Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 Green Resolutions for 2012

The Kelly Green Giant looks for greener pastures...

As the year draws to a close, I am thinking about the ways my family could possibly grow even greener in the year to come. We are pondering a few big changes to make, such as going to a cash-only budget and making a year-long pact to not purchase anything new (except food, medicine, and toiletries).

If you are feeling adventurous, for 2012, consider making 12 eco-resolutions. Each month, try on a different way of lowering your environmental impact. If it works, great! Keep it up and make it part of your family’s daily life beyond that month. If that particular resolution is a flop, never fear. There is always a new resolution to try on next month!

Here are a few eco-resolutions for your consideration. Some have already been a part of my family’s habits for years. Others we would like to try out this year.

1. Buy only used

My husband and I are thinking about making a pact to only buy used this year. We will make exceptions for food, medicine, and toiletries (and possibly for an occasional textbook that I can’t find used). But if we need clothing, household items, toys, and the like, we will look for them at yard sales, thrift stores, and consignment sales, or we will make do, or we will do without.

2. Plan a weekly menu around farmer’s market finds

Instead of thinking about looking for food at the farmer’s market that fits your menu plan, consider going to the farmer’s market, stocking up on local, seasonal produce, and then making a menu plan for the week to put that produce to its best use.

3. Stick to a strict cash budget

Spending less money is often better for the environment, since it means you are spending less money on things you don’t need. It is much easier to overspend on unnecessary purchases while using credit cards. We’re thinking of finally taking the plunge into a cash-only budget this year, after making excuses for a long time. Along the same vein, we are also considering implementing a day or two as spend-nothing or drive-nowhere days (unless, of course, there is an emergency need to do so).

4. Barter more

Instead of spending your hard-earned cash for things like yardwork or home repairs or house cleaning, if you have any marketable skills yourself, consider a trade. You fix your neighbor’s computer, and they install new weather stripping around your front door! I don’t have a lot of free time at the moment, and I don’t know my neighbors all that well, but I would love to make this happen more someday!

What are your eco-resolutions for the coming year?


Green Bean said...

I love the idea of trying a new resolution each month. I'll have to remember that - once I get past the Christmas crazinesss.

Barter more. Hmm, that is a skill I'd really like to do. In fact, I'd love to barter produce and eggs from my garden maybe for honey and other produce from other people's gardens but I've not yet found people in similar gardening situations. I suppose I could barter for something else. Do you think my contractor would be willing to be paid in eggs? ;-)

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

Great suggestions! I also love the idea of one new eco-resolution/challenge per month, which you are then free to abandon or continue. I hate handling cash, so that one is out for me, although I bet I could benefit from the cash budget. I am happy to say that I already buy all my produce at (and thus essentially plan my meals around) the farmer's market. I already barter a few things -- piano lessons for my son's friend in exchange for sewing lessons from her for me! I wish I did it more, but with a new baby I have more money than time at the moment.

Vanessa said...

I think this is a great idea. I have a lot of similar resolutions. A big push for me is to utilize free systems before buying (even used). That means going to places like freecycle first, attending swap meets, and getting more active in the time bank I just joined. I hope this year teaches me more about frugality and community as a result!


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