New Year’s Resolutions for the Planet

Becca Zak, Summit Metro Parks Naturalist

There’s no time like the present to start something new, and there’s no better time than the start of the New Year to initiate change. Make a promise to the planet for 2016, and challenge yourself to live more sustainably.

How do you get started? Begin with just one thing. Several individual “things” will add up to make one huge difference.

Here are three easy ways to get started:

Ditch Disposables & Replace with Reusables

Are you trying to save more and spend less? Almost every single-use product can be replaced with a reusable alternative. Consider the plastic water bottle. Bottled water is 10,000 times more expensive than tap water. In fact, if you were to replace 150 bottles of water with tap water, you’d save about $225.

Eat Local Food: Close-to-Home Solutions

Is one of your resolutions this year to eat healthier? You can do that and lessen your environmental impact by eating local, fresh and unprocessed food like fruits, vegetables, beans and grains. Here are ways to begin:

1. Grow food at home

2. Shop at farmers markets

3. Dine at locally-sourced restaurants

Start with just one thing: join the “Meatless Monday” movement. According to the GRACE Foundation, “going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic, preventable conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.” Here’s an environmental statistic for you: According to the Environmental Working Group, if everyone in the U.S. abstained from eating meat or cheese for just one day a week, the energy and resources saved would be the equivalent of taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

Spend More Time Outdoors

Spend more quality time with family, de-stress, or exercise more in the New Year. The more time you spend in nature, the more likely it is that you’re doing some form of physical activity and activating all five senses with an engaged mind.

Summit Metro Parks Naturalist Dave Brumfield leads a hike in the Metro Parks

If you’re looking for ways to connect with nature, Summit Metro Parks can help:

1. Visit our parks; we have 16 parks with over 14,000 acres for you to explore.

2. Hike, walk, run or bike in the Metro Parks; we have more than 125 miles of trails.

3. Attend our diverse programs, from cardio hikes and yoga to crafting and campfires.

Want to learn more about being sustainable? Attend the Summit Metro Parks “Small Footprint” program series. Visit our website for program details: summitmetroparks.org.

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