Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolution Time

In honor of the new year, the blogosphere erupts with new year's resolutions. The shift from one year to the next, for many, presents the ideal time to make new personal commitments, new pledges for self-betterment. I have been pondering writing a set of new year's resolutions for myself or for Georgetown students in general; however, I feel that framing advice as a "new year's resolution" is inherently flawed. I create new self-goals all throughout the year, and I do not feel that one specific day is needed to spur them. For example, late last summer, I made a promise to myself that I would go to the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market every Sunday (as long as the weather allows), and I have kept true to this (and HIGHLY recommend that you do it, too!).

When one creates a new year's resolution, there often seems to be an undercurrent of self-doubt built into it. How many people make a resolution of better diet or more exercise and break it after the first month? We make a resolution, knowing that we might forget about it later on. However, ongoing processes of self-improvement have more meaning and, at least in my opinion, can accomplish more.

Nevertheless, I will make some recommendations of some great opportunities for progress in living an environmentally conscious lifestyle.

1) See more documentaries. This will not necessarily change your habits, but being informed is very important. Seeing movies like The Cove, The End of the Line, and Food, Inc. (which we will be screening in a few weeks) is a great way to keep the mind stimulated and active.

2) Reduce consumption of animal-based foods. I have gone on a gradual process of this over the past few years, and I think it works best as a process, not "cold turkey." Switch out a meal every so often to falafel or lentil curry or some other flavor-rich, plant-rich culinary concoction. Having already given up red meat and poultry (I still eat fish but only once in a while) and eggs, I still consume my fair share of dairy because of my love of European-style and Greek yogurt. However, as I noted, progress is a process.

3) Buy things with less packaging. This is one of my goals whenever I go shopping. For example, when I found out that England began to phase out cereal boxes (in favor of bags only), I switched from boxed to bagged and then, later, to bulk. Less packaging also means less to carry and less space taken up in the bag.

4) Find creative ways to reuse things. I have seen artwork made out of plastic bags. Make sure to pay attention to "reduce" and "reuse" in the three R's slogan for recycling.

5) Try to get the interns at your congressman or senator's office to know your name. Hopefully, Congress will make progress on climate legislation, so make your voice heard!

6) Spend less time on a laptop and more time lapping up fresh air. My rarely ever being off gmail probably sucks up a lot of energy.

Happy new year!

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