Seven Easy Resolutions to Save the World in 2017

by - Sunday, January 01, 2017

Easy Resolutions to Save the World

So we have crossed out of the truly horrifying 2016 into 2017! Woot New Years and new starts! For 2017, I have resolved to stop bossing people around.

I kid. You know I have all sorts of suggestions for you. Let's talk resolutions, people.

The common wisdom is that everyone makes resolutions and no one keeps them. They go on a no sugar diet, and it isn't long before they realize just how freaking hard it is and fall off the wagon. I know I have done it. You take a big leap or make a big proclamation, but it is too much and you can't make the change sustainable.

I hear the same thing about making green choices all the time. You are going to go zero-waste or take another big leap, but you just can't stick with it. The environment faces huge and complex problems, so our steps are also multi-faceted and complex. You aren't going to make a big impact in a day.

The more you read about the problems facing our Earth, the more overwhelming (and scary!) it feels. That feeling that the problem is so much bigger than us can make us feel totally helpless and cause us to do nothing. Just like how you might realize a week from now that sugar is in everything, you might realize the problem you are out to solve is too big for even your hugest leap, so why try?

But caring about the environment makes me more aware every day that all of our little decisions matter, and they really do add up. You try because it does matter, because in the end we have to solve this problem as a team, and you try because even if you didn't do great with your last decision, the next one matters too.

So make the goal for 2017 to just keep trying, because the worst thing to be is apathetic, or to cut yourself off, or to decide if you can't do everything right it isn't worth the battle. It always is.

So, rather than propose you move into your powerless cabin in the woods and knitting your clothes out of your own hair and spending your weekends hugging trees, I have simple suggestions that will easily fit into your everyday life already. This isn't cutting out sugar (because COME ON, sugar is awesome), it is having one less cookie a week. These are changes you can sustain and they will MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Our planet is facing some huge problems, but we can make things better together.

These are my ideas. I don't expect anyone is doing all of them. I am not doing all of them. But maybe one will speak to your heart or spark an idea that makes sense for you. Just do something.

from Amazon

7. Say No to Straws

When there is so much waste in the world, why worry about something as small as a drinking straw?

Because it adds up. And it adds up to a lot.

Americans use over 500,000,000 plastic straws a day. They use them once, and they are thrown away. Many of those will end up in the ocean. And then this happens. These plastic straws, because they are so small, are incredibly hard to pick up, and in an average American's lifetime, he or she can amass a huge volume of waste in these straws. By 2050, the oceans will have a higher volume of plastic than fish, so it is time for all of us to cut plastics from our lives to save the ocean for our children.

Plastic straws, in most cases, are not needed, and studies have shown that if a server doesn't offer a straw, the diner doesn't miss it. Most of us can handle just using the glass (and that is usually what we do at home).

It is time to give up the straws.

How do you do it? Simple. "Can I have an orange juice/ mai tai/ iced tea/ water. And no straws please." It's as easy as that "No straws, please."

It doesn't always work (some servers just aren't listening), and I have gotten my share of raised eyebrows because the server has never heard that request before. But it costs no money (in fact it saves the restaurant time), no work, and you can cut hundreds of straws out of that water. You can save a freaking sea turtle for goodness sake.

Ready to ask for noplastic straws? Awesome. You can actually sign a pledge with the Plastic Pollution Coalition to make a real commitment to this goal.

Sometimes you really just are a straw person. This resolution can still work for you! Check out my Don't Buy, Instead Try post about plastic straw alternatives that you can tuck into your bag if you are the kind of person who uses straws often and for good reason.

The plastic straw is a completely avoidable evil. You can do this.

If you Want to Go Bigger- Take the time to encourage your favorite restaurants to go plastic straw free. They can offer paper straws instead or only provide straws when asked. The Plastic Pollution Coalition has good suggestions to reach out, including a little information card you can leave with your check.  The Last Plastic Straw is geared toward businesses as well, so they can find signage and other good ideas for explaining the change to their customers. You can leave them a review on yelp as well. The more we make this simple choice, and actually tell businesses why, the more owners and managers will consider whether they should serve their last plastic straw (they should).

Want more? Check out Number 6 here!

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