Green Resolutions for 2010

I consider myself to be pretty environmentally responsible. I work hard to reduce my consumption, to re-use items I already have and to recycle the things that I can’t re-use or re-purpose. I garden and shop at farmer’s markets, and I buy local and handmade whenever I can. Of course, I am far from perfect. I don’t think anyone is, try as we might, but all the same I really do try to consider the impact of my actions.

How well am I doing? I don’t think there’s an easy answer to that question, but I decided I would look to the internet to see if I could find any clues. I came across an Ecological Footprint Quiz, which calculates the impact that your choices have on the earth. Overall, my results were pretty good. I have a much lower carbon footprint than the average Canadian, and my goods and services footprint is less than 25% of the national average. My housing footprint is lower than the average as well, and my food footprint is only a little higher. But even still, if everyone lived as I do we would need 3.43 Earths to sustain us all.

Where am I falling down in my efforts to live sustainably? Our single family home in the suburbs is not the most environmentally-friendly option, but I’m not planning on moving. Plus, in some ways living where I do actually helps since I have a garden, and I have excellent access to composting and recycling unlike my apartment-dwelling days. But the other big area is my choice to eat animal products. I eat meat and seafood and lots and lots of dairy. There are few foods that are not improved by a generous topping of cheese, in my opinion.

After I finished my quiz I read the suggestions for reducing my carbon footprint. And in the spirit of making a fresh start for 2010 I resolved to make a few changes.

1. Reduce my consumption of animal products. I will not cut these out completely, but I could certainly get by on a little less. Baby steps, right? I will start by doing one meatless day a week – I’m thinking that ‘Meatless Monday’ has a nice ring to it. I will also strive to find ways to cut back on dairy while I’m at it.

2. Wear a sweater. We keep our house really warm. Last year I considered lowering the thermostat, but with a small baby I was hesitant to go that route. This year, though, I have a robust and active toddler who never stops moving. Reducing the temperature by a couple of degrees would not hurt us, and it will save money, too.

3. Expand my garden. I would like to put in a new raised bed so that I can grow more of my own food. I also think that with a little more effort in the planning I could get a better yield of produce that we actually want. I like cucumbers, but we really will not eat more than 70 of them over their short growing period, you know?

These are not huge, earth-shattering changes by any means. But smaller changes are more likely to stick, I think. And then maybe next year I can grow on these changes even more. What about you? Do you have any plans to implement a more sustainable lifestyle in 2010? If so, please share!

:: :: ::

These resolutions were cross-posted from Amber’s blog at, where you can keep up with her regular adventures.

4 Responses to Green Resolutions for 2010
  1. Melissa
    January 30, 2010 | 8:29 pm

    Loved seeing your reference to the Ecological Footprint Quiz! It’s a really neat activity. We send our virtual high school students to this link so they can discover more about their own footprint and what simple changes in daily lifestyle might make a difference.

    I think parents should take the quiz with their kids, encouraging them to start considering how they can take action to become greener and more eco-conscious.

  2. Diana
    February 4, 2010 | 6:52 pm

    OK the next inventor needs to make a container crusher. Every week we are drowning in recycling. It won’t make us stop but I just wish I could compact it all.
    My pet bugaboo is all the plastic that the grocery store tries to make us take home. Why have fridges full of plastic wrapped meat, when a butcher could just hand you the piece you choose wrapped in (hemp or bamboo) paper.
    As to all the plastic in produce and bulk aisles, don’t take it home. Bring and old sock if you have to throw your beans or rice into. But if that is not your thing, we found super reusable produce/bulk bags on a Safemama blog spot. She reviewed them and we have bought lots of them now theyre great for everything. Here is their web site

    No packaging! That’s the goal.

  3. Jen
    February 5, 2010 | 3:35 pm

    I plan on putting in a vegetable garden this year and purchasing meat from a local organic farmer. We also plan on doing our basement this year so we will try to incorporate as many eco products as our budget will allow.

  4. Amanda
    February 12, 2010 | 10:02 pm

    We took the No Impact Experiment designed to be done over 7 days & to reinforce the changes with my teenage boys we did the experiment over 7 weeks. They actlually have a high school curriculum also that i did with my grade 5 daughter…we have adopted 90% of the experiment to heart, plan a garden for this summer, thermostat currently at 68, walk if within 2miles, reuse all veggie scraps to make stock, glean from local farmers, freecycle & craigslist..and have started a charity that helps women fleeing abuse & other women in poverty situations obtain furniture & household items for their homes free of charge by accepting the publics donations & saving these items from the landfill, make dog beds & products from donated bedding/jeans etc…I am sure there is more but dont want to ramble on anymore than i already have….