Personal Earth Day Resolutions

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So, I’ve been pondering something for about a year now: If New Years is a time to make resolutions about how we want to live our lives better personally, why not make Earth Day a day to make personal resolutions on living our lives in a more environmentally responsible manner?  Think about this with me for a moment, if you would be so kind.

I know most people end up breaking their New Years resolutions, so perhaps this isn’t an ideal model to emulate, but I am certain there is something that each and everyone of us can do to make our lives more environmentally friendly, so why not use this as an excuse?  I will leave it up to you to determine how many or how big a goal you would want to take on, but let me throw out a few ideas below to get the conversation started.  And please add your two cents in the comment section if you have ideas, related thoughts, or just want to say that I am way off my rocker with this notion.

I know of a consultant who is fond of saying, “we are very progressive when it comes to asking others to change their lives, but we are very conservative in changing our own lives.”  I think this is pretty true – at least for me.  I am not sure what kind of resolution I will make for myself, but I am hoping to truly integrate it into my life, so I’ll be considering a gamut of small to large ideas.

So, some ideas that a person might consider:

  • Food
    • committing to buying (more) local and organic products
    • eating more seasonally
    • gardening with the purpose to can, dry, freeze, or otherwise preserve more food for the winter and early spring
    • buying food through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program (see Land Stewardship Project’s CSA page for details)
  • Electricity
    • buying “blocks” (or 100%) of wind power from your utility
    • joining the Minnesota Energy Challenge
    • buying new, efficient appliances
    • washing your clothes with cold water and using a clothes line to dry
  • Water
    • changing your shower habits to either be shorter or to shut off the water when you soap up.
    • putting in low flow faucets and shower heads
    • using phosphorus-free dishwasher detergent
    • planting a rain garden and utilizing a rain barrel
  • Transportation
    • checking your car’s tire pressures once a week and keep them full
    • driving the speed limit
    • commuting by bus or bike once a week (biweekly, monthly, etc)
    • joining a car sharing program like HOURCAR instead of purchasing a car
  • Misc.
    • reducing, reusing, and recycling
    • recognizing that Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are in priority order
    • properly disposing of your toxic household cleaners and replacing them with healthier choices
    • quit buying imported beer and wine

You’d think for someone such as me who works in this field, I’d be more creative.  All the more reason for me to make a resolution though – and all the more evidence that your thoughts and suggestions would make this better.

So, what do you think?  Good idea?  Bad idea?  Suggestions?  If the response is positive, we’ll have a posting closer to Earth Day (April 22) for folks to post their resolutions. 


One Response to “Personal Earth Day Resolutions”

  1. Milena

    Great idea Jon. I would also encourage interested folks to change their local landscape. Whether changing it from the form of an urban lot, a yard at a business or non-profit, or a rural piece of property, get rid of our lawns! Instead, you can plant native, perennial edibles, add a “carbon capture bed,” (from or a rain garden. All of these suggestions in some way, reduce emissions from transporting food, sequester carbon in roots, or protect our water. You can also get active in your local Permaculture Collaborative (, or other local environmental groups, and focus on sustainable design. Most importantly, have fun with it.