Resolutions For My Planet and My Community

If you've resolved to be greener this year, take heart. Every small change goes a long way. For instance, if every American household replaced one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent, the energy saved would equal that of an entire nuclear power plant running full-time every day for a year. The fact that making a simple, day-to-day change to my stodgy routine could make a difference to my entire planet — and to my community — is exhilarating. And that change just might stick.

1) Make your favorite indulgences more eco-friendly. For example, chocolate or coffee lovers might find local companies similar to Denver's Kaladi Brothers Coffee, which sells only shade-grown, organic, and fair-trade coffee. New "modernized" farming practices degrade soil, forcing coffee trees to subsist on a chemical diet. But old-schoolers like Kaladi Brothers support farmers who are nourishing the environment, and our souls. And Kaladi sells Dagoba Organic Chocolate to boot — a morning doesn't get better than that. Do a search for fair-trade practices in your area, and look for ways to support your addictions in a sustainable manner.

2) Become a localvore. It can be hard to get to the local farmers’ market every week. But the numbers might change your mind; food sold to supermarkets travels on those hulking 18-wheelers for an average of 1500 miles, heading down the interstate like army ants, belching air pollution and greenhouse gases every inch of the way. Becoming a regular at your local farmers’ market can be fun, and can teach you to be more creative in the kitchen and to support your local community. The more ambitious may want to try the 100 mile diet.

3) It sounds cliché, but why not resolve to save a few trees? Cut paper towel waste and cancel unwanted catalogs. Do you really need that Pottery Barn Teen catalogue the previous tenant of your home ordered? The trees, and thus the planet, will benefit. As for your community, well, at least your mailman will appreciate it.

4) Spread the word. Connect with communtiy members to share green wisdom. A great model for this was the recent neighborhood campaign to host or attend an An Inconvenient Truth house party within your zip code, an event that took place in living rooms around the country on December 16. These types of gatherings create opportunities to mobilize, share ideas, and refuel one another's convictions to keep on going for the rest of the year. It's also the spread the word virtually.

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