Earth Day Resolutions

Earth Day is approaching–time to renew my vows to the planet. I’m going to keep it simple this Earth Day, and make just two eco-resolutions:

  1. Waste less food—or NO food
  2. Stop buying items encased in plastic packaging

If these pledges sound vaguely familiar, it may be because they functioned as my New Year’s Resolutions as well.

How will you save the world this Earth Day?

New Earth Day Resolutions for 2009

Last year I made three resolutions on Earth Day, and I managed to accomplish two of my goals.  Once again, I’ll keep things simple by choosing just a few resolutions.  Baby steps, as they say.

I resolve to purchase carbon offset coupons when I travel by air.  I resolved to do this last year and didn’t.  Ever since I read that book about reducing my carbon footprint, I’ve felt guilty about traveling–something I used to think was essential for learning about the world, experiencing new cultures, and connecting with relatives across the country.  I thought buying the coupons would allow me to travel without the guilt.  Still, I didn’t do it last year.  Perhaps it just doesn’t seem right to “buy” my way out of this one?  We had a bit of a discussion about this on my last post.  I’m still conflicted.
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Last Year’s Earth Day Resolutions: How Did I Do?

Last year I made some Earth Day Resolutions, and now it’s time to see how I did.  Did my resolutions motivate me to go greener . . . or did I fail to meet even the simplest goals?  Let’s review.

I resolved to switch to eco-friendly cleaners.  Yes!  I did it.  I switched from conventional laundry detergent to Biokleen-and discovered that Biokleen was not only better for the environment, but better for my pocketbook than the cheapest conventional product on the store shelves.  Read about that here.  I also started using so-called “eco-friendly” dish soaps.  (And I wrote about why dish soap is bad for the environment, reviewed several eco-brands, suggested alternatives to liquid dish soap, and found a way to conserve dish soap while washing dishes.)
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Joy’s Earth Day Resolutions

One side effect of going green is an enlarged sense of moral superiority.  I have to admit that I fall prey to this every time I pull out my fabric grocery bags at the supermarket.  The other shoppers stare with envy at my grungy canvas sacks, wishing that they had the wherewithal to save the planet while buying cottage cheese, breakfast cereal, and a few dozen eggs.  O.K.—the truth is, they don’t even notice, but I’m so busy basking in the glory of a fulfilled Earth Day resolution that I like to imagine the admiration of my shopping peers.

In reality the only person who is impressed by my canvas bags is me and that’s how resolutions really should work.  If we can find solutions to our green dilemmas the shift will end up ultimately making us happier than anyone else.  In the year to come, I’m going to pick just a few goals and then go from there.  I want to actually set reasonable expectations for myself so that I can accomplish them in the midst of parenting, working, writing and enjoying this very full life.

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