t surprised to learn that some of the top resolutions include losing weight, traveling, buying a house or a car, finding love and making more money. But how did New Year’s resolutions start anyway? And what about resolutions that are also good for the environment?

Well, the history of making New Year’s resolutions it is traditionally believed to go back all the way to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.  A two-faced god, Janus was able to look back on events of the past and also look forward to events of the future. Because of this, Janus was regarded as the ancient symbol for resolutions.  The Romans also named the first month, January, after Janus since he was considered “the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances”.

So with the start of a new year came the start of new decisions, the resolving of old disputes and the determination to somehow improve one’s life over the coming year.  These days many people’s resolutions are based on their actions over the past year….what things do they feel bad about? What things do they want to change?  What things do they want to start doing that they didn’t do before? It is a chance for each person to reflect on themselves and their actions and make decisions to improve their life.

If you are looking to make some New Year’s Resolutions that can be good for both you and the environment, here are some of my favorites:

1. Grow your own organic herbs/vegetables.  This can also be tied into eating healthier.  If you grow your own herbs and vegetables you don’t have to worry about chemicals put on them, you know what you are getting and you couldn’t ask for fresher produce.

2. Cut down your vehicle’s harmful emissions. Get an electric vehicle or hybrid vehicle. If you can’t afford to get a new vehicle, do something to cut down your vehicle’s harmful emissions like using a proven fuel additive t0 lower your emissions.  Also, if you have never used public transportation, make a resolution to leave your vehicle at home a few times a week and give it a try.

3. Be more aware of your water usage.  Just resolving to be more aware, will probably help you cut down on your water usage.  I know when I pay attention to my water usage, I use less.

4. Involve your whole family in energy conservation.  My 4-yr old loves to make sure lights are off and wants to be sure she isn’t wasting power. She’s even got her little brother turning off lights when he leaves a room.

5. Spend more time outdoors. Go for a walk, take your kids to the park, go camping, go to the beach, go for a nature hike, explore someplace you’ve never been, etc.  Getting outside and enjoying nature is good for you and the more you become aware of nature, the more you will respect it and help ensure others can enjoy it too.

6. Donate items you don’t need/use.  How many items, whether food, clothes, kitchen supplies, etc do you have lying around your house that you don’t actually use?  Why do you still have them?  Try something, go through and donate all the things you don’t actually use.  Holiday items aside, if you haven’t used something in the last six months are you really going to miss it?  If you won’t, then donate it.

7. Volunteer.  Helping a good cause or helping others in need is a smart resolution. Giving to others should be the spirit year-round, not just during the holidays. So much can be accomplished with just a little donated time from each of us.

8. Use natural cleaning products. Instead of using chemicals to clean your home use natural cleaners. Natural cleaners are better for you, your home and the environment.  They are a smart resolution all around.

9. Decide to make at least one energy-efficient change to your home this year.  Whether you just want to do it to save money or you want to do something better for you and the environment or a combination of both, check out the different options available to make your home more energy-efficient.  Then follow through and make your home a little more energy-efficient in 2010.

10. Buy less/use less.  One of the most important ones, from my viewpoint.  Starting with this resolution alone, you could jump-start the rest of your New Year’s resolutions.  It helps when it comes to losing weight, when it comes to saving money, helps be more environmentally-aware, etc.

Have you laid out your New Year’s resolutions? Are any of these on your list?  You know….January 1st, 2010 is only a few days away! I would love to hear what resolutions you have decided upon to help you and the environment around you –  Happy New Year!


  • Stephanie

    Wonderful suggestions and good timing to start thinking about the New Year, only days away! Just think if everyone in the U.S. reduced their energy usage, even if only by 3%. It would make a tremendous difference. Looking forward to a bright “Green” New Year!

  • Tara

    Thanks Steph! Very true…it’s the simple things that add up to make a big difference. Have a great “green” new Year!

  • GG

    Thank you! Chris, for forwarding this and reminding us of multiple ways we have opportunities to make changes. I hope your Resolutions are part of each of our choices this coming year, and that we all remain healthy. Cheers!

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